How much is the first electric SUV worth that we don’t recharge?

Despite a large Altima HSD (4.84m) for the US market in 2007 or a small Note e-Power in Japan, Nissan has not gone hybrid in Europe. finally turns with three launches in 2022 under the e-Power label via upgrades to the Juke and qashqai then, in the fall, an unprecedented 7-seater X-trail SUV. If the Juke e-Power resumes the successful E-Tech technology of the Renault Captur, the Qashqai e-Power innovates and is committed to using its gasoline engine to produce electricity and not to drive the wheels. On paper, it is the risk of accumulating performance losses. But the e-Power promises the instantaneous acceleration of a 100% electric and the fluidity typical of this type of propulsion. All this without refueling electricity, unlike a rechargeable hybrid, although it is necessary, in all cases, to go to the pump (55 l tank).

For this “electric” Qashqai, Nissan thus charges an unprecedented 158 hp three-cylinder turbo with variable compression ratio to provide, by activating a generator, the necessary current for the propulsion electric motor, which, in turn, reaches 190 hp.. This innovative thermal block operates most of the time in a steady state adapted to the power demand. Knowing that a small Lithium-Ion battery (1.8 kWh useful) recovers energy when braking and replenishes it to complement the generator when accelerating. Here, unlike a Toyota RAV4 or the next Renault Austral, thermal and electric therefore never work in parallel but rather independently. Nothing innovative about this technology that BMW used to with little i3 REX from 2012 but a true rarity since Nissan and soon Mazda are still the only ones to use it today. For the Qashqai it will be a way of fighting against Toyota CH-R (4.39m) or RAV4 (4.60m), ford kuga hybrid and Renault Arkana E-Tech.

A priori comfort preserved

The thermal engine of the Nissan Qashqai e-Power never moves the wheels...
The thermal engine of the Nissan Qashqai e-Power never moves the wheels…©Nissan

For this first start-up of this “electric that we do not recharge” as presented by Nissan, a route was shown simulating current traffic (stop, roundabout, 45° intersection, etc.) on the Jarama circuit, not far from Madrid . That it is close to the normal conditions of use of a family SUV but not that it pronounces on the comfort since the distribution is smooth as a pool table. The work of reinforcing the suspensions (combined and springs) and stabilizer bars is pending to counteract the additional 200 kilos related to e-Power technology do not seem to have radicalized Nissan’s SUVs. It’s nothing more than the tired pit lane to prove that this Qashqai e-Power proves to be a bit frantic at low speeds. To check on “real” roads. But the promises of spontaneity (starting, overtaking, etc.) and driving fluidity remain and match those expected and quickly appreciated in an electric vehicle.

“A pedal” different from the Leaf

The arrival of this e-Power version of a completely facelifted Qashqai in 2021 is accompanied by some tweaks to the dashboard (enlarged center display, dedicated EV driving and e-Pedal Step buttons, etc.) and cosmetic alterations (black grill strip , redesigned logo, etc). More importantly, the “one pedal” feature that authorized a full stop without touching the brakes on the Leaf has been modified “at the request of customers,” according to Nissan. From now on, this function is no longer really “a pedal”, since by pressing the e-Pedal Step button, the vehicle brakes up to 5/6 km/h, but it allows complete braking. During our test on this artificial course where we necessarily anticipate decelerations, the transition between electrical deceleration and mechanical friction has never been confused.. But a more complete essay will be useful. And you can also shift the gear lever to B to add engine braking. Two separate or combined modes found in the electric ariya and the Hybrid Juke.

The Nissan Qashqai e-Power.
The Nissan Qashqai e-Power.©Nissan

Compare the real autonomies of best electric cars according to our standardized measurement cycle. Battery capacity, consumption, autonomy, we tell you everything!

Satisfactory mechanical approval

At the end of this first grip, the 158 hp 1.5 VCR turbo seems effectively capable of responding to the main demands of the driver. With variable compression ratio optimizing the performance of this block that rotates around 1650 rpm in urban appearance and will peak at 4,900 rpm during the heaviest loads when in “low compression ratio” mode. Thus we have been able to verify that in these conditions (fast-track type overtaking, acceleration on a slope, etc.), this powertrain without a gearbox is less noisy than those of the Toyota CH-R or the RAV4, more restful of the ears. . It remains to verify its effective sobriety while our gymkhana in the Jarama did not let it drop below 8l/100 km on the on-board display. But with a newly homologated consumption of 5.3 l/100 km, this Qashqai e-Power benefits from penalty-free 119 g/CO2 emissions and will help win over tax-averse “pro” buyers. too high on company vehicles. .

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