Nobusuke Tokura, Senior Vice President,
Nissan Technical Centre Europe
Who is Nobusuke Tokura?
As the Senior Vice President responsible for European Research and Development (R&D) at Nissan Technical Centre Europe (NTCE), Nobusuke Tokura uses his skills and experience to help develop the vehicles for the future.
Having spent more than 26 years with Nissan’s R&D team across the world, Tokura-san has been involved in many crucial areas of the business including: field technology development, driving control technology, vehicle acceleration performance development, fuel cell system development and EV system development. All in all, while working in R&D he describes his main responsibilities as “improving quality”.
In his current role as Head of NTCE, Tokura-san is responsible for vehicle development for all European regions and brands in the Nissan family, including Nissan, Infiniti, and Datsun.
He also oversees the NTCE Advanced Engineering team, which is responsible for looking specifically at the emerging technologies required for cars in the future Europe automotive industry.
Prior to his current role, Tokura-san spent two years as the Chief Vehicle Engineer of Nissan Technical Centre, the global research and development function based in Atsugi, Japan.
Tokura-san, who joined Nissan in 1991, has held various managerial roles at NML across li-ion battery development, EV system development, driving control technology development, fuel cell vehicle development and technology planning departments.
For his first 10 years in the company this was focused on powertrain research and development. He then moved to fuel cell vehicle development for around five years, during which time he was promoted to manager.
From here he moved into the technology-planning department for two years before joining the chassis control development team, where he was focussed on braking control technology. This role was particularly important for the company’s electric vehicle line-up.
Achievements at Nissan
One of Tokura-san’s first proudest moments is the contribution he and his team made to the drivetrains of Nissan’s vehicles. In particular, he was heavily involved in the development of the company’s Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT) gearboxes. Elements of that technology, developed during the early parts of his career, can still be seen in the vehicles being manufactured today.
He said: “That was a very exciting time and it was great to be part of a team that was working at the forefront of engineering advancement. That is one of my first great memories of working in Nissan.”
Other big achievements that he is proud of include:
- Developing new engine control software to improve driveability smoothness
- Working on the original software development of regenerative brake systems for electric vehicles
- Li-ion battery development
- Nissan Rogue and X-Trail development for the global market
Another stand out memory for Tokura-san is his involvement in creating many of Nissan’s R&D human development programmes. Prior to this project, many of the R&D learning programmes were fragmented and inconsistent. With a team, Tokura-san built a wide-ranging training scheme that was consistent around the world and is still in place and used today.
Why is Nissan Different?
Tokura-san said: “I think it is quite simple – diversity - Nissan is a very diverse and open-minded company. If you are passionate and want to do something, then the company helps you to achieve it.”
Tokura-san thinks that Nissan has a strong future ahead to lead the industry because it invested early and ahead of others in the key areas of Autonomous Drive, Connected Cars, and Electric Vehicles.
“We were looking at these technologies, building teams and specialities long before they became popular”, he said. “That’s why, particularly when it comes to Electric Vehicles, Nissan can make these technologies accessible and be in a healthy position to look to the future.”
In Tokura-san’s Personal Time
Tokura-san is enjoying living in Europe having moved from Japan recently. In his spare time likes to play golf and make jam.
Tokura-san’s Current Ride
Tokura-san currently drives Nissan X-Trail. His first car was a moss green Laurel – the first car in 1973 to have electric windows.