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Carnegie Mellon, Nissan Team Up for Electric Vehicles

published: 2010-05-19 14:27

Students at Carnegie Mellon University spent the spring semester exploring the future of electric vehicles through a partnership with Nissan North America (NNA).

The class is a cross-campus collaboration among faculty and researchers at the university’s Carnegie Institute of Technology (College of Engineering), School of Design and Tepper School of Business. The classroom challenge for this semester focused on addressing issues and developing solutions related to electric cars projected to be in the market in the next five years. Professionals from Nissan’s advanced planning and product planning groups, engineers from Nissan Technical Center North America, researchers and designers from Nissan Design America supported the students as they executed their projects. The students’ goal: developing real-world innovations for Nissan electric vehicles.

“Nissan’s electric vehicle program presents an unprecedented opportunity for re-imagining the future of transportation,” said Rachel Nguyen, director, advanced planning, NNA. “The student teams offered uniquely informed perspectives on zero-emission mobility and what that means for their generation.”

The class worked in six teams, each of which spent the semester working towards a single concept, presented today in the final class. Nissan has committed to moving beyond a single electric vehicle solution through the introduction of several electric vehicles, and these different solutions are designed to help Nissan explore future possibilities. Projects include: an in-car work station; an interactive dashboard for entertainment and connectivity; grocery-shopping support system; an automated vehicle cleaning system; a suite of ergonomic features to reduce stress; and a vehicle trash, recycling and organization system.

“Carnegie Mellon University’s interdisciplinary approach to teaching offers these students the opportunity to gain experience on real-world projects,” said Jonathan Cagan, Ladd Professor of Mechanical Engineering and co-director of the Master of Product Development program. “We’re looking forward to the possibility of seeing these solutions on the road, in future iterations of Nissan electric vehicles.” Cagan teaches the course with Peter Boatwright, Associate Professor of Marketing, and Eric Anderson, Associate Professor of Design.

Nissan is the leader in electric-vehicle technology and will be introducing the Nissan LEAF, the first affordable all-electric vehicle designed for the mass market, to the U.S. in December. The Nissan LEAF, a five-passenger vehicle, runs on pure electricity, uses no gas and creates zero emissions. With a tested range of 100 miles on a single charge, the Nissan LEAF is designed to meet the daily driving needs of the majority of U.S. drivers.

After the application of a $7,500 federal tax credit for which the vehicle will be fully eligible, the net cost of the Nissan LEAF is as low as $25,280. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP*) for the 2011 Nissan LEAF is $32,780. More than 8,200 people have reserved Nissan LEAF electric cars through an early reservation program. Reservations open to the general public on May 15.

In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive design, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010, whose key priorities are reducing CO2 emissions, cutting other emissions and increasing recycling. MSRP excludes applicable tax, title and license fees. Dealer sets actual price. Prices and specs are subject to change without notice.

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