Having proven a success in Japan, Nissan is taking its boxy, utilitarian Cube and Denki Cube plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) on the road. Having officially introduced the PHEV concept version Denki Cube’s international roadshow at the 2008 New York Auto Show in March, Nissan is moving the show on to Europe.
Word came out in the UK press earlier this month that the Denki Cube is being tested in Great Britain. Nissan plans to introduce petrol and diesel engine versions – the Cube without the Denki – in 2009 in advance of the PHEV version being available in the UK in 2011. Less than a week later, the Spanish press was reporting that Nissan is working towards a broader European market introduction for 2010.
Nissan is working with NEC to perfect the Denki Cube’s cutting edge lithium-ion batteries, which are currently at work powering Nissan forklift trucks.
The PHEV Denki will stay true and be almost identical in design to the gasoline and diesel powered Cube’s minimalist modeling and features, which aim to create “a relaxing, moving social hub, like a favorite room in an owner’s house,” according to Nissan.
The biggest transformation in shifting from producing the original to the Denki Cube is replacement the standard 1.3-liter inline 4-cylinder gasoline engine with an electric motor and laminated lithium-ion batteries located under the floor and seats. “The laminated structure and unique material technology offer more power, energy and battery stability, as well as compact size and packaging flexibility, versus conventional cylindrical batteries,” according to the company.
The move to the PHEV model is part of the Nissan Green Program 2010, its mid-term environmental action plan, which is focused specifically on reducing carbon dioxide emissions from Nissan products as well as from its day-to-day corporate activies.