Nissan suggests the next-generation Z won’t be electrified at launch

Debora Carley

See Full Image Gallery >> Nissan jetted cold water on the rumors claiming the next-generation Z will pack an electrified punch. One of the company’s top executives strongly hinted the coupe will not make its debut with hybrid or electric power under the sheetmetal, but he didn’t rule out branching […]

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Nissan jetted cold water on the rumors claiming the next-generation Z will pack an electrified punch. One of the company’s top executives strongly hinted the coupe will not make its debut with hybrid or electric power under the sheetmetal, but he didn’t rule out branching into the electrified sports car segment when the time is right.

“What I can tell you is I still see space for two different things. Probably, in the short term, you can still see a bit more conventional technology coming. By conventional, I mean an internal combustion engine,” clarified Ivan Espinosa, Nissan’s vice president of global product strategy, in an interview with Australia’s CarAdvice.

He stopped short of revealing what’s under the heritage-laced sheetmetal, so we’ll need to wait until the model makes its debut to find out, but he warned not to expect a battery-powered Z in the near future. Electric technology “is not at the level where you can deliver the performance expected in a sports car,” he said, and the weight added by the battery pack remains an enemy. Delivering consistent performance is challenging, too, but his team is drawing lessons from Nissan’s Formula E program.

Whether the Z needs to be electrified is a point of debate. Some argue it should adopt some form of electrification to keep up with the times, while others insist it needs to remain true to its roots. Regardless of which side you stand with, CarAdvice believes there’s another issue preventing Nissan from electrifying the Z. The publication speculated the next Z will ride on an evolution of the platform underpinning the current car, and this architecture was not developed with any kind of electrification in mind. Whether that’s accurate is up in the air; Nissan has kept its lips sealed about the coupe since showing its blacked-out silhouette in a preview video.

Looking ahead, Espinosa suggested an electrified performance car is likely.

“You’d probably have two steps in the early stages, or the coming years. We still see space for a bit more innovation with internal combustion engines, and, in the mid-to-long term, you could start hearing that Nissan is maybe exploring a sports car with electrification.” 

Nissan will publish more information about the next-generation Z in the coming weeks, and the model — whose name hasn’t been publicly unveiled yet — will make its global debut online before the end of 2020. Whether the convertible variant, whose sales have trailed the hardtop’s by a significant margin, will return is up in the air.

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