Like its showcase at the 2019’s year-ending Tokyo Motor Show, Nissan came to this month’s CES 2020 tech extravaganza determined to prove it remains at the bleeding edge of innovation in the automotive industry.

Readers of T&FME have seen ACCIONA’s push to prove electric vehicles can compete off-road and in Las Vegas visitors could see Nissan’s own take on going into uncharted driving technology with its twin-motor all-wheel-control system: e-4ORCE.

According to the Japanese auto-giant, the technology works by providing instant torque to all four wheels and delivers balanced, predictable power and handling on par with many premium sports cars.

The ‘e’ represents Nissan’s technologies enabled by a 100% electric motor drive system. “4ORCE,” pronounced “force,” evokes physical power and energy with “4” standing for the all-wheel control driving capability, it added.

“The e-4ORCE twin-motor all-wheel control technology offers precise handling and stability, which gives drivers greater confidence and even more excitement than ever before,” said Takao Asami, Nissan’s senior vice president of research and advanced engineering. “This technology enables excellent cornering performance and traction on slippery surfaces and comfortable ride for all passengers.”

The technology was born from lessons learned in the development of the Nissan GT-R’s ATTESA E-TS torque split system and the Nissan Patrol’s intelligent 4X4 system. Engineers developed the e-4ORCE technology to specifically manage electric vehicle power output and braking performance to be smooth and stable.

Nissan claims that its unparalleled ride comfort is the result of the e-4ORCE technology’s ability to minimise vehicle pitch and dive. This is accomplished by employing regenerative braking from both front and rear motors, making city stop-and-go traffic less jostling. Similarly, on rough, bumpy roads and when accelerating, motor control is optimised to maintain ride comfort by minimizing irregular movement.

“e-4ORCE increases driver confidence by faithfully tracing the driver’s intended line thanks to ultra-high-precision motor and brake control. With the confidence to handle such a variety of road surfaces, even for novice drivers on slippery surfaces, driving becomes more enjoyable”.

Also at CES 2020 was the Ariya Concept, a crossover EV with twin electric motors, powerful acceleration, award-winning driver assistance technology and a look that signals a complete reinvention of the brand’s design.

The new Nissan Ariya Concept was previously introduced at last year’s 46th Tokyo Motor Show, and is the company’s main development platform for testing out how it can position itself in the next – to borrow its own phrase – ‘evolutionary phase’ of the automobile.

“The Ariya Concept offers a spacious, premium cabin with high-tech features and a body that conveys the pure, clean nature of electric cars. It embodies the Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision of personal transportation – one where electrification and vehicle intelligence will offer seamless and adaptive travel experiences free of accidents or harmful emissions,” says Nissan.

The Ariya Concept expands on design elements first hinted at by the Nissan IMx concept which had debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show two years before.

They include the bold electrified V-motion signature “shield” and striking rear light blade, short overhangs, and an interior that feels more like a lounge than a conventional vehicle: “Although it’s a concept vehicle, the crossover EV’s bold styling and unconventional interior and exterior elements could make it into production in the near future.”

“The Ariya Concept represents a strong collaboration between design and engineering,” said Yasuhiro Yamauchi, representative executive officer, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. “It is the next stage of Nissan’s future design language as we embark on a new era for the company – the next stage in our evolution.”

The Ariya Concept shared a stand with a very different – and already in the field – modified e-NV200, which was turned into an ice cream van for an all-electric, zero-emission concept to celebrate “Clean Air Day” in the UK last summer.

Nissan partnered with Mackie’s of Scotland, an ice cream producer powering its family-owned dairy farm by renewable wind and solar energy. The project demonstrates how a “Sky to Scoop” approach can remove carbon dependence at every stage of the ice cream journey.

Most ice cream vans, particularly older models, have diesel engines which are kept running to operate the refrigeration equipment. These motors are criticised for producing harmful emissions, including black carbon, when left idling. Some UK towns and cities are now looking to ban or fine these vehicles. Nissan’s concept presents a potential solution for vendors looking to reduce their carbon footprint, and offer customers a better experience.

The prototype van is based on the e-NV200, Nissan’s 100% electric LCV (light commercial vehicle). The concept is a working demonstration of Nissan’s Electric Ecosystem, combining a zero-emission drivetrain, second-life battery storage and renewable solar energy generation.

“Ice cream is enjoyed the world over, but consumers are increasingly mindful of the environmental impact of how we produce such treats, and the “last mile’ of how they reach us,” said Kalyana Sivagnanam, managing director, Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd. “This project is a perfect demonstration of Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility strategy, applying more than a decade of EV experience and progress in battery technology to create cleaner solutions for power on the go – in ways customers might not expect. By eliminating harmful tailpipe emissions, and increasing our use of renewable energy, we can help make this a better world for everyone.”

Whilst the van’s motor is driven by a 40kWh battery, the on-board ice cream equipment – including a soft-serve machine, freezer drawer and drinks fridge – are powered by the newly unveiled Nissan Energy ROAM, which goes on sale later in 2019. Designed for both professional and leisure applications, ROAM is a portable power pack that uses lithium-ion cells recovered from early first-generation Nissan electric vehicles (produced from 2010 onwards). This provides a sustainable second-life for Nissan EV batteries.

“We’re delighted to have worked with Nissan on this project as it’s the perfect complement to our own vision of becoming self-sustainable in renewable energy – and eliminating carbon in the journey from “Sky to Scoop’,” said Karin Hayhow, marketing director at Mackie’s of Scotland.

Away from mechanical engineering benches, Nissan also presented a new material at this year’s CES that can help make car cabins quieter while also boosting energy efficiency.

Nissan describes the new lightweight sound insulation material, known as acoustic meta-material, as deceptively simple. It works by a combination of a lattice structure and plastic film which controls air vibrations to limit the transmission of wide frequency band noise (500-1200 hertz), such as road and engine noise.

Currently, most materials used to isolate this frequency band consist mainly of heavy rubber board. Nissan claims the new acoustic meta-material weighs one-fourth as much as these while providing the same degree of sound isolation.

Because of its simple structure, the material’s cost competitiveness in terms of mass production is almost the same as, or possibly better than, current materials. Therefore, the material can also be applied to vehicles where the use of sound insulation materials is currently limited due to cost or weight.

Nissan started its research on meta-material technology around 2008. At the time, meta-material was used in high-sensitivity antennas used for electromagnetic wave research. Nissan worked to extend the applicability of meta-material technology to include sound waves, leading to the successful invention of acoustic meta-material.

“Making vehicles lighter helps limit the environmental impact of driving by improving energy efficiency. It also enhances enjoyment, as the quiet vehicle cabin makes driving more comfortable,” said the company.