Nissan offered a hint at a new hybrid powertrain as part of a concept car it unveiled at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show.

The Nissan Gripz is a heavily-stylized crossover that the carmaker claims takes inspiration from the classic Datsun 240Z sports car.

As such, it previews a possible new sporty crossover from the Japanese carmaker--but also a hybrid powertrain slated for future models.

DON'T MISS: Nissan To Launch Plug-In Hybrids Too, In Less Than Two Years (Jun 2014)

Without offering any significant detail, Nissan said the grips uses a "series hybrid" powertrain called "Pure Drive e-Power."

It claims the powertrain uses technology from electric cars, including the Leaf's electric motor.

The use of a Leaf motor echoes the parameters of a powertrain discussed by Nissan's then-product development chief Andy Palmer last year.

Nissan Gripz concept, 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show

Nissan Gripz concept, 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show

At the time Palmer--who has since departed to lead British sports-car maker Aston Martin--said Nissan plug-in hybrids could go on sale as early as the 2016 model year.

Using the Leaf motor would offer Nissan significant economies of scale after building hundreds of thousands of the electric cars.

However, Nissan has offered no further updates on plug-in hybrid development, and the press materials for the Gripz concept don't specifically mention plugging in.

ALSO SEE: Nissan Qashqai ZEOD Plug-In Concept Confirmed For Later This Year

The Gripz itself is meant to be a combination of a sports car and a crossover.

Nissan views the concept as the spiritual successor to the 240Z rally cars that competed on demanding terrain in places like Africa and Mexico's Baja Peninsula.

The styling--which is also inspired by cycling, Nissan says--could hint at the designs of future Nissan crossovers, including the next Juke.

Nissan Gripz concept, 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show

Nissan Gripz concept, 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show

A new Juke based on the Renault-Nissan CMF-B platform is expected to begin production next year.

Nissan is also apparently using the Gripz to gauge public interest in a Z-badged crossover, which could join the current 370Z coupe and convertible in the sports-car range.

MORE: Infiniti Q30 Luxury Compact Hatchback: Frankfurt Auto Show Unveiling

It's unclear whether such a vehicle would use a plug-in hybrid powertrain, although Nissan is reportedly investigating such a system for its heavier models, which would likely include crossovers.

For more 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show news, head over to our show news hub.


Follow GreenCarReports on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.