Nissan Reveals e-POWER, Electric Motor Powered Hybrid That Could Foreshadow Future PHEV

NOV 1 2016 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 60

Nissan has revealed details on its first-ever car powered solely by an electric motor but replenished by a petrol engine, which the company calls e-Power.

Nissan says this of the new drive system:

e-Power Logo

e-Power Logo

e-POWER borrows from the EV technology perfected in the Nissan LEAF…Unlike the LEAF, e-POWER adds a small gasoline engine to charge the high-output battery when necessary, eliminating the need for an external charger while offering the same high-output.”

While today’s introduction of the tech doesn’t include a plug-in application, it foreshadows that Nissan is closing in on that business, as the system looks designed to easily accommodate a plug for larger class vehicles.

The graphic below attempts to show us how Nissan’s e-Power system works as compared to an all-electric vehicle like the LEAF, or a conventional hybrid such as the Toyota Prius.

e-Power

e-Power

Basically, its is a simplification of plug-in hybrid solution found in the BMW i3 REx.

History tells us that are performance trade-offs without having direct assistance to the drivetrain from the petrol engine when the car operates at higher speeds, or when the battery is very low; but on the other side of the coin, the simplification of the system leads to (potentially) to a much lower cost.

And here’s a look at the actual system:

e-Power

e-Power

Nissan included this basic “infographic” in its release:

e-Power Infographic

e-Power Infographic

From the press release, Nissan describes the technology behind the system like this:

“The e-POWER system features 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 gasoline engine, power generator, inverter, and a motor. In conventional hybrid systems, a low-output electric motor is mated to a gasoline engine to drive the wheels when the battery is low (or when traveling at high speeds). However, in the e-POWER system, the gasoline 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 cracked the code and learned how to minimize and reduce weight, develop more responsive motor control methods and optimize energy management. As a result, e-POWER uses a smaller battery than the LEAF, but delivers the same driving experience as a full EV.”

Given the amount of images, graphics, etc. contained in Nissan’s e-Power release, this is clearly a BIG deal to the automaker, and likely signals a new direction it will often take going forward, as traditional hybrid tech has long been a weak spot for the company.

Though the Note e-Power is shown, there’s been no official word from Nissan regarding the release of this vehicle (or any other e-Power vehicles), but we expect such announcements will come soon enough.

Some additional details are available in the press release below.

Nissan Note e-Power

Nissan Note e-Power

Nissan introduces new electric-motor drivetrain: e-POWER
November 2, 2016

Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., today introduced its new drive system called e-POWER to customers. It marks the first time that e-POWER technology is available for consumers, marking a significant milestone in the electrification strategy under Nissan Intelligent Mobility.

e-POWER borrows from the EV technology perfected in the Nissan LEAF, the best-selling pure electric car in history, with more than 250,000 units sold. Unlike the LEAF, e-POWER adds a small gasoline engine to charge the high-output battery when necessary, eliminating the need for an external charger while offering the same high-output.

The Technology of e-POWER

The e-POWER system features 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 gasoline engine, power generator, inverter, and a motor. In conventional hybrid systems, a low-output electric motor is mated to a gasoline engine to drive the wheels when the battery is low (or when traveling at high speeds). However, in the e-POWER system, the gasoline 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 cracked the code and learned how to minimize and reduce weight, develop more responsive motor control methods and optimize energy management. As a result, e-POWER uses a smaller battery than the LEAF, but delivers the same driving experience as a full EV.

The Benefits of e-POWER

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-the-town commutes. The e-POWER system allows you to enjoy all the benefits of an EV without having to worry about charging the battery.

Development History

Nissan is actively pursuing a zero-emission, zero-fatality world for driving through its EV program and autonomous drive technology. To make this vision a reality, Nissan is developing “Nissan Intelligent Mobility,” which anchors critical company decisions around how cars are powered, how cars are driven, and how cars integrate into society, all while staying focused on creating more enjoyable driving experiences. e-POWER is another step towards achieving our zero-emission vision through a new and more efficient electric powertrain.

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 but one example of that quest and will strengthen Nissan’s lineup of electric-powered powertrains. Nissan is also conducting research and development of the SOFC (Solid Oxide Fuel Cell) fuel-cell vehicle, and will continue to introduce innovative new products into various areas and promote the worldwide use of EVs.

Categories: Nissan

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

60 Comments on "Nissan Reveals e-POWER, Electric Motor Powered Hybrid That Could Foreshadow Future PHEV"

newest oldest most voted

Great. More BS hybrid types to clog up the charging spots. Way to feed into the range hysteria Nissan. Now folks can still burn gas everyday because the twice a year trip to grandmas is just too far.

Honestly this reads as “we couldn’t figure out a long range EV to compete with Bolt/Tesla so we punted and strapped a generator to the car.

So disappointed.

Also note: no mention or depictions of any way to charge the battery other than the engine.

I think Nissan just invented the Prius.

Hey, this is NOT a plug-in car, just a series hybrid, a BMW i3 REx without the plug!

Well, if there’s no way to charge it how will it be plugging up your charging spots?

Well this is simpler and a more inexpensive design. So until we see the acceleration numbers and MPG numbers, let’s not be so critical. Maybe it’s Nissan’s transition to partially electrify all their vehicles including pickups. After all, aren’t locomotives pure serial drivetrains? So perhaps this engine is much more powerful and possibly more efficient than the little 2 cyl i3 unit.The upside is this could have a huge aux power outlet to quietly power your house or remote construction sites, lol.

Digging deeper, the car’s ICE REx is a 1.2 liter four cylinder engine, so it’s markedly more powerful than the i3’s ICE REx.

This car has a ~1.2kWh battery, but no charging plug. This car is the perfect gateway drug for the general populace to get used to driving an electric car, without having to plug in.

This is a brilliant move in my opinion, because if it’s inexpensive enough (and early reports from Japan imply it will be), Wal-Marters will buy this car. That is HUGE. Most Wal-Marters won’t even look at an electric car.

Early numbers from Japan (most likely on the very lenient JC08 test cycle) are showing the car will get ~85 MPG, meaning around 60 MPG on the US test cycle. Ain’t too bad.

If Nissan can keep the price down, the Toyota and its Prius might be in trouble.

Nissan should precisely state the gasoline engine consumption per 100 km. Toyota is now selling its Yaris more than mild hybrid for which they claim the engine consumption would be 3,3 lit/100 km. Real world tests though have shown actual consumption to be like 4,5 lit/100 km. If Nissan is about to offer anything similar to Toyota, then we can only say good bye and good night.

So they copied the Volt, but made it less efficient when the engine is running, similar to the i3 Rex but perhaps with more power than the i3 Rex offers.

Sounds like a nice head nod to Chevy that the Volt concept makes a lot of sense. 😉

EDIT: Wow, I missed that this doesn’t have a plug at all. What a bummer.

“Hey, here’s all the instant torque and smooth driving of an EV, but without any of the typical cost savings on operation and maintenance”

I’m dumbfounded that this came from Nissan.

CC I don’t even see this as remotely comparable to the VOLT… You’re usually the first to chime in so I’d think you’d be writing these paragraphs:

This concept car is very much like a semi -modern train. I worded it that way since the most modern propulsion systems use a direct cycloconverter for less loss.

Not sure if there is a gearbox connected to the motor, but its no way as efficient as either generation VOLT, in that the engine can directly run the wheels when the battery is depleted, and runs quite efficiently in all modes, especially GEN 2. At this rather late date the car seems just too old-fashioned. Perhaps its a way to use their crappy deteriorating batteries to at least do SOME good. The volt is also superior in all versions in that there is little wear on the gears, and no wear on the clutches.

Yeah, you’re right on Bill.

When I said “copied the Volt” I was only focusing on the “extended range” aspect. That part was surprising (dare I say, “shocking”) to me given how much they’ve touted “all electric” and taunted extended-range vehicles, like their commercials teasing the Volt for having a gas engine.

Aside from the “range-extended” aspect of copying, in all other respects, it’s far less efficient than a Volt, and far less advanced than a Volt, not to mention it has no plug whatsoever. 🙂

Frankly, it sounds like step backwards compared to more sophisticated and efficient scheme on the right, as used in conventional hybrids, and in some plugins like Prius Prime too.
Mpg in gas extender mode suffers from extra conversion chain going all the way through the battery, inverter, and electric motor getting it back to mechanical energy.

Not really because you always want the gas engine to work at optimal efficiency. Connecting it to the drive wheel means compromising that. If the gas engine only generates electricity it can do so at a constant speed at optimal revs until the battery is full enough at which point you turn it off.

” Connecting it to the drive wheel means compromising that.”

Prius Prime will be the most efficient vehicle in the US.

http://www.hybridcars.com/2017-prius-prime-offers-industrys-best-mpge-and-25-miles-electric-range/

Not quite so. The Prime will be the most efficient plug-in in a EV mode. Once the charge in the battery is gone is going to burn gasoline. So the combined gasoline/electricity or hybrid/EV is what matters. The EPA has not published this rating yet.

Due to its short all-electric range, almost all pure electrics will beat the Prime, and I bet the i3 REx too. I just wonder if it will surpass the Volt’ S combined hybrid/EV rating.

Prime in hybrid mode easily beats i3rex on gas.

Prime will also offer a Charge mode on gas that will build up battery charge while also propelling vehicle. Even in that dual mode, early reports have it in the mid-40’s. With current fuel prices, that can be cheaper than plugging in at commercial charging stations.

EMC2 : Prius Prime will ALSO be very efficient using gasoline: 52 mpg.

The engine has an unheard of (in a mobile vehicle) 40% efficiency. (I’d say the TD word, but it is always used wrongly on these pages).

Even the uninitiated can see this is unbelievable for such a huge car. Quite obviously, the engine only runs when in its ‘sweet spot’ as when those of us who say the engine is DIRECTLY connected to the wheels, we mean the engine turning force is coupled through low loss gearing and clutches, in a variable reduction scheme which allows the sweet-spot operation over a wide range.

Not even sure what to say…
So, this has a larger battery and electric motor than a traditional hybrid, yet does not have a plug?

I get that the driving experience with be EV-like, but probably more expensive than a typical hybrid and certainly less efficient than a PHEV or BEV.

On my first read, I totally missed the quick, one-time mention that it doesn’t plug in. WOW! you get all the cons of traditional ICE vehicle (higher maintenance due to constant running, weekly visits to the gas station, more complexity, weight, etc) in an “EV”. Awesome.

In fact they reinvent the BMW i3 but in the process they ditch the plug. That’s stupid. It is even more so because it could have been an i3 with 4 proper doors.

Yeah, I don’t get it. I thought that traditional hybrids sort have found the sweet spot in battery size to where it captures pretty much all of the wasted energy from braking. The regular 2016 Prius already uses a 1.3 kWh battery. I remember when we had a hybrid there were times when the battery was reading full but not for long. It would typically bounce up toward full and back down again after acceleration.

Sans coasting down a mountain what other situations would allow a bigger battery like this without a plug to charge up enough to even use?

Ah, I missed that the engine just continues to recharge the battery. That can’t be as efficient as a parallel hybrid. There is a reason that the Volt was later designed to have the engine directly assist at higher highway speeds.

Well it could be if they had used a direct free piston generator instead of that crank and shaft conventional system.

The ICE will be there in the conventional FWD setup so it should be used to help propel the car too like most other efficient HEV or PHEV designs and not have the cons of a pure serial hybrid like the i3Rex (underpowered, provides no heat, etc).

The cons are there by design.

The cons are there by inefficient design.

FTFY

I agree. A series hybrid design gives you freedoms and flexibility at the expense of efficiency. You have freedom to package components, you have freedom to use engineer tech that’s not good for direct drive. Nissan didn’t take any advantage of those freedoms and gave the efficency away to just save on engineering.

Hybrids will be irrelevant soon, the range extender will be the long range batteries and autonomous fleets will go with cost effective BEVs… individuals as well.

***mod edit (staff)***
Just as a heads-up, we pulled the last sentence note/moved down a touch. Nothing at all wrong with it RexxSee, but just wanted to avoid an unintentional thread off-topic/hijack from the top slot.
***mod edit***

This is actually the only proper way to do a Hybrid. Hope that there will be a plug-in with a larger battery

The Volt was supposed to be a series-hybrid at first, we’ll see if Nissan decided to go with the best hybrid system and unlike BMW, DO IT RIGHT!

So it’s a plain series hybrid? What’s new about that?

Thinking about this some more, previous Nissan hybrids have sucked…..badly. So instead of trying to take on the Prius (and others) yet again, Nissan is trying to leverage their battery tech experience and LEAF hubris with a serial design.

OK, I get it. Now, just offer an additional plug-in/larger battery option/model similar to BMW offering the Rex and I’ll be fine with it.

Well it shows us that Nissan like the other established ICE car makers are not serious about going green and clean. And it shows us that the Leaf was only an attempt to lure us believing in a fake EV turn.

The number sold of “the best selling EV in the world” is a tiny fraction of the potential market, really.

Building hybrids after having the edge with a BEV is clearly a regression.

Exactly, and this is why people are willing to pay a premium for Tesla. Nobody else is at all serious about EV’s. It’s all ICE-Vs and compliance experiments.

They’re all going to be in a pickle in about 5 years when they realize that not having built a supply chain for viable batteries and not having a few years of true EV experience is costing them their existance.

Nothing new here…Nissan is going backwards, fossil fuel industry is happy.

It is probably the Swan song of oil before its final disappearance.

The “pure” BEV Jihadists are out in force in the comment section.

What makes more sense for most people (commuting every day etc.)?

– Lugging around a huge car and battery such as a Tesla ModelS 90 or 100?

– Driving 90+% of the time in pure EV mode in a lighter car and having the ICE as backup (also a simpler construction because it doesn’t need to power the wheels directly)?

PS: It amazes me that Maadza ist not selling this approach using a Wankel engine (very eifficient at optimum rpm), they did some tests back in 2014:

http://www.autoblog.com/2014/07/10/mazda-mazda2-phev-rotary-engine-range-extender/

Hope they will market this approach one day.

Simpler construction? What is simpler than motor, inverter, battery (ev) or motor, inverter, battery, power generator, motor (hybrid)?

How many many cylinders and what is the engine displacement? The ICE part looks small!

Pausing the video @ :32, it looks like a 2 cylinder.

Guys! Do you honestly think that recharge infrastucture is ready to sustain a large installed base of EV?

Thei solution makes sense (like the Volt did) for people that cannot plug-in anywhere.
The gas motor is used for its best role: a generator.
They say they save space without the batteries but we have no clue on the size of teh generator and its tank; the latter being critical for the range of the vehicle.

If they manage to get a car below $25000 with a range on a par with the Bolt and so on then they might get a good footprint to fight against them until they figure out how to commercialize a true EV.

“Do you think the infrastructure is ready for evs?”.

I sure do – and its been fine forever including the last 5 years.

Cars like the VOLT, the new VOLVO’s, Ford Energi’s, Smart EDs, Nissan Leafs, and the Teslas can be mostly charged at home on existing home infrastructure.

The GM products especially so: Even the 200-300 mile BOLT can be charged at under a 1kw standard rate.

With the defacto banning of commodity light bulbs in the States, The EV’s charging at this rate will use less electricity than the CFS’s or LED’s save. And if they are charged over the midnight period as utilities desire, they will provide a beneficial minimum load to (otherwise) grieving central stations.

So they made an EV running on gas… I DON’T WANT TO USE GAS OR DIESEL OR ANYTHING ELSE IN MY CAR THAT CAUSES TOXIC GAS LEAVING THE CAR’S TAIL PIPE AND SENDS HUGE AMOUNTS OF MONEY TO THE MIDDLE EAST FOR WAGING WAR!
So.. they took the totally wrong direction.

The ICE is not a backup here. The ICE powers the car, it does not plug in. The only clean miles will come of regenerative braking, like a Prius. The difference with Prius is the fact that the ICE doesn’t turn the wheels. So much simpeler drive train seems possible. Also the electric motor will be stronger, so that will probably add to low speed nippyness of the car.

Questions:

What is the fuel consumption?
How “quiet” is the engine?
Is it suitable for (long) highway driving?

I would think it will definitely make noise. I’ve owned a gen 1 volt and now have a gen 2 Volt and while running with the genset you can hear the engine under varying acceleration particularly in city driving.

In fact there is a odd disconnect between the variable revving of the engine and how you are accelerating.

It’s definitely not my favorite thing about the Volt but I hear it so infrequently because when I do have to use gas it is usually cruising on the highway where it is almost undetectable at highway speed with highway noise. The battery pack is more than enough that I very rarely have to use it around town where it is noticeable.

The problem with this design is that this is the configuration at all times whether at highway or city speeds. There will always be this disconnect of sound and acceleration which can give you a sense that there is a lag between what your foot is doing on the accelerator and what the engine is doing. I wouldn’t want that 100% of the time.

While BEVs are the better performing product, a REV at a lower price is a better performing product than an ICEV, and likely makes better financial sense for Nissan than offering a BEV with a large battery at lower price levels. A high-volume model like the Note, being sold without the established buyer expectation that being able to refuel on the road is as reliable as doing so in an ICEV, is probably a recipe for losing market share. While Nissan seems to be doing more than some competitors at supporting EV refueling infrastructure build-out, the saying is “build it and they will come,” not “they’ll buy a better product and figure out on their own how to use it.” The video above states that this is an attempt to provide a gateway to electric cars. Depending on price and other marketing decisions not yet revealed, I suspect Nissan could have a market winner here. They’ll then suffer well any insideevs.com misunderstanding or discontent!

If this turns out cheaper and more efficient than traditional hybrids then I’m all for it. I live in an NYC apartment building, with no way to charge an EV at home, and not many public charging stations. This Nissan might be a good solution for the next 5-10 years while EV infrastructure is being built out.

I don’t see how it will be cheaper than a comparable BEV. The hybrid will need a power generator and motor in addition to inverter, battery, motor configuration.

I can see the benefits of this design vs. a traditional ICE vehicle.

1. All the benefits of an electric powered vehicle. (instant torque, smooth acceleration, regen braking, etc).

2. Since the engine only powers the generator and not the 2000+lb car, there is less stress on the ICE components. this means less maintenance or longer periods between maintenance.

3. There is no transmission. Enough said.

4. Heat generated from the engine can warm up the cabin.

5. Can operate instantly in extreme cold weather – instead of waiting for the battery to thaw out. (that’s if they can bypass the battery).

If this is the future of all of Nissan’s ICE cars, I think it is very good and smart step because it would make electrifying their entire lineup that much easier when the time comes.

I’m actually surprised that commercial 18-wheeled trucks don’t use this method of propulsion already. It just makes sense since locomotives have been doing this forever.

But it is even more bizarre to use a crank and shaft system as generator instead of a direct free piston generator.

I somehow missed this article yesterday!

I agree with many that this is not a great step for Nissan… maybe 15 years ago, but not now.

Unless there is a simultaneous announcement of an all new 200-mile Leaf, and a gradual “e-power” hybridization of the rest of it’s lineup. If the efficiency gains are significant enough then I guess it’s better than nothing?

But if they were going to electrify all of their vehicles, the BMW route of a 15-20 mi plug in option seems far better than this.

It was posted today, but then “bumped down” to look like it was posted yesterday. I think the author is debating some details of the article? Not sure.

Indeed it was, moved it ‘off the top’ by 7-8 stories. Purely selfish reasons too.

It generated ~40 comments inside the first hour…and a clean 20 of them had to be moderated/deleted for varying degrees of offensive language, lol.

/didn’t want to spend my day nanny-ing the thread

It was either that, or just shut comments down completely, but figured that was a worse option for people who did want to discuss it – less ‘nuclear’ to move off the top of the story pile as a lot let people scroll down more than a handful of stories (although still a fair amount of moderating has been done since, lol)

Yikes! Understandable then.

I’m surprised anyone got that worked up about this rather insignificant announcement from Nissan.

Well, we never report of plain hybrids or “clean” tech petrol systems = all plug-ins, all the time.

But we put this one out only because the jump application of the system to be a PHEV in the future is an easy one – and often rumored, figured it was best to have at least something in the archive on it. However, in hindsight, maybe not…lesson learned, (=

Thanks for the insight Jay. I can only imagine the nannying that must go on from time to time, LOL.

Since I am a number cruncher geek, I couldn’t help but noticing that the press release says Nissan has sold over 250,000 Leafs globally. I think the 250K figure is wrong (overestimated), instead it must be Nissan global sales of electric vehicles (Leaf + e-NV200 vans). Last September the Alliance reported global sales of 250K Nissan EVs: http://blog.alliance-renault-nissan.com/content/renault-nissan-alliance-hits-milestone-350000-electric-vehicles-sold-maintains-position-glob In addition, two reliable sources reported recently cum global sales of the Nissan Leaf totaling 239/240K through September: 240K here: http://ev-sales.blogspot.com.br/2016/11/five-years-agoseptember-2011.html 239K here: http://www.hybridcars.com/nissan-leaf-second-plug-in-ever-to-sell-100000-in-us/ And finally, if you add up sales by country/region through September you come up with a figure lower than 250K and closer do 240K: US: 98,929 (100K @ October) as per the Sales Scorecard Japan: ~ 69,833 @ Sept – reported by Inside EVs Europe: ~ 63,000 @ Sept http://www.hybridcars.com/nissan-leaf-second-plug-in-ever-to-sell-100000-in-us/ Canada: 4,238 @ Sept http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2011/01/nissan-leaf-sales-figures.html Total main markets = 236,000 Therefore, adding other minor markets, the 239K/240K checks, of course, unless Nissan sold 10,000 Leafs in October, which seems very unlikely, as recently has been reporting global sales of about 3,000 per month, and figures for the U.S. for October totaled just 1,412 units. Is Nissan inflating the sales figures for marketing purposes? Or just an innocent mistake?… Read more »

Aren’t they worried about this causing the dreaded Osborne effect?
Maybe it is the car we have been mistakenly calling “Leaf 2.0”

YouTube for electrified journey Japan, he been test driving one already I think