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Automotive industry taking steps toward a sustainable future

Nissans’ innovations and long-term vision help Barrie Nissan general manager Bjorn Surmann sleep comfortably at night
Barrie Nissan Spotlight

No matter what side of the debate you are on, there’s no denying that climate change is one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century.

This is an enormous challenge that all manufacturers in the automotive industry currently face, given that vehicle emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are often flagged as major contributors to rising temperatures worldwide.

Thankfully, the entire automotive sector has been taking giant steps toward a more sustainable future by integrating advanced cutting-edge technologies into new vehicles.

For example, Nissan became one of the first major car companies to offer an all-electric car when it introduced the LEAF to the world in 2010. Until very recently, the LEAF was the #1 selling EV in the world.

With the release of the 2023 Nissan Ariya, the company will once again redefine the electric SUV segment with a vehicle that offers a dual electric motor setup featuring two battery options, a liquid cooled 66 kWh lithium-ion pack, and a larger 87 kWh battery pack with a max. range of 482kms. It’s Nissans’ innovations and long-term vision that help Barrie Nissan general manager Bjorn Surmann sleep comfortably at night.

“I’m a tree hugger and I believe that my industry has a substantial responsibility to our customers and the environment in equal parts. Zero emissions vehicles are a part of that future vision” said Surmann, who has served as Barrie Nissan GM for the past two years.

“Being in the automotive industry, we know that automobiles are one of the primary sources of greenhouse gases. It’s part of the reason for the current shift to electric vehicles. We’re going to be on of the first Ariya EV dealers in the country when it is rolled out in 2022.”

While the entire industry considers the advantages of producing fully electric and hybrid vehicles, many environmental watchdogs say that manufacturing and disposing of the batteries required to power these vehicles is equally bad for the environment. Surmann says Nissan has taken steps to become a leader in finding innovative ways to recycle discarded batteries.

“One of the initiatives that Nissan has taken on is recycling the old batteries by using them for battery banks in factories, and eventually in communities to build on the growing demands of the power infrastructure,” said Surmann. “Nissan is using those expired batteries as power storage units. They might not be good enough for the cars anymore, but they are being put to good use.”

A full transition to Electric will be a long time coming says Surmann, so focus on making the best, most efficient Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) will continue at Nissan.

Nissan already builds a lot of the industries most fuel-efficient vehicles and continues to push the boundaries of real-world safety systems in all vehicle categories. Nissan continues to offer best-in-class safety with Safety Shield 360, that includes standard features like automatic braking that can read traffic two cars ahead of you, and blind-spot detection to name just two.

It’s all part of Nissans’ forward-thinking strategy focused on greener technology and protecting human life that Surmann says is vitally important for the future of both the industry and the planet.

“We definitely see the wave is coming and don’t want to be late to the party,” he said. “At the same time, we also see the value in it and want to start educating people on what an electric future might look like for them.”

Visit Barrie Nissan online at, or in person at 630 Veterans Drive. Call 705 726-0649. Find us on FaceBook and Instagram as well.