Nissan South Africa recently confirmed to TopAuto that it will be introducing its electrified e-Power drivetrains to the country.
The automaker said it “set the benchmark for electric vehicles (EVs) in South Africa” when it introduced the Leaf in 2013 and that it has “since taken learnings around EV limitations” to inform its strategy going forward.
“As part of our Africa-focused Nissan NEXT strategy and Ambition 2030 objectives, Nissan South Africa will be introducing e-Power, a revolutionary Nissan technology which functions as a bridge to electric vehicles,” said the local arm of Nissan.
“For Nissan, e-Power is an essential part of the practical transition to EVs in Africa as it addresses the immediate needs of the consumer, like infrastructure and range anxiety.”
What is e-Power
According to Nissan, the e-Power system allows you to “enjoy all the benefits of an EV” without the need for plugging into a charger.
The system essentially works as a range-extender hybrid by driving the car’s wheels with an electric motor that is powered by a lithium-ion battery, while a small petrol motor and inverter is used to charge the battery when necessary.
“This eliminates the need for an external charger while offering the same high output as an EV,” said Nissan.
Nissan South Africa did not confirm which e-Power models will land on our shores first or when they will arrive.
Currently, the manufacturer has four of these vehicles in its global catalogue comprising the Kicks and Note crossovers, the Qashqai SUV, and the Serena MPV.
The Note, as the smallest as well as the longest-standing e-Power model, was first revealed in 2016 and debuted the then-new hybrid system to the world.
In 2020, the current-generation Note e-Power was unveiled and launched solely in the Japanese market.
It won Car of the Year for two consecutive years in this region and is available in no fewer than four trim lines, one being a sporty Nismo version.
The Kicks is the second-smallest Nissan e-Power model and it launched in Thailand in early 2020 and in Japan a few months later.
This crossover took home the Technology of the Year award in Japan in that same year, as well as being voted one of the 10 Best Cars of the Year, according to the manufacturer.
The Kicks is exclusively offered with e-Power drivetrains while dimensions of 4,290mm in length, 1,760mm in width, and 1,610mm in height makes it roughly the same size as the VW Taigo.
Local motorists are no strangers to the Qashqai nameplate as the popular mid-size SUV has been on offer since 2012.
The newest iteration of the vehicle made its debut early in 2021 and is the first model that will be sold with e-Power technologies in Europe.
In this application, the Qashqai e-Power sees a 1.5-litre petrol engine acting as a generator for the battery, which in turn powers the electric motors that put out a total of 140kW.
“To meet the typical needs of European consumers and their daily drive, the e-Power system has been significantly upgraded for the new Qashqai with the adoption of Nissan’s world-first variable compression ratio petrol engine as the dedicated electricity generating unit,” said Nissan.
“The result is a compact, high-output electrified system that, thanks also to the high combustion efficiency of the engine, delivers more efficiency.”
While Nissan has not yet confirmed it, we expect the next-generation Qashqai that will launch in South Africa over the coming months will eventually also bring the first e-Power drivetrain to the country.
The Nissan Serena is the only non-SUV that currently boasts the manufacturer’s range-extender hybrid setup, being on sale in Japan since 2018 in no less than four e-Power specifications.
The MPV claims to achieve fuel consumption figures as low as 3.8l/100km while offering powerful acceleration and reduced engine noise compared to its petrol-powered predecessors.
The latter is enhanced by the Manner Mode setting, which further enables the Serena to “drive quietly at night by limiting the use of the gasoline engine that charges the battery.”
The Serena is currently limited to the Japanese market only, being instrumental in the company’s achievement of selling 500,000 e-Power models between November 2016 and April 2021.