Low fuel consumption, clean exhaust gases: These are issues that have kept car manufacturers in suspense for a long time. In addition to the electric vehicle (EV), there are therefore several hybrid vehicle concepts on the market. With e-POWER, Nissan is now bringing a new type of technology to Germany in the Qashqai crossover and X-Trail SUV, which promises the comfort of an electric car without fear of range and without having to look for charging stations.
e-POWER combines a powerful electric motor with a gasoline engine that is so powerful that it can supply the electric motor with electricity and also charge a small battery that acts as a buffer. As with the extended-range Stromer, the combustion engine itself does not drive the wheels – that’s the main difference from the parallel hybrids that are prevalent today.
In this case, the combustion engine usually takes the main function of the car, while the weak electric motor acts only as an assistant. Also involved: a planetary gear or a continuously variable automatic. The peculiarity of this arrangement is well known and not very popular: the combustion engine changes speed quickly and often according to the position of the accelerator pedal. During acceleration, the car increases speed, but the speed remains at a high level – the rubber band. effect.
Nissan does not need such a transmission for e-POWER, because the combustion engine does not drive the drive wheels. The 116 kW (158 hp) and 250 Newton meters of the 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbo only activates the generator, which in turn provides the Qashqai’s 140 kW (190 hp) and 330 Newton meters from Bosch and/or charging. car battery. With a capacity of 2.1 kWh, it is compact and enables electric driving for approximately three to four kilometers without recharging or recuperation.
High-tech three cylinders
The combustion engine is well suited for its job as an efficient power plant with clean exhaust gases. The variable compression ratio (VCR, Variable Compression Ratio), which Nissan implements through a complex tuning process, makes it technologically superior. There is no need to worry about the durability of this system, which works with additional intermediate shafts and connecting rods: Cars from the luxury company Nissan Infiniti have been sold with this VCR technology in the USA, Japan and China for long time. it is considered very reliable since the start of sales.
The compression of the turbo engines in the Qashqai and X-Trail VC-T (Variable Compression Turbo) can be adjusted widely from 8:1 to 14:1. When there is a high load demand, such as full acceleration, the engine operates at low compression and high boost pressure through the turbo. During frequent driving with low load, it works with high compression and low boost pressure. According to Nissan, this not only ensures better fuel efficiency, but also cleaner exhaust gases that Nissan is already well prepared for future emission limits with e-POWER.
Silent without a balance shaft
The VCR design also means that the three connecting rods move up and down at an optimized angle to the cylinder wall. This reduces the lateral force of the piston rings on the running surfaces, which are also processed using a special hardening and grinding process. This reduces the internal resistance of the engine and increases the efficiency of the engine. According to Nissan, it is 40 percent – much higher than conventional three-cylinder engines and less than the best values of diesel engines.
Thanks to these measures, the engine also runs more quietly and with 50 percent less vibrations than a conventional three-cylinder. There seems to be something to it: Because although the unit works without a balance shaft, it is very smooth running and has a low noise. A standard noise suppression system also contributes to this. It uses a microphone on the roof wall to measure the noise level in the interior and smooths out the frequency peaks using the anti-phase sound from the car’s audio system.
© Hans-Dieter Seufert
The separation of the combustion engine from the driving wheels has advantages when driving as the theory promises: On the one hand, there is no vibration in the train in any driving condition, and the speed of the combustion engine does not occur forward. real speed through disturbances such as parallel hybrids. In the range from 1500 to 5800 rpm, it varies slowly, almost linearly, and therefore corresponds to acceleration almost as “natural” as in conventional gasoline engines.
In a relaxed driving style, little or nothing can be heard from the combustion engine – it takes a break more often than expected because the Qashqai and X-Trail e-POWER seem to recover very effectively when braking and coasting. If the driver selects brake mode B in the three driving modes Eco, Standard and Sport, the car decelerates faster than normal by up to 0.15 g. If the driver selects the e-pedal mode, up to 0.2 g is used during recovery. This comes close to the comfort of a single pedal design, you only have to brake to stop.
Pushed carefully, according to Nissan, the number of driving an electric car without a combustion engine is 79 percent in the WLTP city traffic cycle, 65 percent in the middle operation up to 100 km / h and still 29 percent and more than 100 km / h. .
e-4ORCE for four
In the X-Trail, e-POWER, which costs only 1,500 euros more than the 163 hp hybrid, works in exactly the same way as in the Qashqai. However, to compensate for the higher weight, the X-Trail-e-POWER has a higher output of 150 kW (204 hp) instead of 140 kW/190 hp.
If the buyer orders the e-4ORCE all-wheel drive, this gives the X-Trail a second electric motor on the rear axle with 100 kW (136 hp) and 195 Nm. As a result, the peak output increases slightly to 157 kW (213 hp), while the continuous output specified for 30 minutes and the maximum output demand increases even faster: the 66 kW of the front engine is combined with a further 45 kW. behind.
So an all-wheel drive has a high power reserve. Perhaps more important than that for some buyers is that the electronically controlled e-4ORCE always delivers optimal drive power to all wheels and thus improves handling, traction and driving safety through torque vectoring. This happens within ten thousandths of a second and therefore much faster than is possible with a conventional, non-electric all-wheel drive with electronically controlled differentials.
Designed for the extended off-road needs of the X-Trail, there is hill descent control and two additional driving modes for terrain and snow and a rear-biased design with modified skid control. Additional fee for e-4ORCE? 3,500 euros.
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