2017 Mitsubishi i-MiEV
Now that it has officially taken control of Mitsubishi Motors, the Renault-Nissan Alliance is integrating the smaller automaker's green-car projects with its own.
Renault-Nissan announced plans to acquire a 34-percent stake in Mitsubishi in May, shortly after the company admitted to cheating on fuel-economy tests for many years in its home country of Japan.
The sale of that stake was completed in October, making Renault-Nissan Mitsubishi's largest shareholder.
As is typical with purchases of carmakers by existing conglomerates, there will be consolidation among platforms, powertrains, and other components to achieve cost savings.
That effort may affect the future electric cars of Nissan, Renault, and Mitsubishi.
The latter will share an electric-car platform developed by the other two automakers, Nikkei reports.
2017 Nissan Leaf
This news comes shortly after a report that Renault and Nissan would move their two best-selling electric cars onto the same platform in upcoming redesigns.
The Nissan Leaf is currently the best-selling electric car globally, while the smaller subcompact Renault Zoe is the best-selling electric car in Europe.
These two models are quite different in size, and use lithium-ion battery cells from different sources.
But Arnaud Deboeuf—senior vice president of Renault-Nissan BV, the company's strategic management unit—said recently that the Leaf and Zoe could soon share a platform, and compete in the same segment.
That would mean either shrinking the Leaf into a subcompact, or growing the Zoe.
A future Mitsubishi electric car would use this same shared platform, according to the Nikkei report.
Mitsubishi eX Concept, 2015 Tokyo Motor Show
One candidate for such a vehicle might be the production version of the Mitsubishi eX concept, an all-electric compact crossover utility vehicle the company has shown at auto shows for two years.
That car was originally expected to be in production soon, but it appears to have been delayed. If produced, it would likely share underpinnings with a future all-electric Nissan crossover about the size of the Rogue.
Mitsubishi now sells only the i-MiEV, an aging electrified version of a tiny Japanese "kei" car also sold as the Citroën C-Zero and Peugeot iOn in Europe.
The exchange of green-car components will go both ways, though.
While Mitsubishi will get an electric-car platform from Renault-Nissan, the alliance partners have decided to adopt Mitsubishi's hybrid technology.
Last week, Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn announced that Mitsubishi hybrid technology would be used across the board, as part of an overall effort to share costs among all three brands.
2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid
The Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid crossover is currently the best-selling plug-in hybrid in Europe, and the only plug-in hybrid utility vehicle currently available that isn't a luxury model.
Mitsubishi has promised to bring the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid to the U.S., and displayed a "prototype" at the 2016 New York Auto Show after multiple delays.
But the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid now isn't expected to go on sale in the U.S. until Summer 2017.