Quick EV Drive: 2017 Nissan Note e-Power


If you like the fuel efficiency of a compact hybrid car but you aren’t quite so fussed about the way the drivetrain performs, then the Nissan Note e-Power might be the solution for you.

Words: Robert Barry   |   Photos RB
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Nissan has created an electric car that runs solely but very efficiently on petrol thanks to its series hybrid drivetrain called e-Power which the Japanese company launched to market in November 2016.

It has done this by utilising battery and drive train technology from the all-electric Leaf, but the Note e-Power never needs to be plugged into mains power. The system is similar to that used by General Motors with the Chevrolet Volt EV and BMW with the range-extended i3.

The three-cylinder petrol-fuelled 1.2-litre engine in the Note e-Power is solely used as a generator to provide charge to the 1.5kWh lithium battery which is stored underneath the two front seats, which in turn powers the 40kW electric motor driving the front wheels.

the bonus of this car for prospective buyers will be never having to find a charging station, and never worrying about range anxiety

According to Nissan, the Note e-Power has a theoretical range of 1300 km between trips to the fuel station, meaning it can achieve as little as 2.9L/100km from its 47 litre fuel tank.

Thanks to our advertiser Autolink Cars, we recently spent a few hours one afternoon with this 2017 Note e-Power in a fetching shade of Premium Corona Orange metallic, to get a feel for this unique powertrain.

The Note is a direct competitor to the Honda Jazz, and has the same short but tall dimensions with a tardis-like interior, and the rear doors open to a full 45 degree angle which allows very easy access for passengers to get in and out of it.

It’s primarily aimed at the market for urban runabouts where quiet running and frugal consumption are of paramount importance to buyers.

The Note e-Power accelerates quietly and briskly from a standstill as the electric motor delivers instant torque to the driving wheels.

Hopping inside, the cabin of the Note e-Power looks fairly conventional, with the exception of the small circular gear selector that toggles between D for drive, R for reverse, as well as B for engine braking, and it also has a push button, P for park.

Anyone who has driven a Leaf or a Toyota Prius will be familiar with this sort of set up. There are three driving modes in the Note e-Power: Normal, S and Eco. In Normal, the car produces brisk acceleration off the line and stopping power (lifting off the acceleration pedal) that’s on par with the braking of its conventional petrol-powered counterparts.

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In S mode, the car accelerates even quicker with enhanced stopping power. In Eco, the car goes into fuel-saving mode by regulating the battery power.

The petrol engine automatically turns on in a quiet manner when required and by carefully monitoring engine rpm, making its activation so seamless that the car’s occupants may not realise it is actually running.

When extra acceleration is required or when climbing a steep hill, the electric motor receives power from both the battery and the engine to enhance its performance.

During deceleration, the engine stops running and the regenerative power is used to charge the battery until the vehicles come to a complete stop, saving all the energy generated.

Just like other electric vehicles such as the Ioniq Electric and the i3, because of the regenerative nature of the Note’s e-Power drivetrain, the driver can accelerate and decelerate using only the throttle pedal, significantly reducing the necessity to move their foot to depress the brake pedal.

The Note e-Power is great fun to drive, because although its uses petrol as an energy source, it very much feels and behaves like a plug-in electric vehicle, but the bonus of this car for prospective buyers will be never having to find a charging station, and never worrying about range anxiety.

Autolink is offering this particular 2017 Note X e-Power with 4000km for sale at $27,995 and it comes with NZ GPS/Sat Nav fitted, as well as a band expander, LED headlights, climate controlled air-conditioning and a reversing camera.

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