The new Nissan Juke is now also equipped with a hybrid powertrain. It is pretty complicated, yet quite simple to operate. Today, we will examine an FHEV (Full Hybrid Electric Vehicle), which is a hybrid that cannot be recharged but can charge a tiny battery by recapturing braking energy. The concept is not new, but Nissan Juke’s technology is.
Up until recently, its main power source was a modest 114-horsepower turbocharged gasoline engine, which appears underpowered for a crossover that weighs almost 1.3 tons. In contrast, the Juke Hybrid employs a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder, normally aspirated gasoline engine with 94 horsepower that was built specifically for hybrid drives and has an ideal working range between 1,000 and 4,000 revolutions per minute. In conjunction with the electric motor, which produces 49 horsepower and 205 Newton-meters of torque, this seems to be an upgrade over the old and still-available device.
The 1.6-liter, four-cylinder, naturally aspirated gasoline engine has 94 horsepower.
The hybridized Nissan Juke always starts up electrically and should be able to go around three to four kilometers on electricity alone with a fully charged battery (1.2 kWh, water-cooled), assuming the sole is not lowered and the speed is less than 55 km/h.
If you surpass this limit or impulsively need a great deal of power, the gasoline engine smoothly engages. It sounds and feels really straightforward from the driver’s seat. However, the hybrid powertrain, which is also included in the Renault Arkana Hybrid, is rather complicated.
Thus, the electric motor and gasoline engine may drive the front axle in tandem, i.e., through a direct transmission link. Another option is serial hybrid operation, in which the combustion engine operates but only as a power source for the electric motor, which assumes control of the vehicle’s propulsion.
The car itself determines which mode is optimal, i.e. the most energy-efficient, based on a number of characteristics, with the mode shift being managed by a so-called multimodal transmission – with four gears for the combustion engine and two stages for the electric motor. The use of claw clutches instead of synchronizer rings is designed to minimize friction.
Regeneration of 15 kW
A 15 kW starting generator revs up the combustion engine so that it may be started fast and at the correct speed when necessary. This does not make things simpler behind the hood, but neither do you notice it. The transition from hybrid to pure electric operation is followed by a distinct click, which may be attributed to the decoupling of the reciprocating engine and is heard due to the abrupt reduction in noise level.
On the display between the two circular instruments behind the steering wheel, in addition to a conventional fuel gauge, the battery charge level is also shown so that the driver may track the current energy flow.
Only the combustion engine or driving with forethought, slowing down in time, and recovering energy may create electricity. Activating the e-pedal makes sense in city traffic since the generator boosts the braking force and recovers up to 15 kW of energy.
Nissan estimates that around 80 percent of urban traffic can be covered solely by electric vehicles. In fact, with a modest driving style, the Juke Hybrid is whisper-quiet, and at low speeds, it emits a warning sound (AVAS) for pedestrians and cyclists via exterior speakers.
However, we are also in the compact vehicle category, where not all components are double or triple insulated. If the power demand is lowered, the gasoline engine is uncoupled from the drive and is instead used to charge the battery.
Even at 80 mph, the system momentarily shifts to EV mode if you maintain your speed on a flat road. Unlike the turbocharged gasoline engine, the more spontaneous reaction is gratifying. Despite this, the Juke Hybrid accelerates to 100 km/h in 10.1 seconds, a little slower than the conventional engine.
With a peak speed of 166 to 180 kilometers per hour, it is even disadvantaged. However, its region is not the Autobahn, and a few steps have been made to enhance aerodynamics, which should have a greater influence here than at city speeds.
4.5 gallons per 100 km
Before we pull into the driveway, let’s examine the onboard computer: 4.5 liters of gasoline per 100 kilometers after roughly 130 kilometers. Unfortunately, it does not indicate how many miles we’ve traveled only on electric power.
The transmission cannot play to its strengths on the highway, since there are few recovery times and continual performance demands. In this instance, the combustion engine operates at a moderate pace, propelling the wheels while also charging the batteries.
After 170 kilometers of driving at a maximum speed of 120 kilometers per hour on the highway, the display indicates an average consumption of 4.9 liters of Super, which nearly conforms to the WLTP figure.
The vehicle reaches 100 km/h in 10.1 seconds.
Compared to the pure combustion engine with an optional dual-clutch gearbox, the hybrid Juke has gained around 70 kilos, which is advantageous on badly surfaced roads, where it absorbs bumps somewhat better and the spring-damper components react with more precision.
Compared to the Juke 1.0 DIG-T, disadvantages include a trunk floor-mounted battery that reduces cargo space by 68 liters and a starting price that is 3,400 euros more for equivalent equipment (N-Connecta).
Juke’s hybrid drivetrain is advantageous. First, since it now starts more readily, and second, because you can drive it with a typical driving style in a city-countryside-highway combination.