Nissan has introduced its new drive system called ‘e-POWER’ to customers. Nissan states that the move marks ‘a significant milestone in the electrification strategy under Nissan Intelligent Mobility’.
e-POWER draws on the EV technology created for the Leaf. Unlike application in the all-electric Leaf, however, e-POWER adds a small IC engine to charge the high-output battery when necessary, eliminating the need for an external charger.
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 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.
Nissan claims that this system structure generally requires a bigger motor and battery because the motor is the only direct source to drive wheels, making it rare in small car applications until now.
Benefits to the e-POWER system include the instant delivery of large reserves of torque and quiet system operation. Nissan also states that because the system relies on the engine much less frequently, its fuel efficiency is comparable to that of leading conventional hybrids, ‘especially during around-the-town commutes’.