The Nissan TeRRA SUV concept, to be unveiled on 27th September at the Paris Motor Show, introduces Nissan’s electric vehicle technology into the SUV vehicle class. The 4X4 fuel cell electric powertrain provides the TeRRA SUV with equal ability to travel both on and off road, whilst producing no emissions – taking sustainable motoring into a new territory.
Nissan will build on their existing experience with SUV models, such as the Juke and Quashqai, and their knowledge gained from electric vehicles with the LEAF – however the TeRRA will be the first design to demonstrate Nissan’s advancement with fuel cell technology.
“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 the required all-wheel power, is an in-wheel electric motor, based on the working prototypes featured in three successive PIVO concepts.
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, meaning that interior capacity is increased compared to a conventionally powered SUV.
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 2.5 kW/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. Nissan have also managed to reduce the size and weight of their fuel cell significantly, without reducing energy density.
The exterior of the vehicle looks tough, yet modern and futuristic – unlike any other SUV designs. The interior is a warm and comfortable looking, four seater cabin. A blond beech wooden trim with coloured acrylic surfaces continues the modern theme.
The instrument cluster is an electronic tablet that serves as an intelligent information provider – the driver docks it when entering the car and removes it when leaving. When docked in TeRRA, the tablet’s default view displays speed and other information but the driver can easily toggle to entertainment, communications, navigation and other views.
TeRRA is purely a concept car, but it signals a message that Fleetdrive Electric welcome that Nissan is ready to mass-produce fuel cell electric vehicles whenever hydrogen becomes widely available.