Ivan Espinosa, Nissan’s global product strategist, wants to strengthen the ailing Nissan brand by “bringing more electrification.” For Espinosa, this means more hybrids and fewer EVs. And why is that? According to his interview published today in Automotive News, it’s because the location and weight of the charging cable make it too unwieldy, especially for women.

Electrek, By Bradley Berman

© Electrek | Did a Nissan exec really just say that EV charging is too difficult for women?

When asked about the lessons that Nissan learned from 10 years of selling the Leaf, Espinosa replied:
“One of them is the hassle of charging. How easy or complicated this is has a big impact on the EV customer experience. It is not just about time. It is simple things such as location of the charger and even the weight of the cable. We have a lot of female Leaf drivers, and in some cases, the technologies that we use today are not so friendly for them. 
“We have also learned many things about the battery technology and electric motor technology. All that is helping us to make our EV drive smoother.”
The answer for the Nissan strategist is to offer “not only EVs” but also hybrids, which the company cleverly calls “e-Power.” In other words, Nissan’s idea is to sell electric vehicles that don’t require the onerous task of plugging them in.

Nissan’s website describes e-Power with these words next to the image of an internal combustion engine:
“e-POWER borrows from the EV technology perfected in the Nissan Leaf, adding a gasoline engine to charge the high-output battery when necessary. This eliminates the need for an external charger while offering the same high output as an EV.”
Recently, Nissan also said it would downplay affordable electric cars like the Leaf in favor of higher-priced luxury EVs.

Now Espinosa tells Automotive News that it wants to sell EVs that aren’t EVs:
“It allows the customer to experience the complete EV-drive feel without being in an EV.”
The Nissan executive wants to widely deploy e-Power not only in Europe but globally. Espinosa said that e-Power will allow commuters to “experience EV-like driving” in markets where charging infrastructure is not ready or “where customers don’t have access to electric vehicles.”

He didn’t explain how drivers can have an “EV-like experience” without the ability to plug the car in but absolutely requiring visits to a gas station. Espinosa tried to explain:
“Effectively it’s a motor-driven car because the combustion engine is only charging the battery. Therefore, the behavior is very close to an electric vehicle. With this, we can get customers to experience of what it’s like to drive an EV. 
“This technology is at the core of what Nissan will deploy in the future. It is not only technology that we are developing for Japan and then exporting. It is a technology that we are developing [for] each market.”

Electrek’s Take

A decade ago, Nissan became a pioneer in pure electric technology. It’s shocking to see how far the Japanese automaker has fallen. To use a double-speak term like “e-Power” to describe a no-plug, gas-electric hybrid ­– suggesting that it’s an EV in some way – is bad enough.

But then to say that the ultra-simple and easy task of plugging in a car is too difficult, thereby undermining battery-electric technology, is backward beyond belief. Has Mr. Espinosa ever plugged in an EV?

To add insult to injury, the Nissan executive implies that women find EV charging cables too heavy or complicated to use. That’s a new low for Nissan. 

This article was originally published by Electrek.
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