During the 2018 LA Auto Show, Nissan gathered a group of journalists to attend a forum called “Nissan Futures”. The forum covered a wide range of topics, including autonomy, electrification, and smart integration. Nissan invited a number of academics and experts focused on these topics to share their wisdom, and discuss what the future of mobility may look like. Nissan also used the forum to announce the introduction of their electric vehicle ecosystem, called Nissan Energy Share.
The first portion of the forum discussed autonomy, and the role it could play in our lives. By and large, the discussion on autonomy focused on providing mobility to those who can’t drive. Specifically, this referred to small children, potentially with working parents, and elderly people, who can no longer drive. To address this growing need for cars that can drive people, Nissan reminded us of their plan to put Pro Pilot Assist (their driver enhancement and safety suite) into 20 cars by 2022.
Plus, Nissan made clear their plans to introduce a fully electric crossover in the next few years. Though, we were given no further details past a rough time estimate.
Ride Sharing & Subscriptions
The next part of the discussion focused on alternative transportation. Specifically, ride sharing businesses such as Lime Scooter, and Uber. The discussion looked into why it is that these companies are so successful, and also how car companies will have to adapt to a changing buyer. One important takeaway was that ride hailing services like Uber and Lyft are seeing slowed growth. Part of the reason for this being that people have begun to figure out their favorite ways to use ride hailing. The two largest use cases being trips to the airport and going out at night.
The question for Nissan remains: How does the company continue to sell cars? Well, one way could be to design cars that better suit ride sharing companies, and their drivers. However, one way that is growing in popularity is changing the way cars are owned. Switching to a car subscription service may better suit the modern car buyer. People, it seems, are less inclined to stay committed to a purchase for long periods of time. Being able to have access to a number of vehicles at any time might be the best way to attract the modern buyer.
So, what the heck is Nissan Energy Share?
In essence, Nissan wants to create an electric car ‘ecosystem’. Nissan has been a frontrunner in offering an accessible fully-electric vehicle in the Nissan Leaf. Now, they want to continue to improve the way their buyers interact with, and help support the electric grid. Nissan says, “owners of Nissan’s electric vehicles will be able to easily connect their cars with energy systems to charge their batteries, power homes and businesses or feed energy back to power grids.”
Nissan posits more forms of interaction with the grid will allow customers to charge at of-peak times easier, resulting in cheaper, more convenient ownership. Plus, you can reduce the cost to power your house thanks to the ability to use your car to power more than its own motors.
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Tommy and I had a chance to test out some of these mobility solutions in the form of electric scooters. Check out that comparison test below: