2021 Nissan Note E-Power: how efficient is it in Singapore?

CarBuyer Team

Combustion to the power of e

Why use a petrol engine to generate electricity to power a motor to drive a car? Because it turns out to be more efficient than getting the engine to turn the car’s wheels directly. Or, to be precise, it’s less inefficient.

In December 2016 we spoke to Naoki Nakada, the brains behind e-Power and the Nissan Leaf’s EV hardware, at Nissan’s Grandrive test track about the system. He pointed out that petrol engines are inefficient when revved up and down as a car speeds up and slows down. They really only work at their best at a constant speed, which is why your fuel consumption gets better on the highway.

Electric cars are way less wasteful at varying speeds. A motor’s efficiency generally doesn’t change much when it spins at different operating speeds, and in some ways it’s obviously superior: when your car is sitting at a red light an engine has to keep idling, but a motor doesn’t take up any energy. Plus, you can convert a car’s momentum into electricity and store it in a battery, but slowing down doesn’t magically put petrol in a combustion car’s tank.

With e-Power you can divide up the job of powering a car. Get the motor to drive the car while the petrol engine tops up a lithium-ion battery, and that way the fuel burner can mostly run at a constant speed that it’s optimised for.

Such linear hybrid setups aren’t all that new — locomotives and buses have used them for years — but Nissan put it into showrooms first, and to great success. The first Note e-Power never made it to Singapore, but in Japan it became the single best-selling car right after its launch.

“In Japanese driving conditions, this system is very useful,” Mr Nakada told us. Turns out it’s very useful in Singapore, too.

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compact e-power hatchback Hybrid nissan Note

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CarBuyer Team

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