High demand for its ePower system in Japan has left Nissan to conclude it should bring the system to the U.S. Technically an extended-range electric vehicle (EREV) layout, the system enhances fuel economy and acceleration, leaving Nissan Note customers delighted in Japan.
Nissan hopes that delight will translate to the U.S. as well, but it probably will not be on the subcompact Note here in the U.S. Automotive News spoke with Nissan’s chief planning officer Philippe Klein last week, who confirmed the ePower system would find its way to U.S. products. Klein declined to confirm which U.S. products would get the electrification treatment, but eluded that it would be higher-end models capable of absorbing the added costs of ePower.
At least some models have been confirmed, though. Last week, Klein’s boss, Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa, confirmed plans to utilize the ePower system in upcoming Infiniti products. Saikawa went so far as to confirm that all Infiniti products that launch beyond 2021 will be electrified by ePower or be full battery-electric vehicles.
Nissan first launched ePower in its home market back in 2016. The 2017 Note is the first full-year of ePower and has seen a take-rate of 65 percent, according to Nissan. Owners are appreciating its quick acceleration just as much as the fuel economy, leaving the Note as a more high-end offering than it has been historically.
The ePower system is basically a range extender. An electric motor is constantly propelling the axle, while the on-board gas engine is there simply to charge the battery. Think of ePower as Nissan’s version of the Chevrolet Volt’s powertrain technology, with some minor variances.
In Japan, the Note ePower offers 77 mpg, but Japan’s testing process does not directly translate to the EPA’s in the U.S.
Neither executive offered any kind of timeline as to when ePower will arrive to its U.S. vehicles. Given Nissan’s affinity for SUVs these days, it seems like one of its crossovers would be a logical pick for ePower treatment.