“The new Qashqai is going to change what customers can expect from a family car,” says Nissan Europe chairman Gianluca de Ficchy. “Comfort, refinement and technology will be from higher categories of car, while we feel that customers will fall in love with the feeling of an electric powertrain, without the range concerns.”
Going the range-extender route is something of a surprise. We have had them before – remember the Vauxhall Ampera? – but the latest Nissan e-Power system brings the idea up to date, so much so that Nissan doesn’t use the expression. e-Power Nissans have been offered in Japan before but this is the first time we are getting one here.
How does e-Power work? Drive to the wheels – either just the two front ones or all four – is by way of an electric motor (or two, for the four-wheel-drive version) of the power and size typical of today’s pure electric cars. The motor is powered by a high-output lithium-ion battery, likely to be larger than a mild hybrid’s battery but far smaller (and lighter) than that of a car powered solely by batteries.
That is possible because rather than having to be plugged in, charging up occurs automatically onboard thanks to a generator that’s driven by the petrol motor. This motor only cuts in as and when needed and automatically runs at optimum rpm for best efficiency.