With its electronic Qashqai power, Nissan offers an electric car … which must be refueled

With its electronic Qashqai power, Nissan offers an electric car … which must be refueled


Nissan will launch an unprecedented automotive operation in Europe: a 100% electric car but its very small battery is charged directly by the combustion engine. There is no charging door but it is a standard fuel door, with the promise of reducing consumption.

Nissan will come out in the power supply. In total, the Japanese brand affiliated with Renault plans to release 15 new models in Europe by 2030, all with a hybrid or electronic version.

100% electric, hybrid …

Attacks are set to begin this year, in France specifically, with the launch of the Arias crossover. The much-anticipated design, at the time of launch, was hampered by the covid epidemic, which stemmed from a similar platform to Mégane e-Tech, but with a very different external appearance and internal atmosphere.

Three new features in the Nissan electric version in 2022: a non-rechargeable hybrid (“hybrid”) Juke, an electric Qashqai with an oil generator (“e-power”) and a 100% electric SUV Ariya. © Nissan

At Juke, the second generation that was launched in late 2019, a new engine will be released, a non-rechargeable hybrid. The most popular technology in France as it is the “e-tech” versions available on Renault Clio, Captur and most recently Austral, a new SUV that will inherit Kadjar.

… and a new solution: free electricity

But Nissan also comes with a new engine in Europe: 100% electric (only electric motor runs on wheels) but with a heat engine that works like a generator. A technology called e-Power, which was first released in 2017 on the Nissan Note, in Japan alone.

We were able to try out this new version of Qashqai which will be on sale starting this summer, which will be available in the report in our En Route pour Demain program number 36, announced on April 2nd.

The e-power technology combines an electric motor, a sole to drive the front wheels, and a heat engine that will turn on and replace a small battery that cannot be recharged.  Gari "100% electric" (for traction) ... but for a tank that needs to be refilled with no charge socket.
The e-power technology combines an electric motor, a sole to drive the front wheels, and a heat engine that will turn on and replace a small battery that cannot be recharged. A car “100% electric” (by pull) … but with a tank that needs to be filled with oil and no charging socket. © Nissan

As a 100% electric car, the car can be turned on and off at low speeds, in the “zero” mode. But if you speed up too hard, or the electricity just goes out, the engine starts – the gasoline unit with a 3-liter 1.5-cylinder with variable pressure. Connected to a generator, it is the one that generates the electricity necessary for electrical traction. This operation is quite different from hybrid models, where the heat engine can also provide traction, in addition or as an alternative to the electric component.

This original engine is reminiscent of the performance of the BMW i3. A 100% electronic model, with a re-charging door, but temporarily sold in a version with a range extension device (or “REX” for “Range extender”), a small twin cylinder engine that can charge the battery. The 9-liter tank thus adds approximately 150 kilometers of distances.

Except that on the Nissan e-power, there is only a fuel-filled flap, a place to charge. Only the internal combustion engine can recharge the battery. The latter has a very small capacity (2.1 kWh), to function as a buffer to store any electricity generated beyond the requirements of an electric motor. An internal combustion engine connected to a generator can actually “power” an electric motor directly, which can increase the energy stored in the battery for it, with a special need for acceleration, for example.

Electric on the generator, a sensible solution?

The advantage of this technology lies in this small battery, which should reduce the cost of this engine compared to a rechargeable hybrid or 100% electrical systems. Nissan has not yet disclosed the price of its Qashqai electronic power but should not be too far away from the low-cost version of the petrol, currently available in dual power of 140 and 158 horsepower, with a starting price of 30,190 euros.

In turn, the e-power version produces 140 kW (190 power), with electrical drive characteristics, such as the 330 Nm torque obtained from the start. In addition, the extra weight also remains small by about 200 kg compared to the smaller hybrid version.

Results: Consumption consumption was reduced by 20%, or 5.3 liters per 100, versus 6.3, as well as CO2 emissions, which range from 142 to 119 g / km. The estimated independence of Nissan can reach 900 kilometers, much higher than the electric models.

The launch of this engine falls at an inopportune time for Nissan as oil prices have remained at very high levels since the beginning of the year.

But it can nonetheless persuade other drivers, with this promise to reduce consumption and ease of “charging”, as it is enough to fill up with gasoline.