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Does Nissan have anything to lose by adding hybrid tech to its next Navara bakkie?

2020-07-01 06:02

Charlen Raymond

nissan navara

2020 Nissan Navara (MotorPress)

• New Navara expected in 2024-2025.

• Nissan reportedly looking at hybrid technology for the next-generation Navara.

• New Navara and Triton to share components.


The Nissan Navara is not a particularly strong seller locally, but it remains a popular bakkie among South Africans who have purchased them.

The first generation, launched more than a decade, captured the imagination with its unique design and robustness.

The second generation, launched locally in 2017, set new standards of what bakkies should and could be, especially with its SUV-inspired suspension. And yes, it vastly improved the bakkie's ride quality and made it a joy to drive over longer trips.

That five-link coil suspension on the rear axle was a first for bakkies in South Africa, and one of the Navara's best selling points. With news of a new Navara heading to market, Nissan will again be looking to give its Navara that edge.

2020 Nissan Navara. (MotorPress)

Hybrid technology

Nissan is, according to a report by Motoring.com.au, working on gifting its next-generation Navara with hybrid technology.

The site also quotes Stephen Lester, Nissan Australia CEO, as saying: "The exciting thing about electrification is that, at the moment, it's only bound by the imagination in terms of what it can do. That's where in concepts such as utes and pick-ups (bakkies) there is an opportunity there, for sure, that is not limited by the technology or what the powertrain can do or deliver, that doesn't suit the vehicle."

It is clear, then, that Nissan would be looking at hybrid technology on the Navara, whether the bakkie is powered by the current 2.3-litre diesel engine or a (future) petrol engine. Given that the market is drastically changing to and adopting alternative energies for its vehicles, Nissan has to take the next step to ensure that its bakkie does not stay behind.

The market leader, the Toyota Hilux, will also adopt some form of hybrid technology in the coming years. The new, third-generation Navara is expected to make its debut in 2024/5.

Read the original article by Motoring.com.au here.

Toyota Hilux

A heavily revised Toyota Hilux is expected in 2021. (Toyota Media)

What's next for Navara?

The next Navara is likely to share many of its components and elements with the new Triton.

Mitsubishi, Nissan, and Renault are in an alliance, and the next generation of their respective bakkies could well benefit from a part-sharing agreement. This would also include the Renault Alaskan double cab - a bakkie South Africa has been waiting on for years.

READ: Nissan to build next-gen Navara in SA - Could more bakkies be built locally?

All three of these automakers are conducting their own research into alternative forms of energy for their vehicles, and bakkies would also be included.

If hybrid technology does find its way to the Navara, we can expect the Triton and Alaskan to also benefit from this.

However, in South Africa, hybrid vehicles carry a substantial premium over its "standard" counterparts. This could mean that a hybrid Navara, as well as a hybrid Triton, would in all likelihood carry a price tag that's out of reach for your average bakkie owner. Still, technology is ever-evolving and we could see the cost of these vehicles drop by the time 2024 comes around.

Mitsubishi Triton Xtreme

2020 Mitsubishi Triton Xtreme. (QuickPic)

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