Electric Vehicles

Nissan turning electricity into currency in Japan

Attendees parking at the event can use the electricity in their EV to pay for parking.

Photo courtesy of Nissan Motors

Paying for parking by plugging in may be the new "tap here to pay". Electric vehicle drivers can now discharge battery power as payment for parking rather than directly trasferring funds from one account to another.

The Nissan Pavilion in Yokohama, Japan is designed to show the possibilities of an electrically-powered future. Inside the pavilion, the Nissan Chaya Cafe operates on power supplied by Nissan Leaf vehicles. Similar exhibits have been shown on a small scale at events in the U.S. where auto show or concert attendees can get milkshakes or coffee made using power from the Leaf.

Nissan Pavilion The Nissan Pavilion is located near the company's headquarters.Photo courtesy of Nissan Motors

Attendees can also explore a virtual reality realm that lets them experience the thrill of Formula E street racing, or they can go for a ride in the just-revealed Nissan Ariya all-electric crossover. Guests are also invited to play a virtual tennis match with Grand Slam champion and Nissan brand ambassador Naomi Osaka in the Pavilion theater. Additionally, they can learn about Nissan's Invisible-to-Visible (I2V) technology, which combines information from the real and virtual worlds to assist drivers.

The 10,000-square-meter, zero-emission Pavilion is outfitted with solar panels and supplied with renewable hydroelectric power.

"The Pavilion is a place where customers can see, feel, and be inspired by our near-future vision for society and mobility," said Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida. "As the world shifts to electric mobility, EVs will be integrated into society in ways that go beyond just transportation."

Nissan Pavilion The Nissan Ariya is the company's new all-electric crossover.Photo courtesy of Nissan Motors

In addition to power coming from the sun and Leafs, the company offers Nissan Energy Share and Nissan Energy Storage technologies, which allow electricity from EV batteries to be stored, shared and repurposed, for instance by powering homes or businesses – such as the off-grid cafe in the Nissan Pavilion.

Further, in Japan the company has entered into agreements with local governments allowing Leaf vehicles to be used as mobile batteries in the event of a natural disaster. In another partnership, the company is repurposing used EV batteries to power streetlights.

Nissan Pavilion The immersive Formula E racing exhibit puts attendees behind the wheel of a race car.Photo courtesy of Nissan Motors

The Nissan Pavilion, located near the company's global headquarters in Yokohama, will be open to the public from August 1 through October 23. To take a virtual tour, visit https://www.thenissannext.com/en/virtual-tour.html.

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Updated premium crossover

2022 Infiniti QX50 picks up new standard features

The new QX50 gets more tech and safety features.

Infiniti

Infiniti is one of a handful of automakers that have continued developing and building cars instead of focusing only on higher-profit and much more popular SUVs and trucks. That said, Infiniti's catalog is crossover- and SUV-heavy. Its smallest and least expensive crossover, the QX50 gets a handful of new features for 2022, and today Infiniti announced pricing.

Infiniti offers the 2022 QX50 in five trims: $40,025 Pure, $43,375 Luxe, $47,825 Essential, $52,525 Sensory, and $57,975 Autograph. All trims get Infiniti's variable compression (VC-Turbo) engine that makes 268 horsepower and returns up to 26 mpg combined. The advanced engine shifts its compression ratio to match the driver's behavior. When more power is needed, the compression changes, and when efficiency is the priority, it changes again. It's a marvel of engineering, but it's not as fuel-efficient as a hybrid. Power reaches the front or all four wheels through a continuously variable transmission.

2022 Infiniti QX50 Pricing starts at around $40,000.Infiniti

Beyond the new standard features for 2022, buyers of the new QX50 will have to step up to the Luxe trim to get the most desirable features such as auto-folding exterior side mirrors, power lumbar support, and perforated leather upholstery. Standard comfort gear includes eight-way power front seats, dual-zone climate controls, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Infiniti stuck with its dual-screen infotainment configuration with the 2022 QX50. The top eight-inch screen handles wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto duties, as well as navigation. The bottom seven-inch screen handles vehicle controls, radio stations, and other settings. Though the system looks great and adds a high-tech feel to the cabin, two screens can be distracting and confusing while driving. The good news is that the QX50 gets an excellent 16-speaker Bose stereo starting with the Luxe trim.

2022 Infiniti QX50 ProPilot Assist and Wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto are now standardInfiniti

The 2022 QX50 hasn't been crash tested by either major ratings organization yet, but the 2021 model performed well. It earned Good ratings in crash testes and a Superior score for its standard crash prevention systems. The 2022 QX50 comes standard with Infiniti's ProPilot Assist system, which brings advanced adaptive cruise control functions that can center the car in its lane, brake, and accelerate. Other standard tech includes blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, rear automatic braking, predictive forward collision warnings, and forward automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection.


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Electric vehicle concepts

Nissan shows off new concepts and plans for future EVs

Nissan showed off a group of funky concept vehicles at the announcement.

Nissan

Nissan is approaching the release of Ariya, its brand-new EV, but there are plans for much more in the automaker’s near future. Today, the Japanese company announced Nissan Ambition 2030, its plan to develop electrified vehicles and become a more sustainable company. Beyond new vehicles, the roadmap includes investments in battery recycling and charging infrastructure, new battery tech, and more widespread safety technologies.

Nissan Ambition 2030 The automaker plans for 50 percent electrification by 2030.Nissan

Nissan’s plans include 23 new electrified models by 2030. The target covers 15 new EVs and a target of 50 percent electrification. The automaker says it plans to launch a proprietary solid-state battery by 2028, and notes that it will develop a pilot production facility in Yokohama, Japan by 2024. Solid state technologies are not yet commercially viable but will offer faster charging times and better energy densities than lithium ion battery packs.

Nissan Surf-Out Concept Surf-Out is a concept truck with super funky styling.Nissan

While the focus was on the news of its electrification plans, Nissan’s concept vehicles stole the show. The Surf-Out concept truck features a long, low cargo surface and unique all-terrain tires. Typical of concept cars, the Surf-Out’s styling and design are over-the-top. The cabin is surrounded on three sides by glass and open to the bed in the rear. Instead of a grille, there’s a glass panel with an illuminated Nissan logo. It's unlikely Surf-Out or the other concepts shown will make it to production unchanged, but they show that the automaker is looking to explore bold designs with its electrified vehicles.

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