Nissan Brings Back ICE Generator for Europe with Qashqai

Nissan’s third generation Qashqai compact SUV will be the first ICE generator powered electric powertrain in Europe since General Motors pulled the plug on the Vauxhall/Opel Ampera in 2015.

The automaker has brought its e-POWER system to the continent following its sales success in Japan and is conducting the final road tests on European highways of the Qashqai due in the showrooms next year. The e-POWER system uses a gasoline engine as a power generator while the wheels are completely driven by the electric motor. It is comprised of a high-output battery and the powertrain which is integrated with gasoline engine, power generator, inverter and a motor. Similar generator systems have been used before notably in the first models of the Vauxhall Ampera in Europe or Chevrolet Volt in the US.

General Motors ended production of the Volt last year as sales of its all-electric Bolt began to rise. It seems Nissan is gambling on BEV take-up being more sporadic than many anticipate and sees its e-POWER hybrid being in a position to mop-up near-term European sales before ICE is banned altogether.

There will also be a more traditional option of a mild hybrid 1.3-liter gasoline system. This gasoline powerplant will be available in two power outputs although we will have to wait for full specifications and claimed economy and emissions until after the road trials are completed.

However, the automaker says the gasoline engine has been extensively updated to include a mild hybrid system. The 12v system incorporates a separate lithium battery installation mounted under the floor and belt driven generator to harvest braking energy.

Another technology highlight is the latest generation ProPILOT now with Navi-link. The system can also use data from the navigation system to adjust the speed for approaching curves or exit ramps that have a tighter radius. Further, it can now communicate with the Qashqai’s blind-spot radars to help intervene with a steering input correction to help prevent a lane-change manoeuver if there is a vehicle in the blind-spot zone.

Gianluca de Ficchy, chairman, Nissan Africa, Middle East, India, Europe and Oceania (AMIEO) region, said: “The new Qashqai is going to change what customers can expect from a family car. Comfort, refinement and technology will be from higher categories of car, while the driving experience will satisfy drivers and passengers alike. With Nissan’s bold e-POWER technology, we feel that customers will fall in love with the feeling of an electric powertrain, without the range concerns.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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