Nissan to ditch diesel as EVs gather pace
Nissan has become the latest manufacturer to confirm it will drop diesel engines from its line-up, as it pushes ahead with plug-in hybrid and fully electric alternatives.
The announcement closely follows other Japanese carmakers pulling the plug on diesel engines in the wake of declining sales. Toyota said in March that it would stop offering diesel passenger cars by the end of the year, citing limited demand from customers, while Suzuki has already discontinued importing the diesel S-Cross and Vitara SUVs in the UK, saying the move would not affect its growing fleet sales.
Nissan’s approach is longer-term. A spokesperson told Fleet World: “We do not anticipate its sudden end in the short-term. At this point in time, and for many customers, modern diesel engines remain in demand and continue to be available within Nissan’s powertrain offering.”
But, he added: “In Europe, where our diesel sales are concentrated, our electrification push will allow us to discontinue diesel gradually from passenger cars at the time of each vehicle renewal.”
Given a typical seven-year lifespan, this would mean Nissan’s diesel engines will be discontinued by the mid-2020s.
Diesel continues to have a torrid time in Europe, and particularly in the UK where even fleet registrations are weighted towards petrol engines so far this year, blamed by the SMMT on ongoing demonisation of the fuel from Government and the press.
Meanwhile, Nissan reported a 15% uplift in global sales of the Leaf in the last fiscal year, to 54,451 units, while a third of Japanese customers for the Note MPV are now opting for the e-Power hybrid system, which uses its petrol engine as a generator rather than to directly drive the wheels.
Europe is expected to be one of the most advanced markets for its ongoing electrification plans, with 50% of its sales in the region expected to be electric or hybrid models by 2025. The company will launch eight fully-electric vehicles in the meantime, including a crossover previewed by the IMx concept car.