Nissan has just launched its Note e-Power model, a "series hybrid" car that the company hopes will serve as a gateway model for car owners who are thinking of making the shift to an electric car. The car will have the combined power of an electric motor and a 1.2-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine.
How The Note e-Power Works
The Note e-Power is a "series hybrid," which means that it identifies as an EV because its front wheels run on an electric motor. However, this car also has a gasoline engine to power its batteries, which in turn powers up the electric motor.
What makes the vehicle markedly different from other hybrids is that it has no plug-in port, unlike other plug-in hybrids such as the Volt and Prius Prime.
There is not much to charge in this hybrid vehicle anyway, since its battery pack is significantly smaller than that of the Leaf. As a result, the battery doesn't show up on the car's interiors because it is hidden underneath the front seats.
Why Nissan Is Venturing Into The Hybrid Market With The Note e-Power
This is a reversal of sorts for the Japanese automaker. Nissan is known for developing and manufacturing the Leaf, which is the first mass-market, all-electric family hatchback launched in 2010. With the Leaf, the company was planning to skip the gasoline-hybrid technology in favor of battery-powered cars that did not produce emissions. But although the Leaf was one of the industry's top-selling electric vehicles in 2016, its sales were not able to fulfill the company's targets.
Nissan is currently trailing behind Toyota when it comes to manufacturing hybrids, thanks to the launch of Toyota Prius in 1997. Toyota has sold more than 9 million hybrid units.
Nissan Hopes That The Note e-Power Will Convince Skeptics
There are car owners who have not been won over by the hype surrounding electric cars. Nissan hopes that the "near-electric" Note e-Power will convince these people to finally make the jump into the EV space.
Hideyuki Sakamoto, a Nissan executive admitted that "EVs remain expensive compared with conventional gasoline vehicles, while there's also an ongoing assumption that EVs aren't suited to traveling long ranges."
The Note e-Power is available only in Japan because this car has been specifically designed for this country's urban driving habits. However, there is always the possibility that the Note e-Power will be coming into other markets if it proves to be successful in convincing people to foray into the electric vehicle space.