(Pocket-lint) – The Nissan Qashqai is one of the most popular SUVs on the road, the choice of many suburban families – and it’s been a huge success both in Europe and the UK. There’s a new version of the Qashqai due in 2021 and Nissan has started the long tease.
Perhaps the most interesting introduction on the new car will be e-Power, an interesting hybrid system that’s closer to an EV than it is to a traditional engine-driven car. Yes, there’s a new platform for the Qashqai, it’s going to be stiffer, lighter and have better steering and suspension, but it’s the drivetrain that’s going to turn heads.
There are no plans for diesel, with a 1.3-litre 12V mild-hybrid petrol option for those choosing to stick to conventional combustion, but we suspect there will be more interest in the e-Power version.
e-Power takes most of the underpinnings of an electric car, using electric motors to drive the wheels and having a battery for power storage, but is also connected to a petrol engine. The petrol engine doesn’t power the wheels, instead it’s a generator used to provide power to the battery to drive the rest of the system, and can also provide power directly to the motor when needed.
You can’t plug this e-Power car in, you refuel it like you would a conventional internal combustion engine, but you have the advantages of an electrical drive system – like the responsiveness of the drive from those electric motors. Nissan says that using this setup can mean that the engine is optimised for efficiency, reducing emissions – while still providing the range for high mileage drivers.
It’s sort of a halfway house between full EV and old combustion engine cars and you can see how this stepping stone will allow Nissan to transition to electric components over the coming years.
There will be more tech in the Qashqai, with Nissan talking about the developments to ProPilot – its driver assistance system – but we’re expecting the build-up to the launch of this new car to be a drip feed over the coming months.
Writing by Chris Hall.