Nissan continues to expand electrification of its vehicles, introducing its innovative e-POWER system to new models. Following the introduction of the electrified powertrain in the Nissan Note in Japan in 2016, the second model to get it is the latest Serena MPV model in the domestic market.
With e-POWER, the Serena gains not only stronger acceleration with the electric motor drive but the driver also enjoys more convenience as accelerating or decelerating can be done by using only the accelerator pedal.
The e-POWER system (shown above) 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, power generator, inverter, and a motor. In conventional hybrid systems, a low-output electric motor is mated to the engine to drive the wheels when the battery is low (or when traveling at high speeds). This system structure generally requires a bigger motor and battery because the motor is the only direct source to drive wheels.
However, Nissan engineers have been able to minimize and reduce weight, develop more responsive motor control methods and optimize energy management. In the e-POWER system, the 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 is what is known as the ‘range extender’ concept that uses the engine output in a different way.
The e-POWER system borrows from the EV technology perfected in the LEAF EV, now the best-selling pure electric car in history. Unlike the LEAF, however, an external charger is not required since the engine will continuously recharge the laminated-type lithium-ion battery pack. This is an important feature which will appeal to many motorists as it means that they can go long distances.
Because of the primary use of the electric motor, the e-POWER system delivers maximum 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 said to be comparable to that of leading conventional hybrids, especially during around-the-town commutes.
With optimized engine management and noise reduction measures throughout the vehicle body, the new Serena e-POWER is said to exceptionally quiet as well. Combined with the more aerodynamic body shape of the latest generation, the e-POWER system enables the MPV to travel up to 26.2 kms/litre (using Japanese industry test standards).
Besides e-POWER, which is a major technological update, for the model which was added to the Nissan range in 1991, there is also Manner Mode, which enables the vehicle to travel quietly at night by limiting the use of the petrol engine that charges the battery.
Nissan plans to launch more e-POWER models globally as part of its Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision for changing how cars are powered, driven and integrated into society.