If you’re concerned that Nissan’s utes will lose their petrol and diesel engines for electric powertrains any time in the near future, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Speaking to media at the Tokyo motor show, Ivan Espinosa, Nissan’s senior vice president of global product strategy and product planning, said that use cases for electric power in some segments don’t make enough sense.

“Internal combustion is still going to be around for a while because there are several applications like pickups… and these [internal combustion engines] all have very good qualities for pickups like towing, because of the truck delivering things,” said Mr Espinosa.

“Now when it comes to Australia, I think the market is moving much quicker into EV [electric vehicles]…so what we’re looking at… and the good thing is we have choices on the shelf.

“Either our own or together with our Alliance partners [like Renault and Mitsubishi]. So we have diesel engines available. We have petrol engines available. We have the wonderful e-Power….and we have, of course, battery EVs, and we have plug-in hybrid as well, from Mitsubishi.”

Nissan’s alliance with Renault and Mitsubishi gives it access to a number of powertrains and platforms to make use of. We know that the next generation of Navara will share a platform with the Mitsubishi Triton, but that doesn’t mean that Nissan will carry over Mitsubishi’s engine choices and will let the customer decide which direction to head in.

“So the beauty of what we have is a choice. So we have the flexibility of choosing the best technology for the customer. But also considering the context of regulation,” said Mr Espinosa.

“So for us, it’s about customer and first and of course if we can match that with the regulation is wonderful because it will give the customer exactly what they want.”

Details on the next generation of Navara are still scarce, but with BYD set to introduce a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) ute in Australia in 2024 and Ford rolling out a Ranger PHEV early in 2025, there’s a chance Nissan may need to go down the plug-in hybrid path to offer competition in the segment.

Nissan offers the current Navara exclusively with diesel power in Australia, while the unrelated Frontier ute in North America packs a 3.8-litre petrol V6.

Paul Maric

Paul Maric is an Australian car expert based in Melbourne, Australia. Paul is a founder of CarExpert.com.au & formerly part of the CarAdvice founding team.

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