Even if they always blamed Chevrolet for not building a 100% electric vehicle, Nissan officials had to make a compromise in order to increase their electric car sales for the next few years. 

Nissan Motor today introduced its new drive system called e-POWER to customers. It marks the first time that e-POWER technology is available for consumers. e-POWER borrows from the EV technology in the Nissan Leaf, the best-selling electric car of the momment, with more than 250,000 units sold. Unlike the leaf, e-POWER adds a small gasoline engine to charge the high-output battery when necessary, eliminating the need for an external charger while offering the same high-output.  

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The e-POWER system features full electric-motor drive, meaning that the wheels are completely driven by the electric motor. The power from a high-output battery is delivered to the e-POWER’s compact powertrain comprised of a gasoline engine, power generator, inverter, and a motor. In conventional hybrid systems, a low-output electric motor is mated to a gasoline engine to drive the wheels when the battery is low (or when traveling at high speeds). 

However, in the e-POWER system, the gasoline engine is not connected to the wheels; it simply charges the battery. And unlike a full EV, the power source originates from the engine and not just the battery.

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Nissan has cracked the code and learned how to minimize and reduce weight, develop more responsive motor control methods and optimize energy management. As a result, e-POWER uses a smaller battery than the LEAF, but delivers the same driving experience as a full EV.

The system operates very quietly, much like a full EV. Because e-POWER relies on the engine much less frequently, its fuel efficiency is comparable to that of leading conventional hybrids, especially during around-the-town commutes.

The e-POWER system is classified as a series hybrid. The Note e-POWER represents the first mass-production compact segment car ever to be equipped with a series hybrid system.