The new Nissan concept vehicle is certainly great to look at. The sharp design has resonated very well with motoring journalists and the industry at large so far. Whether you know it as the Gripz concept or the next generation Juke, the inclusion of the same e-Power system that the new Nissan Note uses is quite a talking point too.
Nissan e-Power is a hybrid motor that uses a small gasoline engine to charge the batteries that drive the electric motor. Unlike a traditional hybrid, the gas engine is not connected to the drivetrain at all, it is merely there to keep the batteries full. It is a neat take on the hybrid powertrain and is proving itself in the Nissan Note.
It seems there will be a version of this system available for the new Gripz/Juke.
The system utilizes a small 1.2-litre three cylinder engine connected to a generator and power inverter. When the battery runs low on stored energy, it fires up the engine and charges it again until full. Then the engine stops and the car goes back to electric only.
The current version has now plug-in capability so is entirely dependent on this engine to maintain charge. This is largely because it uses a hybrid battery pack rather than a traditional EV battery pack that can handle 120v or 240v charging.
While a smaller battery with no plug-in ability may seem a disadvantage, it isn’t. It means the system can be much, much lighter and be simpler in design and implementation too. An EV has a lot of complicated electronics to maintain a steady voltage, manage battery life and so on. The e-Power system has a much simpler setup instead.
It also means that you don’t lose interior space to batteries either. Another significant advantage. It means the chassis doesn’t have to be strengthened and that you don’t lose space or storage in the cabin to batteries.
Originally, the e-Power system was going to remain a Japan-only option but rumour central says it will be making its way to North America in this new vehicle. Whether the Gripz concept is a separate entity or the next generation Juke remains to be seen but either way, the Nissan e-Power system certainly bears watching.