VShe unpleasant thing about the European automobile is this exclusive all-electric religion that the EU has made for itself. Seen from Japan, where the market of the old continent cannot be neglected, there is however a room for maneuver, admittedly narrow, but allowing those who wish to escape this straitjacket. Nissan has therefore implemented several solutions, inevitably graduated towards all-electric, of which Nissan is a somewhat declining champion due to its age. For twelve years, the Leaf has defended this figure, which is imposed today, rather well, but it has gradually left the “short-list” of buyers.
By presenting its Ambition 2030 program in Madrid, Nissan wanted to showcase the diversity of electrified solutions with six models offering very different variations around the same theme: electric. Because for the Japanese manufacturer, it is no longer possible in the future to make cars without a share of electricity. But not necessarily all. Above all, it does so with originality, without snubbing the positive impulses of drivers while ceasing from 2023 to launch new models with combustion engines alone. In other words, the current ones will be able to last twenty years if necessary… or even make a career outside of Europe.
“We have used our taste for disruption and our expertise in electrification to design a set of electrified drivetrain technologies that meet the needs of our customers, without compromising on pleasure,” says Guillaume Cartier, President of Nissan for the Africa, Middle East, India, Europe and Oceania (AMIEO) region.
No plug-in hybrids
Of its six cars to start this new program, three are hybrids, but none are rechargeable because Nissan does not find them relevant outside of recharges. “Customers are reluctant to plug in and therefore drive an unnecessarily heavy car on the sole thermal resource and the price of these models is excessive” says François Bailly, the planning director.
Instead, Nissan is rolling out two technologies, one for the Juke-turned-single-hybrid that takes over the e-Tech system seen on the Renault Captur hybrid. And another, the e-Power, for the Qashqai and the next X-Trail which are “electrics that do not recharge”, according to Nissan’s expression. On the Qashqai, which we will discuss later, the electric motor providing 190 hp drives the drive wheels directly.
It draws its energy from a heat engine which therefore serves as a generator and runs in a narrower range of speeds, favorable to low consumption. The batteries ? There is none or just a small 1.8 kWh which recovers on braking and provides additional torque on the next acceleration.
The electrification of purchasing power
This way of doing e-Power is more suited to the purchasing power of consumers who will save expensive batteries here. It remains for Europe to define a more sustainable regulatory framework, going beyond the 2035 deadline, which would like to see only all-electric vehicles while hybrids cannot be reduced to the rank of thermal vehicles.
Specifically, Nissan wants to make e-Power a transition solution to all-electric, more sustainable and progressive in order to erase the cleaver effects of overly directive regulations. This does not preclude making efforts on all-electric, quite the contrary, since Nissan is finally ending the monoculture of its Leaf to surround the largely renovated founding model with a small urban utility and a crossover already presented here, the promising Ariya.
Nissan Ariya: the electric SUV with variable power
We will tell you what a first run has revealed as lessons on a vehicle which is finally a real novelty in the Japanese range. It will be marketed in May with a particularity that will affect all electric Nissans: they abandon the CHAdeMO socket to switch to the Combo CCS which has become the most widespread socket.