New seven-seater people carrier marks the debut of Nissan’s “alternative hybrid” e-Power technology in Singapore.
Local Nissan distributor Tan Chong Motors has announced the release of the Nissan Serena e-Power, an electrified multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) in Singapore, priced at S$140,800 with Certificate of Entitlement.
Notable features include hands-free auto sliding doors, individual captains’ chairs for the second row, a dual opening tailgate (you can just pop open the rear glass if space is constrained), LED lights, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.
First previewed at the 2019 Singapore Motorshow in January (albeit in pre-facelifted form, unlike the car on sale), the Serena e-Power is a segment-straddling people carrier – larger than medium Euro MPVs like the Renault Grand Scenic or Volkswagen Touran, but smaller than full-size ones like the Honda Odyssey or Volkswagen Sharan.
It’s also significantly more roomy and practical than the seven-seater Nissan X-Trail sports utility vehicle while being usefully more affordable than the borderline luxurious Nissan Elgrand.
More significantly, the Serena is also a new type of electric car – hence the “e-Power” portion of its name. It’s powered by an electric motor with 134hp and 320Nm of torque, but instead of a bulky, heavy battery pack that would rob precious space in the passenger compartment, it’s got just a tiny 1.8kWh battery.
That does mean it has only a fraction of the capacity and range of a typical electric car, but the Serena counters that by having a 1.2-litre three-cylinder Atkinson cycle petrol engine on board. It’s not a hybrid like the Toyota Prius though, in that the engine isn’t connected to the wheels; rather, it acts as a generator that charges up the battery when it’s low.
Since that means it can run at a constant, efficient rpm, it can deliver claimed fuel economy of just 5.7l/100km, with a theoretical maximum range of over 900km – no range anxiety here!
The official efficiency figures are a VES B rating, 5.7L/100km for fuel efficiency, and CO2 output of 133g/km. That means its more efficient than large MPVs such as the Honda Odyssey (8.1L/100km, 184g/km CO2, VES C2) and at roughly the same level as the smaller Volkswagen Touran (5.6L/100km, 129g/km, VES B).
e-Power first debuted on the Note supermini, and Ju-Len had a chance to test it out back in 2016. Click here for his driving impressions as well as an in-depth explainer of how the system works.
Just like on the all-electric Leaf hatchback, the Serena e-Power also features a “One Pedal” drive mode which ramps up the motor’s regenerative braking to the point that you don’t even need to touch the brakes except for emergencies, which means you don’t have to keep switching between the pedals while driving.
Since it’ll still be some time before EV production can reach parity with conventional cars, Nissan believes that its e-Power technology can act as a bridge to offer the benefits of electric drive (silent operation, instant torque) without the usual drawbacks (cost and availability of charging infrastructure). It’s already been a hit in its home market, with forty percent of Serena buyers and seventy percent of Note buyers and choosing the e-Power version, making them the best-selling MPV and best selling car in Japan in 2018 respectively.
If e-Power sounds good, but you want something other than a small hatchback or MPV, worry not. On the back of the Note’s and Serena’s success, Nissan is planning to roll the technology out to more models in the range, with a commitment to offering an electrified version of its entire passenger car lineup in Singapore by 2022.