Switching to an all-electric vehicle can be a big decision and one that some drivers aren’t ready to make. Thankfully, Nissan’s e-POWER technology is here as a stepping stone, providing a smooth, EV-like driving experience along with improved fuel efficiency. – but in a way that makes running less complicated than any combustion or hybrid vehicle. Plus, with the arrival of the new Nissan qashqai e-POWER, this technology is available in a very practical and easy to use package.
How it works?
Before diving into the driving experience of the new Nissan Qashqai e-POWER, we should take a look at the salient characteristics of its powertrain. At its core is the ‘VC-Turbo engine’, which operates in a completely different way from a conventional petrol engine.
‘VC’ stands for ‘compressed variable’. Instead of coupling its pistons to the crankshaft using rods, the VC engine uses a sophisticated engine-activated multi-link system. This makes it possible to change what is known as the top dead center (TDC) and bottom dead center (BDC) positions of the pistons, thus continuously varying the compression ratio from 8:1 (load). high) to 14:1 (low load).
This delivers as much power as the driver requires, bringing the engine into a higher compression ratio and efficient when they don’t, with the engine applying a lower compression ratio in such situations. Further highlighting the innovative nature of the e-POWER, it should be noted that this intelligent motor was never directly driven by the wheels.
Instead, the VC-Turbo acts like a generator, keeping the 1.97kWh battery pack fully charged. This battery is also powered to recover when braking, which would otherwise go to waste. The package features a 188bhp, 250Nm engine powering the front wheels.
e-POWER comes to Japan market for the first time Nissan Note in 2016, proved to be hugely popular, with the car soon topping the country’s sales charts. The Qashqai e-POWER takes an evolution of this concept, combining a larger engine and battery while continuing its development in the UK, at the European Nissan Technical Center in Cranfield.
How does it drive?
Since it is the engine that provides forward thrust and not the engine, the Qashqai e-POWER delivers impressively smooth acceleration. It can get to your required speed quickly and with minimal fuss, completing the 0-62mph sprint in just 7.9 seconds.
The lack of a traditional transmission greatly reduces cabin vibrations and, with the E-Pedal Step feature activated, it is possible to drive mainly with the gas pedal alone, with regenerative engine braking allowing for up to 0.2g whenever the driver lifts. The Qashqai e-POWER will slow the vehicle down to 6mph, which means simply using the brake pedal to completely stop the vehicle and give greater brake input. As such, you won’t find yourself switching between pedals often.
When the engine needs to start, the transition is subtle enough that you won’t always notice. Meanwhile, under heavier loads, Nissan’s ‘Linear Tune’ calibration ensures engine speeds increase in tandem with road speeds, giving driver and passengers a better sense of connection to the transmission force.
However, most of the time the engine will be idle – when judged by the WLTP emissions mode, the Qashqai e-POWER spent 64% of the test running on electricity alone. This is good news for fuel economy and emissions, with official WLTP figures up to 53.3mpg and CO2 emissions as low as 120g/km. That’s equally good news for Qashqai occupants, who will be treated to the kind of smooth, enjoyable driving often associated with full electric vehicles.
Like other models in the range, the Qashqai benefits from a smooth chassis, capable of handling road imperfections, a well-weighted steering wheel and a calm handling attitude.
The crossover is also well-positioned to handle e-POWER, with multiple aluminum panels saving a significant 60kg, keeping the overall weight low to get the most out of its new powertrain.
It’s your time Discover the benefits of e-POWER for yourself?
 vs Qashqai with light hybrid
 WLTP metrics for Qashqai e-POWER N-Connecta and Tekna level. The WLTP figures shown are for comparison purposes only. Actual real-world driving results may vary depending on factors including weather conditions, driving style, vehicle load, or any accessories fitted after registration.