Nissan’s e-Power range of cars are gaining popularity in Singapore, and we look at why this clever hybrid system is the ideal drivetrain for Singaporean drivers
In 2019, Nissan launched the Serena e-Power in Singapore, and the seven-seater MPV introduced a new form of hybrid system to the market for the first time.
For the uninitiated, e-Power consists of an electric motor, powered by batteries, that drives the car, in effect working like an electric vehicle (EV). However, the batteries are charged via an onboard internal combustion engine (ICE), which functions like a generator of sorts.
It’s a system that’s currently unique to Nissan in Singapore, and the e-Power range now spans three-model strong, consisting of the Serena MPV, Kicks compact crossover, and the recently-launched Note hatchback. Singaporeans have clearly embraced the concept wholeheartedly, as according to Nissan’s official distributor here, Tan Chong Motor Sales, over half of its passenger car sales in 2020 featured the e-Power system.
But what makes the e-Power setup so appealing and ideal for Singapore roads? Here are five reasons why.
It offers an EV driving experience but without the drawbacks of plug-in charging
Fundamentally, an e-Power car is essentially an EV, given that only the electric motor drives the car’s wheels. So you get all the good stuff about EV motoring, meaning instant torque delivery and brisk acceleration, which are useful to have in an urbanised city like Singapore.
At the same time, because the batteries that power the motor are charged by the on-board engine, you don’t have to worry about having to find a charging port to charge the car. This is particularly crucial for Singapore, given that most of us here live in apartments, and the public charging infrastructure, while improving, is still not quite adequate enough to support regular EV charging yet.
It’s more efficient
Hybrids, which are defined as cars with both an engine and an electric motor in its drivetrain setup, are by design more efficient than a regular ICE car. But while most hybrids use the engine as its main form of propulsion, and an electric motor to assist, Nissan’s e-Power system switches this around.
Why is e-Power better then? Simply put, engines are more efficient if they run at constant revs. In start-stop traffic situations, which is a common occurrence in Singapore, an engine is constantly worked up and down as the car accelerates and slows down, impacting on overall efficiency.
In the e-Power system, the engine’s sole purpose is to recharge the battery, and as such can be engineered to come on and run at a constant speed, regardless of driving behaviour.
It saves you money
And because the engine is run in its most efficient setting, it uses far less fuel than it would if it were to power a car normally as you do in a regular ICE setup.
The Nissan Note e-Power, for instance, delivers an average fuel consumption figure of 4.6 litres per 100km. In comparison, a similarly-sized Japanese rival hatchback with a regular ICE drivetrain delivers 5.7 litres per 100km. And given that the engine in the e-Power setup isn’t used for propulsion, it can have a smaller fuel tank, meaning you spend less at every fill up as compared to a regular car.
It’s kinder to the environment
All of Nissan’s e-Power models qualify for the A2 banding under the Vehicular Emissions Scheme (VES). Other than the financial benefits of receiving a S$15,000 rebate, what it means is that the e-Power system emits far less emissions than its contemporaries.
The VES system is particularly strict, as it takes into account not just the car’s CO2 emissions output, but also four other exhaust pollutants (hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter) in its calculation method. Exceeding the limit in just one of these five categories will see the car bumped into the next band up, so a car has to be very clean in order to qualify for a rebate.
The Government likes it
Singapore has announced plans to phase out ICE cars by 2040, and as such, electrified cars are very much the future for car owners here.
Nissan’s e-Power offers a bridge between EV motoring of tomorrow, with the sensibilities and convenience of ICE cars of today. Simply put, if you want to experience what you’ll be driving in 20 years time, then Nissan’s e-Power is very much your crystal ball into the future.