Nissan Launches New Note with e-Power in Japan

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

The Nissan LEAF has a weird gas-powered cousin in Japan, and now there’s a new version. The third-generation Note, with Nissan’s sort-of-electric e-POWER system recently dropped in the Japanese market.

The rest of the vehicle isn’t that different from the Versa Note we see in the US market and the Notes for sale elsewhere in the world. It’s a small hatchback with seating for five and room for groceries. What sets this new Japanese market Note apart is its drivetrain, as the third-gen Note will only come with an improved version of the e-POWER hybrid system.

Unlike most hybrids, the e-POWER system never uses direct mechanical energy from the engine to drive the wheels, making it a series hybrid. It has a small 3-cylinder engine that only generates electricity to charge the battery pack, which is smaller than the LEAF’s pack but bigger than many hybrids. The battery pack then runs an electric motor for all drive power, like the LEAF.

Past versions of this drivetrain have been rated for over 80 MPG, with one automotive journalist achieving 88 MPG in testing. While it’s no electric vehicle, it’s still a major environmental gain over other hybrids. When you consider that the LEAF only gets 99 MPGe on the highway (123 MPGe in city), 88 MPG is pretty damned clean for a gas-powered vehicle. When you consider that it’s probably cheaper to buy and more convenient than EV charging (especially on trips), such a system can have a greatly positive overall impact.

The second-generation e-POWER system in the new Note has an all-new electric motor and inverter. Electric motor torque has been increased by 10% and output by 6%, while the gas engine now operates at a lower RPM and is engaged less often during a typical drive. The result is better performance and better fuel efficiency, but Nissan has not yet told us how much more efficiency to expect.

While we aren’t sure yet whether the new version of the system will be released in the US or European markets (Nissan is said to be studying how to optimize the system for American drivers), it sure seems like something that could do well in the States. Skepticism of EVs, wide open spaces with limited charging infrastructure, and quicker road trips would all make this system a winner for that market. We’ve reached out to Nissan for more information, and hope to have an opportunity to test an e-POWER vehicle sometime in the near future.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

CleanTechnica Holiday Wish Book

Holiday Wish Book Cover

Click to download.

Our Latest EVObsession Video

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.

Jennifer Sensiba

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.

Jennifer Sensiba has 1758 posts and counting. See all posts by Jennifer Sensiba