Plug-in vehicles have high prospect – Nissan boss
Plug-in vehicles, including electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, could by 2040 become world’s most desired vehicles, with Nissan LEAF appropriating 35 per cent of the global new electric car sales, the Managing Director, Nissan sub-Sahara Africa, Mike Whitfield, has anticipated.
Whitfield, who recently made this observation in South Africa, hinged his projection on growing affordability of battery and introduction of wireless charging capability.
He said: “We are already seeing the effects of these fast-moving technologies in cars today and the most prominent being the ‘green mobility’ – where electric vehicle technology evolved.”
Although the electric vehicle market in Africa is still small, “It is poised to change if government plays key role in harnessing Africa’s carbon footprint”, the Nissan director affirmed.
Meanwhile, sales of plug-in vehicles, including electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, has reached 1.5 million mark in 2015, representing about 0.1 per cent of the billion cars on the road worldwide.
The South African Government for instance has shown willingness to rollout large-scale electric vehicles having partnered with automakers and other stakeholders in a variety of electric vehicle expansion.
The collaboration is expected to inspire more automakers to roll-out fast charging stations by 2017 like Nissan and BMW to expand the national charging network for their electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Only South Africa and Mauritius are currently countries in sub-Sahara with sufficient infrastructures to support electric vehicles.
Technology in autonomous drive vehicles – which combines robotics technology, artificial intelligence, sensors and car-to-car connectivity – is also evolving rapidly, Whitfield noted.
He said: “Though there isn’t yet a driverless car, autonomous drive technology are being introduced gradually to enhance driving experience and Nissan has incorporated some of these features in its vehicle line-up.
“They include lane departure warning, blind spot warning, active ride assist, and around-view monitor with parking assist.
“A recent development was the launch of the first Piloted Drive 1.0 car in Japan, featuring steering, accelerator and braking technology that can be operated in full automatic mode.”
Whitfield has however advocated partnership with information and communications technology experts such as the Nissan-Renault Alliance with Microsoft to develop technologically savvy vehicles for the next generation.