Nissan Motor is considering establishing a strategic alliance with US electric vehicle company Hercules Electric Vehicles, according to unconfirmed reports citing people close to the matter.

The Japanese automaker is reportedly discussing using the Detroit-based startup's electric powertrains for its struggling Titan US full-sized pickup truck.

It is also said to be considering sharing other components with Hercules' own forthcoming pickup truck to keep costs as low as possible.

Nissan is looking to lift sales of its loss making Titan in the highly competitive US full-size pickup truck market. According to local reports, sales of the Titan were down by 38% in 2019, even before the COVID-19 crisis hit, with sales in the first nine months of 2020 down by a further 24% at 19,403 units.

The source emphasised the talks were ongoing with a deal between the two parties yet to be signed. The battery powered pickup truck market in the US is largely untested while more and more brands are beginning to offer EV options including new entrants Tesla and Rivian Automotive. Not everyone is convinced there will be sufficient demand to sustain all the brands in this segment.

Other established US vehicle manufacturers this year have forged alliances with industry startups in the electric vehicle segment, including Ford with Rivian and GM with Nikola. 

Hercules was founded in Detroit in 2018 by auto engineer James Breyer "with a vision to bring luxury eco-utility products to market", starting with a luxury electric truck called the Alpha in mid-2022.