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McLaren developing ventilators

McLaren and Nissan join race to build ventilators for the NHS

McLaren developing ventilators

McLaren and Nissan have joined aerospace company Meggitt in the race to develop and manufacture ventilators. The equipment is desperately needed in the fight against coronavirus, which attacks the respiratory system.

Ventilators are in short supply in the UK at the moment, such that prime minister Boris Johnson has called upon industrial leaders to redirect their focus.

Thus McLaren, which was hard at work preparing to deliver 106 seven-figure Speedtail hypercars, is now helping make medical equipment.Nissan manufacturing ventilators

The initiative is working under the leadership of Dick Elsy, chief executive of High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a Solihull-based research centre.

The target is to manufacture 5,000 ventilators as soon as possible, and follow up with a further 30,000. The UK’s current ventilator supply is around 5,000 – far short of what may be needed. The effort is targeting the manufacture of a basic prototype by next week. 

At last count (Wednesday 19 March), the number of people infected with coronavirus in the UK sat was around 2,600, with more than 100 deaths. 

McLaren assisting development of ventilators

According to sources close to The Financial Times, McLaren is lending its design expertise to the effort, while Nissan is leading on the manufacturing side. Other aerospace companies working on the project include GKN, Airbus, Thales and Renishaw. Airbus, for instance, is lending its 3D printing capabilities to the project. 

This follows news yesterday that Vauxhall was getting in on the ventilator effort, lending assistance with 3D printing. Jaguar Land Rover and Rolls-Royce have also said they will provide support.

Crash test highlights vehicle safety ‘double standard‘

NCAP safer cars for Africa

A new crash test has highlighted the ‘double standard’ in vehicle safety between models sold in Europe and Africa.

Global NCAP crashed a 2019 Nissan NP300 pickup from Africa into a 2015 European Navara NP300. The results are shocking, with the difference in safety labelled ‘a matter of life and death’.

Overall, the second-hand European Navara got four stars. In terms of occupant protection, the African car got zero stars, while infant protection earned it a lowly two stars.

SEE ALSO: Safety first: the history of Euro NCAP crash tests

The result isn’t surprising, given that the ‘new’ African market vehicle is the D22 generation of the Nissan truck, that’s been off sale in Europe for over ten years. It’s a design that first appeared in 1997. The European variant is the D23, two generations ahead, launched in 2014.

‘Would have likely died’

“This is a very dramatic car to car crash test which uniquely illustrates the double standard in vehicle safety performance between models sold in Europe and those sold in Africa,” said David Ward, CEO and president of Global NCAP.

“The difference in crashworthiness is extraordinary. The new Nissan Hardbody performs significantly worse than the second-hand Nissan Navara, to the extent that the driver in the new African Nissan would likely have died from their injuries but the driver from the second-hand European Nissan would have walked away. 

“A new car in Africa is not necessarily a safer car. Second-hand imported cars from regions with tougher regulatory requirements for safety, and environmental performance, can offer consumers much greater protection. 

“Our aim in publishing this crash test result to coincide with the Global Ministerial Conference in Sweden is very clear. As we approach the end of the first UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, and set an agenda for the next ten years, the double standard demonstrated by an auto manufacturer such as Nissan with the NP300 in Africa is utterly unacceptable.” 

‘Shocking safety gap’

NCAP safer cars for Africa

Global NCAP’s Safer Cars For Africa campaign is being launched to coincide with the Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Sweden. Both crashed cars will be displayed to the public as part of the ‘People’s Exhibition’ in Stockhom Central Railway Station. Overall the goal is to halve road deaths and serious injuries by 2030.

“Does Nissan believe an African life is worth less than a European life?” asked Saul Billingsley, executive director of the FIA Foundation.

“If not, how does the company explain the shocking safety gap between these two vehicles demonstrated by Global NCAP. If we are to meet the 2030 target of halving road deaths we must stamp out this kind of unethical behaviour by some in the car industry.”

The Nissan Leaf can now sing your baby to sleep

Nissan Leaf lullaby puts your baby to sleep

The advent of the electric car has presented a number of challenges. Chiefly, how far can we travel on a single charge and how do we charge them? Now, Nissan is hoping to answer a more unlikely question: how will my baby get to sleep now there’s no engine noise? 

Which is why the Nissan Leaf will sing your baby a lullaby, which is available to download on Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud, YouTube and Deezer. 

Indeed, Nissan research revealed that over half of all UK parents resort to a ‘dream drive’ to get their little ones off to sleep. This is a car journey with the specific purpose of getting a baby to nod off. Nearly two thirds (62 percent) do this once a week.

Nissan Leaf lullaby puts your baby to sleep

Now Nissan has created its ‘Dream Drive’ lullaby, in collaboration with sound designer and sleep coach, Tom Middleton. It blends sounds made by the Leaf, with the kind of frequencies you’d get from a combustion engine. The result is what Nissan calls a ‘hypnotic soundscape to help send young children to sleep in the car’.

Seventy percent of parents reckon that it’s the movement of their car that gets their kids to sleep. Not unlike rocking a cot. Research reveals that those now-lost engine sounds are a key contributor, too.

The trouble is, with engine sounds, come pollution and expenditure. On average, ‘dream drives’ are a 20 to 25-minute job, covering around five miles. It’s estimated that they generate around 70kg of CO2 per family per year. They’re costing UK parents a collective £33.5million in fuel. Nissan wants the Leaf, and the ‘Dream Drive’ lullaby, to be the antidote to this.

Nissan Leaf lullaby puts your baby to sleep

“Although an electric vehicle like the Nissan Leaf is a more environmentally considerate choice for ‘dream driving’; the quiet soundscape of an EV might not be as effective as ICE cars,” said Paul Speed-Andrews, noise and vibration development manager at Nissan.

“Combustion engines transmit a sound frequency, a combination of white, pink and brown noise varied in tone – creating an orchestral soundscape that is especially soothing and comforting to young children.”

Extensive work was put into identifying what exactly it was about internal combustion-powered cars that’s ‘hypnotic’. It simulated, compared and recorded sounds from both the Leaf driving, and fuel-powered cars, isolated the differences. With its findings, it then set out to record all of the sounds of a typical drive in a Qashqai. Those sounds were then used in order to create the lullaby. 

Nissan Leaf lullaby puts your baby to sleep

“One of the biggest worries new parents have is how to get their baby to sleep,” said parenting expert, Elizabeth O’Shea.

“Parents soon realise that taking a drive in the car or ‘dream driving’ is a great way to get a baby or young child to nod off. But how interesting that it’s the sound frequencies of a combustion engine, rather than the movement, that helps children fall asleep. With the 100 percent electric Nissan Leaf, environmentally aware parents now have a simple, guilt-free solution to gently lull their little ones to sleep.”

Nissan deploys special GT-R camera car to help film new 2020 GT-R Nismo

2020 Nissan GTR NISMO Camera Car

Attempting to film a sports car in its natural habitat is not easy, especially when it happens to be powered by a 600 horsepower engine and capable of 186 mph. 

That was the challenge faced by Nissan with the new 2020 GT-R Nismo. A media preview event required video footage of the car on a race track.

However, the solution was relatively simple. To catch a Nissan GT-R you just need to have a Nissan GT-R camera car on hand. Oh, and an expert driver.  

Built for purpose

2020 Nissan GTR NISMO Camera Car

Mauro Calo is a world-renowned professional driver and filmographer, who has worked on countless major movies and TV shows. He was the first choice for Nissan when it came to who to use for filming the 2020 GT-R Nismo. 

Typically, such video work has made use of performance SUVs, but Calo believed that these would not have the appropriate agility for the role. 

Calo was asked what the perfect camera vehicle would be for the job, with his answer being the existing GT-R sports car. Nissan then set to work building a bespoke GT-R for the role, taking into account the demands of video work. 

Practical performance

2020 Nissan GTR NISMO Camera Car

Finished in satin black to reduce reflections, the GT-R was fitted with a special tubular structure to support the lightweight gimbal-mounted camera system. 

Being a four-seater is also a benefit. This allows the GT-R to accommodate a driver, gimbal operator, focus puller, and a director all in the same vehicle. A twin-turbocharged V6 engine with 565 horsepower will also have been a bonus.

According to Calo, the “GT-R was the only car” that could meet his criteria for the shoot. He added that the car “has supercar performance, with outstanding all-wheel drive handling and stability. It’s famously reliable, and it can seat the team I need to operate the camera system. There were no other contenders.”

Ready for an upgrade?

2020 Nissan GTR NISMO Camera Car

Following the successful GT-R Nismo shoot at the Lausitzring circuit in Germany, Calo has also used his GT-R camera car to film other performance vehicles. Calo says that his “respect and appreciation of its performance, reliability and stability has only increased” since using it. 

With the Nissan GT-R now more than twelve-years-old, the 600 horsepower Nismo version is likely to be pushing the boundaries of the Japanese all-wheel drive sports car. Numerous stories have circulated about the next new GT-R, but Nissan has so far remained tight-lipped. 

Hopefully Nissan will give Calo sufficient warning of any planned replacement for the GT-R. That should give him time to start preparing his next camera car well in advance. 

Nissan gives million-mile driver a new pick-up

Million-mile Frontier man gifted new truck by NissanChicago-based courier Brian Murphy has driven has 2007 Nissan Frontier more than a million miles. As a reward, and because it wanted the vehicle for a display at the Chicago Auto Show, Nissan has given him a brand new truck.

The Frontier, known as the Navara in the UK, has hardly changed since its debut in 2005.That’s two Presidents ago, and before the iPhone came out. So the truck he’ll get is very similar to his million-miler. Minus a life of hard work, of course. 

Nissan recently gave the long-serving Frontier a 310hp 3.8-litre V6 engine, along with a nine-speed auto transmission. A new model is finally due before the end of 2020. 

Million-mile Frontier man gifted new truck by Nissan

“They’re not gonna start building the new one with the new engine until mid-April, they tell me, and at that time I can order what I want,” Murphy said, in an interview with The Drive.

They’re also gonna fly me down to Mississippi and watch it be built. I’m tired of shifting, so I’m gonna get an automatic, and I’m gonna switch to the [new] V6. They say it gets as good mileage as the four-cylinder, so I’m gonna go with that.”

“I have to stay with the King Cab because I need more space in back than in the cab, and the bed on the crew cab is a little shorter.”

Million-mile Frontier man gifted new truck by Nissan

The new truck will go straight to work, for what Murphy expects will be another six or seven years. That said, he did say he might go for the top-spec Pro-4X, which comes with trick Bilstein off-road-tuned suspension.

How much does he plan on using his truck before he stops work? “Hopefully by the time I do retire, I’ll still have a half-way decent truck, even though it’ll have half-a-million miles on it!”

DPD targets 1 in 10 electric van mix with new Nissan deal

DPD to take delivery of 300 electric Nissan vans

Nissan will deliver 300 e-NV200 electric vans to logistics firm, DPD. The deal will see the company’s electric fleet expand to 450 vehicles by May 2020.

This is part of DPD’s aim to make 10 percent of the vehicles at its 68 UK depots electric by the year’s end.

DPD to take delivery of 300 electric Nissan vans

“This is a real landmark day in the move to a more sustainable future for the parcel industry,” said Dwain McDonald, DPD’s CEO.

“These vehicles are changing the way we work. It isn’t just a case of plugging them in and saying, ‘job done’. We are rethinking and re-engineering how we deliver parcels now and in the future with different route networks and new types of depots. It is an all-encompassing revolution for our industry and electric, emission-free vehicles are at the heart of that vision.”

DPD to take delivery of 300 electric Nissan vans

DPD already has 91 e-NV200s on its fleet, which have been making their rounds for the last year and a half. The new batch of Nissans will be put to work performing local multi-drop deliveries, driving 100 miles per day.

The e-NV200 is WLTP-rated to travel between 124 and 187 miles on a full charge. It’ll recharge in eight hours with a wall box, and can be rapid-charged to 80 percent capacity in about an hour. 

The vans will be topped up overnight at DPD depots, and will have their routes for the next day sorted by the company’s route calculation and vehicle optimisation systems. Drivers have apparently given positive feedback so far.

DPD to take delivery of 300 electric Nissan vans

“It’s exciting to see a company built on delivering on time and to schedule proving that an electric vehicle can work for them, while also making such a large commitment to reducing their carbon footprint,” said Peter McDonald, fleet director at Nissan Motor GB.

“We’re seeing increased demand for the e-NV200 as more businesses look for an all-electric alternative. Nissan is able to deliver a fantastic product for them, and fast.”

Companies can claim 20 percent off the price of an electric commercial vehicle, up to a maximum of £8,000.

Nissan partners with Uber to electrify London fleet

Nissan Leafs for Uber drivers

Nissan has signed a deal for up to 2,000 Leafs to be made available for Uber drivers in London. The move is a big step towards the ride-hailing company’s goal of making its entire London fleet electric from 2025.

The Leafs will be offered to app-using drivers as a part of the company’s ‘Clean Air Plan’, which launched a year ago. Nissan will also give Uber a dedicated EV education programme, a special price and a marketing plan to help accelerate EV uptake. At present, Uber has 45,000 drivers working in London. 

Nissan Leafs for Uber drivers

“Through innovation and collaboration, companies like Nissan and Uber can tackle the challenges of advancing personal urban mobility, whilst also improving air quality in our major cities,” said Andrew Humberstone, managing director of Nissan GB.

“As the UK’s best-selling EV, the Nissan Leaf is the perfect vehicle to support Uber’s ambition of a 100 percent electric fleet in London for 2025.”

The Clean Air Alan is designed to help Uber drivers move to EVs. A clean air fee of 15p per mile is added to all London journeys, which goes towards helping drivers with the cost of adopting one.

Uber London licence 2019

The company raised £80 million in the first year, while a further £200 million or more is expected over the coming years.

The plan is expected to save Uber drivers an average of £4,500 on the cost of switching to an EV. So far, 900,000 Uber journeys have been in EVs, an increase of 350 percent on 2018. On average, 500 drivers a week are using EVs exclusively. 

“Our bold vision for London is for every driver on the Uber app to use an all-electric vehicle by 2025,” said Jamie Heywood, regional manager for Uber in northern and eastern Europe.

Falling Leafs: Nissan cuts prices of Leaf electric car

Nissan Leaf

Nissan has reduced the price of its Leaf electric car by £1,650 across the range.

As a result, prices now range from £26,345 for the Leaf 40kWh in Acenta trim, rising to £29,345 for the flagship Tekna. These prices include the £3,500 Plug-in Car Grant discount.

Crucially, this puts the entire 40kWh Leaf range within the sub-£30k P11D price point, making it more appealing for company car drivers. From April 2020, there will be a zero percent benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax on electric vehicles.

Nic Verneuil, marketing director of Nissan Motors GB, said: “Nissan is always improving the competitiveness of its vehicles, ensuring customers enjoy a better buying and ownership experience.

“We’ve not only secured additional factory production to make Leaf more accessible, but as a result we’ve also been able to significantly lower the price tag of the car in market.

“If customers are ready to make the switch, they shouldn’t have to wait to get behind the wheel of an electric vehicle.”

Leaf in a fortnight

10,000 charging locations in the UK

This is a thinly-veiled reference to the 12 months some customers are forced to wait for their new electric car. Nissan claims the waiting times for a new Leaf are as short as two weeks.

The Nissan Leaf now comes with two rear USB ports, while Tekna models also gain LED fog lights with a cornering function. The lights are optional on N-Connecta versions.

Earlier this year, the Leaf e+ was added to the range. The more expensive model boasts a 62kWh battery to deliver a range of up to 239 miles.

Our Richard Aucock drove the second-generation Nissan Leaf in 2018. You can read his review here. His verdict:

“It could well be the EV that convinces newly-receptive car buyers that electric cars are the way to go. Once you add in low running costs, and retained values that now mirror conventional cars, and Nissan’s feature-packed smartphone app that makes operating one as painless as possible, the advantages over petrol or diesel stretch.

“There are still foibles. Practicality could still be better, for example. The infotainment system is aged, the driving position compromised. But they’re not deal-breaking deterrents. Overall, the new Leaf is an impressive machine that delivers exactly what it needed to do, on time, for a competitive price. The electric car for normal people is here.”

Nissan demonstrates Leaf electric car energy regeneration by powering a CHRISTMAS TREE

Nissan Leaf Christmas tree

“Driving ohm for Christmas.” As press release headlines go, this one is straight out of a Christmas cracker.

To be honest, most media outlets are just jealous that Nissan got there first.

The company has revealed an all-electric Leaf with a light display powered entirely by its own regenerative braking energy system. It’s called the Nissan TREE. Well, it is Christmas…

The current (ba’dum tish) Nissan Leaf features an e-Pedal, which allows drivers to start, accelerate, decelerate and stop using only the accelerator pedal.

It also harvests energy via regenerative braking or deceleration. This energy goes straight back to the batteries where it is used to recharge the cells.

The Nissan (Christmas) Tree is fitted with thousands of LEDs, shimmery baubles and a reindeer. “The car is brighter than Rudolph’s nose,” claims Nissan.

The company says the average Nissan Leaf driver regenerates 744kWh of clean energy over the course of 11,000 miles. This is the equivalent to 20 percent of the domestic electricity consumption of an average household.

Alternatively, it’s enough for:

  • 266 Christmas tree lights with 700 incandescent lights for one hour
  • 297 ovens for one hour
  • 744 televisions for five hours
  • 10,783 houses with 1,000 LED lights for five hours

‘Festive mode of transport’

Nissan Leaf mobile Christmas tree

Helen Parry, head of electric vehicles for Nissan Europe, said: “Santa shouldn’t be the only one with a festive mode of transport. We wanted to make the Nissan Leaf more fun at this time of year whilst driving home a very important message.

“We hope this custom-made vehicle inspires people about the benefits of regenerative energy. After nearly ten years since Leaf was first introduced in Europe, Nissan continues to be fully focused on providing consumers a more sustainable lifestyle through electric mobility.”

Click here to read our review of the Nissan Leaf. We can guarantee that it contains no Christmas-related puns.

Nissan works with EU to encourage electric car uptake

Nissan climate change

Nissan is taking a broader look at how drivers can be encouraged to switch to electric cars. The company has led a White Paper, working with the European Innovation partnership on Smart Cities and Communities, to ‘accelerate towards more sustainable societies

A large part of the programme, also supported by the European Commission, concerns battery technology. It covers how batteries have use beyond their time in a car (‘second life’), plus how can EVs can work with the electricity grid, rather than just pulling energy from it.

Cheaper electric cars for more buyersNissan climate change

Nissan is keen to see better incentives for mid-range EVs, like its Leaf hatchback. While self-serving, it argues that lower costs, and potentially larger incentives, are required to get more people to go electric. 

Nissan is also suggesting tax incentives based on EV owners’ environmental impact, and rewards for power put back into the grid.

Leading by example

Nissan wants public services and authorities to play a part, too. Low-emission zones are a big part of the plan, in order to encourage people to make the jump to EVs.

Nissan climate change

Nissan also suggests procedures for smart charging installation should be improved. It proposes incentivised, or ideally mandatory, installation of renewable energy tech and smart charging in new buildings. 

The big picture is the so-called ‘smart city’, with car charging wherever drivers need it, housing equipped with renewables energy sources and so on. This is the future, says Nissan.

Nissan climate change

“To meet the challenges Europe faces we need a fundamental rethink on how mobility and energy policies are designed,” said Friederike Kienitz of Nissan Europe.

“While Nissan brought mass battery technology to Europe when it pioneered the Nissan Leaf 10 years ago, it is clear from this paper that this is about more than just Nissan or electric vehicles. There is much work to be done if Europe is to achieve its goal of being carbon neutral by 2050, and this white paper sets out how to get there at the national, regional and municipal level.”