Nissan has announced that it’s bringing its e-POWER series hybrid system to market. The Nissan Note e-POWER will be the first mass-production compact segment car ever to be equipped with a series hybrid system.
e-POWER adds a small petrol engine to charge the high-output battery when necessary, eliminating the need for an external charger while offering the same high-output.
The e-POWER system features full electric motor drive, meaning that the wheels are completely driven by the electric motor. In conventional hybrid systems, a low-output electric motor is mated to a petrol engine to drive the wheels when the battery is low (or when travelling at high speeds). However, in the e-POWER system, the petrol engine is not connected to the wheels; it simply charges the battery. And unlike a full EV, the power source originates from the engine and not just the battery.
This system structure generally requires a bigger motor and battery because the motor is the only direct source to drive wheels. This has made it hard for the automotive industry to mount the system in compact cars. However, Nissan has minimised and reduced weight, developed more responsive motor control methods and optimised energy management. As a result, e-POWER uses a smaller battery than the LEAF, but delivers the same driving experience as a full EV.
e-POWER delivers massive torque almost instantly, which enhances drive response and results in smooth acceleration. Also, the system operates very quietly, much like a full EV. Because e-POWER relies on the engine much less frequently, its fuel efficiency is comparable to that of leading conventional hybrids, especially during around town commutes. Nissan says that the e-POWER system allows you to enjoy all the benefits of an EV without having to worry about charging the battery.
In 2006, Nissan experienced a breakthrough in its energy management technology. Nissan’s engineers were able to reduce the battery capacity to match its competitors’ hybrid vehicles while still delivering desirable EV qualities, such as quietness and efficient energy use. In addition, application of Nissan’s technologies, such as the integration of a power-generating engine, electric motor drive for compact car use, strengthening of the powertrain’s rigidity and improvements in NVH levels, became the foundation of e-POWER and its implementation in the compact-car segment.
Nissan is committed to developing electric-powered powertrains that use various fuels to cater to the different requirements of the world’s markets. e-POWER is one example, and will strengthen Nissan’s line up of electric-powered powertrains.