Nissan’s Yokohama plant produced its 40 millionth engine this year, the same year the automaker celebrated its 90th anniversary. The factory opened two years after the company was founded, starting operations in 1935. Since then, the factory has produced several innovative machines.
In 1979, the factory began building the L20ET, the country’s first turbocharged engine for a passenger car that powered the Fairlady Z and other model lines. Four years later, in 1983, Japan’s first mass-produced V6 started rolling off the assembly line. In 2007, employees began building the company’s VC Turbo engine with variable compression ratio technology.
It took until 1976 before the factory made 10 million machines. Ten years later, it had made 20 million and passed the 30 million milestone in 1997.
Currently, the plant also makes the Nissan VR38DETT engine for the GT-R, which Nissan is updating for the 2024 model year. The company is giving the supercar styling a refresh, with a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 engine that produces 565 horsepower in the standard model.
The GT-R Nismo produces 600 hp and features a number of upgrades such as carbon fiber, better brakes and other tweaks as Nissan charges the Nismo $100,000 more compared to the entry-level Premium GT-R specification which starts at $122,885 (price includes $1,895 destination charge). The GT-R T-Spec offers some Nismo upgrades but starts at a much more affordable $142,885.
While the VR38DETT engine is a mighty power plant, the Yokohama plant is already focused on the future of the electricity industry. Nissan began building electric motors at the facility in 2010 with the launch of the Leaf. While reports indicate Nissan is discontinuing the model, the automaker has other EVs in production, such as the Ariya, and in development.
Earlier this year, the automaker updated its electrification plans starting in 2021, increasing the number of electric and all-electric vehicles it plans to offer by 2030. By the end of the decade, Nissan could have 19 new EVs and 27 new electric vehicles in its lineup.
By 2022, electric motors account for around 40 percent of the Yokohama Factory’s total production, but that’s not all the factory will produce. Starting next year, Nissan will open a pilot line at the plant developing solid-state batterieswith a goal of starting mass production in mid-2028. They could power models from Renault and Mitsubishi as the alliance plans to develop 35 new EVs together.
Ninety percent of the new models will use five common platforms covering different market segments. We will see the fruits of these efforts as soon as next year with the launch of the successor to the Nissan Micra. This platform will also underpin the Renault R5 and something from Alpine.