In a puzzling move, Nissan is said to be negotiating with California startup Hercules to electrify its upcoming new Titan full-size pickup. We say puzzling because Nissan was the first to enter the production EV marketplace with the Leaf back in 2011. Though it doesn’t appear that Nissan did much with what it learned about mass-producing EVs why would Nissan want a US company to electrify the Titan pickup?
Nissan would purchase battery-electric power systems from Hercules Electric Vehicles
If the negotiations pan out Nissan would purchase battery-electric power systems from Hercules Electric Vehicles. This according to Automotive News. It would even use some of the Hercules EV pickup components for use in the Titan. Whatever the arrangement, the EV pickup segment is getting more crowded by the day. And all of this product is for a market no one knows whether it is even viable. But it is not the only one planning to enter this EV truck market.
Most of the other truck manufacturers are getting into the electrification zeitgeist. Now it looks like Nissan is positioning itself to join the party. After years of having been the first into the all-electric segment, only to squander the lead, it now looks like it is back. Its offerings in the full-size pickup segment have not done well. As it cut options and lagged behind in technology it saw sales dwindle.
Having the most expensive base price of any full-size pickup at $36,000-plus yet not having standard features most other trucks come with may be part of the Titan’s problem. Ford’s F-150 base price is $28,000, an $8,000 difference. Towing capacity is also down compared to both Ford and Chevy, as is 0-60 mph times. So, there are circumstances that keep the Titan’s numbers much lower than that of the competition.
Titan sales fell almost 40% in 2019
RELATED: Why Nobody Wants the Nissan Titan
Sales fell almost 40% in 2019. So far this year sales are down another 24% to under 20,000 through September. In spite of this, it looks like Nissan is not ready to pull out of the segment any time soon. And hooking up with an EV startup is not unusual. Ford has a stake in the Rivian truck venture while GM has a potential $2 billion investment pending in Nikola. In GM’s case, Nikola is now embroiled in regulatory investigations and certain dubious claims.
As for Hercules, it is scheduled to release its Hercules Alpha luxury EV pickup in 2022. The company was started by former engineer James Breyer back in 2018. Breyer had previous engineering positions with GM, Fiat Chrysler, and Magna International. It is unclear whether it would incorporate any Nissan components for its Alpha pickup.