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Nissan confirms e-Power hybrids for Aus

New-gen Qashqai in box seat to be first locally offered Nissan with e-Power system

30 Aug 2021

NISSAN has confirmed its latest e-Power hybrid technology is headed to Australia and will be available in some of its models as of next year, most likely under the bonnets of the new-generation Qashqai and Juke small SUVs.

Described by Nissan as “a true EV solution”, the e-Power system comprises a lithium-ion battery, electric motor and a turbocharged 1.3-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, with drive coming exclusively from the electric motor.

Quite the reverse of a traditional hybrid system that offers electrical assistance and/or temporary electric power, e-Power uses the internal combustion engine (ICE) for the sole purpose of replenishing the battery when it runs low on charge – if the battery has plenty of range, the ICE is deactivated.

There is no mains or a fast charger as with a plug-in hybrid or full-electric vehicle, just a regular petrol tank.

Nissan Australia managing director Adam Paterson said the set-up offers drivers “the key benefits of an EV drive experience without ever having to plug in”, labelling it a “best-of-both-worlds solution”.

“While a traditional hybrid adds battery power to an internal-combustion engine, e-Power
delivers an EV-like driving experience, including exhilarating acceleration and near-silent
operation, all while drastically reducing your fuel use and emissions, he said.

Customers will not have to wait too long to try it out as the new-generation Qashqai will touch down early next year, with this announcement suggesting it will be available in both e-Power and traditional hybrid forms.

It remains to be seen if the powertrains will arrive together or if the e-Power will come later, however Nissan has already confirmed the latter’s 140kW/330Nm outputs and the inclusion of regenerative braking.

Less clear is which other models will score the e-Power treatment; the work-focused Navara resides in a segment ruled by diesel powertrains where towing capabilities are key, the Patrol has carved out its niche own niche as a V8 bruiser, the Leaf is already ell-electric and the new Pathfinder will likely be hindered by similar segment demands as the Navara.

That, for the time being at least, just leaves the Juke – already on the market – and new-generation X-Trail that also happens to be due next year.

The Juke makes sense because it shares broadly similar dimensions to the Qashqai, meaning packaging wouldn’t be an issue and its light weight would ensure maximum efficiency (and performance).

As for the X-Trail, it is tipped to eventually inherit the new Mitsubishi Outlander’s plug-in hybrid (PHEV) system in addition to the standard 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine.

An e-Powered X-Trail would not only complement the other two powertrains, but also expand the new model’s appeal within the medium SUV segment and offer a three-pronged market approach similar as Kia has done with the Niro.

“Nissan prides itself on delivering intelligent mobility solutions in every vehicle, and nowhere is that more obvious than with this Nissan-exclusive solution,” said Mr Paterson.

“While a traditional hybrid adds battery power to an internal-combustion engine, e-Power
delivers an EV-like driving experience, including exhilarating acceleration and near-silent
operation, all while drastically reducing your fuel use and emissions.

“We are looking forward to our customers experiencing this future-facing technology for
themselves.”

Time will be the ultimate teller, but there is little doubt that Nissan Australia has big hopes for the tech given 500,000 first-generation e-Power vehicles were sold globally between November 2016 and March 2021.

For reference, the current Qashqai continues to be a volume-seller for Nissan with 5214 units shifted in Australia so far this year ending July 31, accounting for 6.7 per cent of the sub-$40,000 compact SUV segment.

When the new model does eventually launch, the e-Power versions could wade straight into battle with the Hyundai Kona Electric, Kia Niro EV, MG ZS EV and Mazda MX-30 Electric.


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