THE Nissan TeRRA SUV concept, to be unveiled on September 27 at the Paris Motor Show, combines two outstanding Nissan strengths –– sport utility vehicles (SUV) and electric vehicles (EV) –– in a vehicle that is equally in its element off-road or gliding silently through the city.
Report by Autoworld
With an innovative 4×4 fuel-cell electric powertrain and an athletic exterior that has presence beyond its compact dimensions, TeRRA takes sustainable motoring into exciting new territory.
Building on Nissan’s success with crossovers like the Juke and Qashqai, and its EV success with the Leaf, the TeRRA shows that Nissan’s zero-emission expertise encompasses fuel cells too. It is designed as a functional and flexible choice for tomorrow’s youthful, “always on” consumers, bringing with it eco-friendliness along with a secure driving feel under any road conditions.
“Our challenge was to take Nissan’s strength in SUVs and crossovers forward into the zero-emissions era, fuel cells being our new frontier in zero emission mobility,” said Francois Bancon, Nissan’s division general manager of product strategy and planning.
Although TeRRA is presented as a design concept, not a technical exhibit, its proposed 4×4 fuel cell electric powertrain is far from imaginary. Powering the front wheels is the electric propulsion system currently featured in the Nissan Leaf. In each back wheel, providing all-wheel power as needed, is an in-wheel electric motor. As no drive shafts are required to power the rear wheels, there is no hump in the floor or on the underbody. This allows for the flat boot floor and the underside bodypan.
Under the bonnet is ample space for Nissan’s hydrogen fuel cell stack: a flat, highly compact unit that features world-leading power density of 2,5kW/L. The latest in a series of Nissan fuel cells since 1996, the stack costs just one-sixth of its 2005 predecessor as the need for expensive precious metals has been slashed to one-quarter of the previous level.
TeRRA is purely a concept car, but it signals that Nissan is ready to mass-produce fuel cell electric vehicles whenever hydrogen becomes widely available.