Nissan looks like it will be deploying its e-Power range-extender petrol/electric powertrain in more models over the next few years as part of its overhaul strategy, with the tech set to feature strongly in the automaker’s renewed push in China.
The company has reportedly prepared a plan in which it will speed up its rollout of electrified vehicles in the world’s biggest auto market, both under its main brand and its localised Venucia marque, Reuters reports.
Sources told the news agency that the new strategy, which is expected to be unveiled at Auto Shanghai in April, will not just include vehicles but also involve using more locally-made parts and technologies, which will allow the company to cut costs and be more competitive.
They said that the automaker plans to launch three cars in China this year. Aside from the all-electric Ariya crossover and the redesigned fourth-gen X-Trail, the brand will also introduce a hybrid version of its fourth-gen Sylphy, utilising an e-Power powertrain. Down the road, another model to get an e-Power system will be the X-Trail, and this is likely to be identical to that found on the next-generation Qashqai for Europe.
The system incorporates a 157 PS 1.5 litre variable compression ratio petrol engine mated to a power generator, inverter and an electric motor, a combination which produces a final output of 140 kW (187 PS). As with all e-Power systems, the petrol internal combustion engine is used solely to generate electricity, with electric drive powering the wheels. The configuration is also likely to be used for the Sylphy e-Power.
The automaker is targeting to introduce at least one new Nissan model in China each year through to 2025, with most either fully-electric or hybrids equipped with autonomous and smart driving technology.
One of the sources said a new focus on “China-specific” cars designed to appeal to local tastes underpinned the brand’s decision to go with electrified models. The report added that the change in focus should also mean models with bolder grilles, sharp-looking headlamps and tail lights as well as richer, softer and more sumptuous interiors.
However, the most critical part of Nissan’s China-specific strategy is to make vehicles with more parts and technologies procured within the country in order to bring costs down.
The sources said that under the new plan, the list of locally-sourced items should increase beyond bumpers, seats and lamps to include technologies such as sensors and electric power inverters. Elsewhere, batteries for e-Power models will be locally developed and sourced from China’s Sunwoda Electric Vehicle Battery.
Accordingly, the plan also involves turning Venucia into a brand for affordable EVs, although details are still being worked out. The budget brand, which was introduced in 2012 to compete against local competitors, has not being performing well, with sales last year being almost half of that from its peak in 2017.
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