Day 1 – Senior Writer Ben Chia rips it while padding around in the Note
Being first to take the car meant I had to sit through the marketing spiel from Nigel, the ex-automotive journalist turned Nissan comms/marketing guy (Glad you survived that, Ben. – Ed.), who explained how the e-Power system in the Note is improved from the one in the Kicks and Serena.
Essentially, the e-Power setup in the Note features a new electric motor and inverter (the device that converts the battery’s DC power into AC power to drive the wheels). The motor has been tuned to produce 10 percent more torque than in the previous Note e-Power, while the inverter is now 40 percent smaller and 30 percent lighter than before.
All this translates to a car that should be fun to drive, in theory at least. After all, less weight and more torque means better acceleration, right?
My first impressions when pulling out of the Nissan showroom in Ubi was that the car felt quite… normal actually. Having previously driven the Kicks, I rather enjoyed that car’s near-instantaneous torque and extremely linear power delivery that is a signature of most electric-powered cars. There are some of those characteristics in the Note as well, but over here it seemed a bit more well-controlled and less likely to feel like there’s a rocket strapped to the back.
Nissan claims that the 1.2-litre engine-generator has also been rejigged to run at lower revs, and cut in to assist less often than before, with the idea being to maximise efficiency and reduce overall noise.
There’s even a clever system that optimises the best time to activate the engine’s charging capabilities, doing so when it detects noisier road conditions, thereby ensuring that you hear the engine less.
It’s not very perceptible, which is perhaps the point. In contrast to the Kicks e-Power, you can hardly tell when the engine actually kicks in, short of looking at the display in the instrument panel. It works as intended I guess, but somehow it doesn’t feel quite as exciting as advertised.
By and large, I had very little complaints with the Note. From a driver’s perspective it actually does have some good qualities, and on windy bits of road such as Mount Faber and South Buona Vista Road, the car actually does rather well.
There’s a certain assuredness with the way the Note drives, which gives it a sense of maturity that belies its size. It feels like a much bigger car than it is, and I realise that’s a trait that the e-Power cars share. It does come as a pleasant surprise, especially for drivers who like that big car feel without necessarily driving a big car.
The other bits I liked were the features, some of which I found rather neat. The double screen dashboard setup is clearly Nissan’s way of mimicking Mercedes-Benz, although it obviously doesn’t have quite the same slick and premium execution. Then there’s the rearview mirror camera system that I first saw here in cars from Jaguar Land Rover. It’s still a nice thing to have even in a car this size, and I reckon it’ll make parallel parking a doddle.
My day with the car consisted of picking up Lionel from the office, going to lunch, and then getting the requisite photos for this story. I then spent the afternoon driving around the island to rack up the miles, before driving from home (in Woodlands) to Bedok for some exercise. In all, I covered slightly over 200km, and averaged 5.2L/100km – quite a bit more than the official quoted figure of 4.6L/100km from Nissan.
Then I handed the car off to Editor Lionel. I was curious to know – perhaps Dad-style driving could improve the efficiency?