A new hybrid-drive system – e-POWER – has been launched by Nissan.
It marks the first time that e-POWER technology is available for consumers, marking a milestone in Nissan's electrification strategy. The e-POWER system is classified as a ‘series hybrid’, and a new Nissan Note e-POWER will be the first mass-production compact segment car ever to be equipped with this system.
The e-POWER system borrows from the Nissan LEAF’s EV development, however, unlike the LEAF, 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.
Featuring a full electric-motor drive, meaning that the wheels are completely driven by the electric motor, the power from a high-output battery is delivered to the e-POWER’s compact powertrain comprised of a petrol engine, power generator, inverter, and a 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 traveling 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 according to Nissan. However, the Japanese company says it has learned how to ‘minimise and reduce weight, develop more responsive motor control methods and optimise energy management’. As a result, e-POWER uses a smaller battery than the LEAF, but ‘delivers the same driving experience as a full EV’.
With e-POWER, massive torque is delivered almost instantly, says Nissan, and the system operates very quietly, much like a full EV - and, because e-POWER relies on the engine much less frequently, its fuel efficiency is comparable to that of leading conventional hybrids, especially during around-the-town commutes. The e-POWER system offers the benefits of an EV without having to worry about charging the battery.