Nissan is seriously considering of offering the -virtually unknown outside Japan- extended-range hybrid system overseas, bringing the heat to established players, just as it does to its home market.
When the company launched the e-Power powertrain option for the Note hatchback (known as the Versa Note in the U.S.) in November in Japan, no one expected it to be such a sales hit.
The addition of the hybrid option propelled the Note to the top of Japan’s sales chart in January, beating along the Toyota Prius, which is considered to be the golden standard of Japanese hybrids.
“It is a technology that clearly can fit outside Japan in all the key markets,” said Daniele Schillaci, Nissan’s executive vice president in charge of global marketing and sales to AutoNews. “We are thinking about moving forward faster on electrification, not only in pure EVs, but also in this e-Power technology.”
Nissan’s system works in a similar way with that in the Chevrolet Volt. A 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine acts as an electricity generator that charges a lithium-ion battery pack, which in turn feeds an electric motor powering the wheels.
Unlike the Volt though, Nissan’s e-Power system cannot be charged with a plug. Nissan’s e-Power system keeps the petrol engine working continuously at its sweet spot, instead of revving up and down.
The Nissan Note e-Power returns 32.7km/lt (77mpg in our money), which is just shy of the Prius Plug-In Hybrid’s 87.5mpg, when measured by the same (Japan) standard.
There are no details about when Nissan is going to introduce the technology on overseas markets, but expect to hear more about it in the coming months.