Nissan in talks with US startup to produce Titan electric pickup trucks: Reports

Going electric may provide Nissan with a way to reposition Titan as a more environmentally friendly truck that can go bumper-to-bumper with battery-powered pickups from rivals.
By : Bloomberg
| Updated on: 20 Nov 2020, 08:19 AM
Nissan plans to come up with an electrified version of its pickup truck Titan.
Nissan plans to come up with an electrified version of its pickup truck Titan.
Nissan plans to come up with an electrified version of its pickup truck Titan.
Nissan plans to come up with an electrified version of its pickup truck Titan.

Nissan Motor Co is looking to breathe new life into its wheezing full-size pickup truck by electrifying it with the help of a Detroit-based startup, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Japanese automaker is considering buying a battery-electric powertrain from Hercules Electric Vehicles for its Titan pickup and sharing parts for the startup’s own truck in a prospective strategic partnership, said the people, who declined to be named.

Similar Cars

Find More Cars
Hyundai Kona Electric (HT Auto photo)
Hyundai Kona Electric
cc | Electric | Automatic
₹23.79 - 23.98 Lakhs**Ex-showroom price
Nissan Magnite (HT Auto photo)
Nissan Magnite
18.75 kmpl | 999 cc | Manual | Petrol | 5 Person | FWD | 71 bhp | 96 Nm | 205 mm | 939 kg | 336 litres | 5 Gears | 1.0L B4D | No | 40 litres | Hrs | 750 Km | | No | Front & Rear | seconds | Kmph | 18 kmpl
₹4.99 - 10.05 Lakhs**Ex-showroom price
Nissan Kicks (HT Auto photo)
Nissan Kicks
1498 cc | Petrol | Manual | 13.9 kmpl
₹9.5 - 14.65 Lakhs**Ex-showroom price
Nissan Gt-r (HT Auto photo)
Nissan Gt-r
3799 cc | Petrol | Automatic (DCT) | 8.47 kmpl
₹2.12 Cr**Ex-showroom price

The talks are ongoing and could still fall apart before a deal is signed, the people said. The two planned vehicles will join a crowded field of new electric trucks chasing an as-yet untested market for battery-powered haulers.

In addition to pickups from rival startups such as Amazon.com Inc-backed Rivian Automotive Inc, more established automakers also are also rolling out all-electric trucks, including General Motors Co’s GMC Hummer and another unnamed pickup, as well as an electrified version of Ford Motor Co’s F-150. EV market leader Tesla Inc plans to launch its Cybertruck late next year.

Nissan has been struggling to steady itself since the November 2018 arrest of its former Chairman Carlos Ghosn, and already sluggish sales in the US have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. The brand has never fared well in the competitive US full-size truck market, and demand for the Titan plunged 38% last year. The pickup’s sales are down another 24% to 19,403 this year through September, compared with 589,034 deliveries of the industry leading Ford F-Series, which fell 11% in the period.

Going electric may provide Nissan with a way to reposition Titan as a more environmentally friendly truck that can go bumper-to-bumper with battery-powered pickups from rivals.

Partnership Bonanza

A partnership between Nissan and Hercules would mirror similar deals forged by Ford and GM with EV startups. Ford plowed $500 million into Rivian last year for access to its truck-sized electric “skateboard" platform. GM has a tentative deal for a $2 billion stake in Nikola Corp, though that partnership may be on the rocks after Nikola’s founder stepped down amid regulatory probes. In that deal, GM would offset its own development costs by providing electric propulsion technology for Nikola’s Badger pickup.

Hercules was founded in Detroit in 2018 by James Breyer, an auto engineer with stints at GM, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, and Magna International Inc. He was soon joined by co-founders Greg Weber, another veteran of Fiat Chrysler who also worked at battery maker LG Chem Ltd, and Julie Tolley, a former engineer at engine supplier Eaton Corp.

The company plans to produce its first vehicle, a luxury electric truck called the Hercules Alpha, at niche volumes starting in mid-2022.

Not all automakers are convinced there’s sufficient demand to jump into the budding electric-truck market. Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Mike Manley has hinted his company may build a battery-powered Ram pickup but said earlier this year he’s watching the market first to see if they’ll sell.

First Published Date: 20 Nov 2020, 08:19 AM IST
Recommended For You
View All
NEXT ARTICLE BEGINS

Please provide your details to get Personalized Offers on

Choose city
+91 | Choose city
Choose city
Choose city
By clicking VIEW OFFERS you Agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy

Dear Name

Please verify your mobile number.

+91 | Choose city