R35 Nissan GT-R Could Go Hybrid Or Electric

Tony O'Kane | Jun 19, 2010

Kazutoshi Mizuno, chief engineer of the R35 Nissan GT-R, said that the Japanese supercar will eventually ditch a petrol-drinking powerplant altogether and make the leap to alternative fuels.

Speaking with TMR at the Australian launch of the MY2010 Nissan GT-R, Mizuno-san said new technology will need to be adopted in the future to keep the GT-R relevant, and that Nissan will eventually have to switch to a different type of propulsion system for its all-wheel drive supercar.

However, while Mercedes and Audi have announced plans for electric supercars (the SLS AMG ED and R8 e-tron, respectively) and Porsche recently wheeled out its petrol-electric 918 Spyder concept, Mizuno says a decision has yet to be made on what fuel will power GT-Rs of the future.

“I’ve not decided what type of technology I would use,” Mizuno said to TMR.

“Diesel, hybrid, electric motor or another kind of system? It’s not been decided.”

Nissan Chief Vehicle Engineer Kazutoshi Mizuno
Nissan Chief Vehicle Engineer Kazutoshi Mizuno

Mizuno did hint that it was unlikely a diesel powertrain would ever find its way into the GT-R’s engine bay, and he ruled out a flex-fuel variant of the GT-R’s 3.8 litre twin-turbo V6 on account of the engine’s extremely hot combustion temperatures.

He did say that the R35 GT-R’s drivetrain layout enables a great deal of flexibility when it comes to selecting an alternative powertrain.

With the engine separated from the rear-mounted transaxle the petrol engine could be swapped for an electric motor with relative ease, with no physical changes to the transaxle required.

Mizuno said a doughnut-shaped electric motor could conceivably be attached to the back of the engine in place of the torque dampener, creating a mild hybrid powertrain. A KERS-type hybrid system could possibly be fitted too.

The GT-R’s modular layout also means an alternative powerplant could be developed for the GT-R in much less time than usual, with Mizuno saying a two-year development timeline would be realistic.

That said, Mizuno also stated that there was “no need to hurry” the introduction of an alt-fuel GT-R, and said development of such a car had yet to begin.

In the meantime, Mizuno is busy finalising the design of the first major update for the R35, which is set to be unveiled in October this year in Japan.

Mizuno would not go into specifics, but said that improvements in power, torque and fuel efficiency will be key features of the MY2011-2012 GT-R. Revised aero will drop drag and improve downforce, while suspension and brake hardware will be tweaked.

Minor changes to the GT-R’s cooling system will also be brought in, and a drop in weight is anticipated.

A manual transmission, however, will never be offered in the GT-R.

With the 2010 Porsche 911 Turbo now boasting 368kW and 650Nm from its twin-turbo flat six, expect the GT-R's 3.8 litre V6 to be bumped up to similar levels. Currently, the GT-R's power output peaks at 357kW and 588Nm.

Probed about the availability of other variants in the GT-R line up, Mizuno hinted that a stripped-down model and a more luxury-oriented model could arrive soon.

“For now, GT-R is only available as a basic model,” Mizuno-san said.

“A sports-type cup car and what I call ‘SpecM’ may appear next October, so please wait!”

In the previous R34 generation, the Skyline GT-R M Spec was equipped with leather seats and a softer suspension tune. It’s unclear what might be offered in the R35 SpecM, but if history is any indication expect a more road-friendly ride and a higher level of standard equipment.

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Filed under: Featured, hybrid, Nissan, Green, kers, gt-r, nissan gt-r, electric vehicle, EV, r35, r35 gt-r, 2011 nissan gt-r, electric, News, 2012 nissan gt-r, R35 Nissan GT-R, Kazutoshi Mizuno, Mizuno, hybrid GT-R, electric GT-R, EV GT-R

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  • Wheelnut
    Wheelnut says,
    4 years ago
    There were reports of a Hybrid GT-R back in December last year. The reports also stated that the change could happen as soon as 2012 and that the GT-R Hybrid could produce as much as 450Kw

    Which is possible as at last years Geneva Motor Show they had a Hybrid Infiniti Essence coupe with a 400+Kw Twin Turbo V6 - The Infiniti coupe shares the same platform as the GT-R
  • Ward Paterson says,
    4 years ago
    Could this be the end of the fossil fuel giants...??

    They should go down the route of changing to Diesel first (like Subaru) and then go hybrid...
  • PeterG says,
    4 years ago
    Even with greater kw the driving experience will be inferior due to the clinical silence of electric power - sort of defeats the purpose of a hypo sports car.
    • Wheelnut
      Wheelnut says,
      4 years ago
      .... and I suppose that despite being able to do over 300Km/h the Bullet trains in Europe and Japan are crap because they're so quiet?
  • says,
    4 years ago
    A good step in the right direction for Nissan, regardless of dead silence driving, there will be modifications for such in the future aswell.
  • toesonthenose says,
    4 years ago
    I've spent a lot of time on Shinkansen's (bullet trains) & I can tell you they're not that quiet....Mind you,most of the noise is from the tracks! Lets not forget that if the GTR does become electric, although it will not have the sound, it will have the bonus of all it's kW's being available from the time the accelerator is touched.

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