Nissan unveils wild EV sportscar concept

29th November 2021
Bob Murray

Nissan has come “out” at last over its electric-car future, unveiling concepts – the Chill-Out, Hang-Out, Surf-Out and Max-Out – that point the way ahead for the electric-car pioneer. One of them, the crossover Chill-Out, is the closest to production and the car that will be built in the UK at Nissan’s new electric-car factory in Sunderland.


Nissan, whose Leaf was among the first mainstream electric cars when it went on sale 11 years ago, says it will launch 15 new electric vehicles by 2030, the year it envisages that three-quarters of all its cars sold in Europe will be electrically powered. Underpinning the new-model rush will be batteries that are quicker to charge and easier to recycle and repurpose.

We first heard of the UK plan to build a new electric crossover – tipped as the Leaf’s successor – in July this year, part of a £1 billion, Government-backed scheme to make this country a manufacturing centre for electric cars and also for their batteries. The other three concepts, however, are new: one is a sportscar, one a leisure pickup and the third an MPV-style family wagon.


These more futuristic concepts boast radical designs, a new “skateboard” electric-car platform and autonomous driving technologies. But their most significant feature is their solid-state batteries which Nissan pledges it will have in production by 2028.

Solid-state batteries are seen by many to be the electric-car breakthrough needed. With them, Nissan says it will be able to offer more models across more market sectors at lower prices. It expects these battery packs to cost $75 per kWh by 2028 but longer term to come in at $65, thus matching the energy cost of current petrol cars. Nissan also says its solid state batteries will take only a third the time to charge up compared to lithium-ion batteries.

It is likely the sooner-arriving, UK-built crossover previewed by the Chill-Out concept will stay with the more familiar lithium batteries, to be made at a Tesla-style “gigafactory” now under construction in the north-east of England, where Nissan has made cars since 1986. Nissan says its latest cobalt-free technology means the cost of these batteries will also be coming down – by 65 per cent by 2028.


Where the Chill-Out crossover is based on the Nissan-Renault Alliance CMF-EV platform which is already used by Nissan’s first electric SUV, the soon-to-arrive, Japan-built Ariya, the funky new concepts share new vehicle architecture designed to work with a variety of model types.

The sportscar of the three is the Max-Out, a two-seater convertible with front and rear motors, low centre of gravity and the emphasis on light weight for maximum agility. Nissan says it would be highly responsive and dynamic to drive, and we say it looks great – alas, no commitment to make it thus far.

The Surf-Out is the leisure pickup concept, with four-wheel drive, off-road ability and an open cargo deck for sports gear like surfboards. The Hang-Out makes the most of the skateboard platform’s completely flat floor to offer a tall and spacious body with easy access to a family-friendly lounge-like space and a variety of seating options. Nissan is truly turning over a new Leaf…

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