RUSSIA, St. Petersburg – The Russian subdivision of Nissan Technical Centre Europe (Nissan Technical Centre Europe Russia – NTCE-R) is celebrating 10 years of engineering excellence in the region.
As Nissan’s R&D operation in the local market, NTCE-R’s mission is to develop vehicles for Russia in line with local legislation and the demands of the country’s customers.
Founded in 2011, located on the territory of Nissan’s Manufacturing plant in St Petersburg and moving to a dedicated facility in 2018, Nissan’s R&D hub has played a major role in the company’s long-term plans to increase the localization and geographic growth of production in Russia.
Within the last decade, NTCE-R has significantly expanded its expertise and today employs more than 100 engineers compared to just nine when the site opened in 2011. With a 10-fold increase in its workforce, NTCE-R has evolved from supporting the physical launch of models in Russia, to taking responsibility for the development of new versions of existing models and the full development of new Nissan vehicles.
For example, the NTCE-R team led the development of Nissan X-Trail and Qashqai facelifts in 2019 for the Russian market in line with local customer needs and are now working on adapting the new Nissan Pathfinder for Russian roads.
The team was also instrumental in implementing ERA-GLONAS in all Nissan vehicles in Russia, which is an automated emergency response system to ensure rapid assistance to motorists in the event of a collision. NTCE-R engineers also contributed to the development and integration of the advanced autonavigation system, Yandex.Avto, in Nissan X-Trail and Nissan Qashqai crossovers.
Matthew Ewing, VP Vehicle Design & Engineering, Nissan Africa, Middle East, India, Europe and Oceania (AMIEO) said: “In R&D, our goal is to develop and deliver vehicles that excite and delight our customers. Having a dedicated engineering team in Russia enables us to fully understand the Russian market and the expectations of our customers and develop vehicles that truly meet those needs.
“During the past decade, our level of responsibility and capability in Russia has grown considerably and I am very proud of what the team has achieved. Looking forward, the Nissan R&D team in Russia is leading the development of next generation Nissan vehicles in the market, which will bring new levels of performance and refinement to our customers.”
NTCE-R has completed more than 10 Russian vehicle projects to date as well as working on several projects for future model implementation. For example, NTCE-R led the development of X-Trail and Qashqai facelifts in line with the demands and desires of Russian customers and meeting market requirements. The Centre’s engineers continuously work to deliver innovative products and new technology that meet needs of Russian customers and recent developments include the introduction of Nissan’s advanced driver assistance system, ProPILOT and NissanConnect mobile phone application for X-Trail and Qashqai.
NTCE-R also boasts state-of-the-art testing facilities such as a universal robot bench and a climatic chamber.
As part of the universal robot bench, robots are installed in the facility to check the operability of all mechanical devices in Nissan vehicles. This is achieved by slamming doors, hoods and trunks tens of thousands of times in the testing phase of a model. The robots maintain a certain slamming rate, simulating a real person’s use of the vehicle and this is necessary to ensure that the new vehicles will serve owners for many years.
In the climatic chamber with a volume of 96 sq. m., vehicles are tested for thermal distortions and functional performance. It is essential for engineers to check that all mechanical devices function properly in all weather conditions, from the far north to the sultry south. Inside the chamber, the temperature can range from -50°С to +100°С, and the relative humidity can reach 95%. The most popular test is a thermal cycle, which sees a vehicle subjected to freezing down to -40°C then heating up to +80°C during weeks of testing.