Nissan Motor Co. is seeking to breathe new life into its wheezing full-size pickup truck by electrifying it with the assistance of a Detroit-based startup, in response to individuals aware of the matter.
The Japanese automaker is contemplating shopping for a battery-electric powertrain from Hercules Electrical Autos for its Titan pickup and sharing components for the startup’s personal truck in a potential strategic partnership, stated the individuals, who declined to be named.
The talks are ongoing and will nonetheless crumble earlier than a deal is signed, the individuals stated. The 2 deliberate automobiles will be a part of a crowded area of recent electrical vehicles chasing an as-yet untested marketplace for battery-powered haulers.
Along with pickups from rival startups reminiscent of Amazon.com Inc.-backed Rivian Automotive Inc., extra established automakers are also additionally rolling out all-electric vehicles, together with Normal Motors Co.’s GMC Hummer and one other unnamed pickup, in addition to an electrified model of Ford Motor Co.’s F-150. EV market chief Tesla Inc. plans to launch its Cybertruck late subsequent 12 months.
Nissan has been struggling to regular itself for the reason that November 2018 arrest of its former Chairman Carlos Ghosn, and already sluggish gross sales within the U.S. have been hit arduous by the Covid-19 pandemic. The model has by no means fared effectively within the aggressive U.S. full-size truck market, and demand for the Titan plunged 38% final 12 months. The pickup’s gross sales are down one other 24% to 19,403 this 12 months by means of September, in contrast with 589,034 deliveries of the business main Ford F-Sequence, which fell 11% within the interval.
Going electrical could present Nissan with a solution to reposition Titan as a extra environmentally pleasant truck that may go bumper-to-bumper with battery-powered pickups from rivals.
A partnership between Nissan and Hercules would mirror related offers cast by Ford and GM with EV startups. Ford plowed $500 million into Rivian final 12 months for entry to its truck-sized electrical “skateboard” platform. GM has a tentative deal for a $2 billion stake in Nikola Corp., although that partnership could also be on the rocks after Nikola’s founder stepped down amid regulatory probes. In that deal, GM would offset its personal improvement prices by offering electrical propulsion know-how for Nikola’s Badger pickup.
Hercules was based in Detroit in 2018 by James Breyer, an auto engineer with stints at GM, Fiat Chrysler Vehicles NV, and Magna Worldwide Inc. He was quickly joined by co-founders Greg Weber, one other veteran of Fiat Chrysler who additionally labored at battery maker LG Chem Ltd., and Julie Tolley, a former engineer at engine provider Eaton Corp.
The corporate plans to provide its first car, a luxurious electrical truck referred to as the Hercules Alpha, at area of interest volumes beginning in mid-2022.
Not all automakers are satisfied there’s ample demand to leap into the budding electric-truck market. Fiat Chrysler Chief Govt Officer Mike Manley has hinted his firm could construct a battery-powered Ram pickup however stated earlier this 12 months he’s watching the market first to see in the event that they’ll promote.