Nissan is continuing its dominance in the EV market by adding its latest e-Power drivetrain technology to a new Japanese model, the Note Aura. They call it a premium compact car but it’s effectively a smaller version of the all-electric Nissan Ariya SUV with the latest “series hybrid” technology.
Even though the new Aura Note is an EV, it shouldn’t be confused with a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). It’s officially called a “series hybrid” where it mostly uses electricity but with the addition of burning fossil fuels. Here’s an overview of how the e-Power drivetrain technology works.
What Is A Drivetrain?
Put simply, a drivetrain refers to the various components that deliver power from a vehicle’s engine or motor to the wheels. Regardless of car make and model, a drivetrain affects the mechanical efficiency, fuel consumption and overall purchase price. When it comes to hybrid-electric cars, the design of the drivetrain determines how the electric motor will work with a conventional engine.
- In a series drivetrain, only mechanical power comes from the electric motor run by a battery or a petrol-powered generator
- With parallel drivetrains, the electric motor and internal combustion engine can provide mechanical power simultaneously
- Series or parallel drivetrains enable the engine and electric motor to provide power independently or in conjunction with one another
How Does The Nissan e-Power Drivetrain Work?
The e-Power drivetrain from Nissan is a highly efficient and fascinating piece of automotive engineering. As you’ll find with a normal EV, it operates by mating an electric motor to its wheels and drawing energy from a battery. However, the battery is not charged by plugging it into the power grid as you do with a BEV or a PHEV.
The “series hybrid” technology in the new Aura Note uses a small petrol engine to charge the battery. The e-Power drivetrain offers a fully electric motor drive which means the wheels are completely driven by the electric motor. The system consists of a high-output battery and a powertrain integrated with a petrol engine, power generator, inverter and a motor.
Unlike conventional hybrid systems where an electric motor and a gasoline engine drive the wheels, the e-Power drivetrain is different. In the Note Aura, the gasoline engine is not connected to the wheels and only charges the battery. At the same time, the power source is the engine and not just the battery compared to a fully electrified vehicle.
Efficiency Of The e-Power Drivetrain
Based on the functionality, it’s easy to think that the e-Power drivetrain is a lot like an internal combustion engine but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Firstly, it’s much more efficient than a standard combustion engine while providing some impressive power.
For example, the Aura Note can get 33 km/l (78 miles per gallon) based on JC08 regulations. And, considering it will be a passenger car likely in urban settings, the 134 horsepower and 299 Nm of torque should be more than enough.
Another benefit of the e-Power drivetrain is that the gasoline engine in the Aura Note can also power the electric motor under heavy loads. This means added acceleration and speed when you need it most, especially when overtaking on the highway.
The Future Of Transport With Series Hybrid
Nissan has been developing and perfecting its series hybrid system for several years starting in Japan with the Note in 2016. Since then, they’ve added the e-Power drivetrain technology to the Nissan Serena and the Nissan Kicks. Even the Qashqai has debuted in Europe with an e-Power drivetrain. With China also set on getting e-Powered models, Nissan is certainly looking to go big on the series hybrid.
Not only does the Note Aura have the latest in hybrid technology but it’s also a good looking car. The styling is modern and sleek with a great cabin and plenty of space for its size. Nissan’s e-Power drivetrain is a glimpse into the future of transport and what is possible with today’s technology.
Carmakers, like Nissan, are doing some tremendous work developing completely different and interesting systems to promote electrification and a greener future. It’s this innovative thinking and widespread adoption that will a memorable impact.
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