Nissan plans to go fully electric by 2030, but not all customers are ready to jump onto the full EV bandwagon just yet.
So the company has introduced what it calls a transition technology, called e-POWER, as a stepping stone towards full EV.
Nissan has sold 5.5 million Qashqais in 40 countries since it first appeared in 2007. Designed in London, engineered in Cranfield and built in Sunderland, the new e-POWER Qashqai has a 1.5-litre three-cylinder, turbocharged, variable compression ratio engine which produces 190PS.
It can change between more or less powerful outputs, depending on conditions. For example, high power for climbing a hill and lower power for urban driving.
But the engine is not driving the wheels. It is producing electric energy for the car’s 140kW electric motor, which powers the car’s two-wheel-drive system. So what you have is an electrically powered car which does not have to be plugged in, but is not a hybrid because the petrol engine doesn’t drive the wheels.
This is good news and bad. Many people will find not having to plug in an advantage. But having an electric motor, batteries and an engine means you are lugging around quite a lot of weight. Nonetheless, Nissan claims it has a range of 1,000 km and can manage 53.3mpg.
What you do get is impressive refinement. The engine has sound-cancelling technology and is commendably quiet while on the move. It is well equipped, too, with intelligent energy braking, Propilot with Navi Link and a central airbag. Main information is provided by three screens, including a head-up display.
The quality of the cabins in Nissans has vastly improved in recent years and the Qashqai e-POWER’s is a pleasant place to be. Some of the trim is finished in a textured black plastic which makes a nice change from piano black, which shows up dust and fingerprints. It is roomy, with plenty of head- and leg-room in the front and back.
Being electrically powered means you can have e-Pedal driving, a system which regenerates power and enables you to drive with just one pedal. Under normal conditions you never need touch the brakes except in an emergency.
Qashqai prices range from £26,045 for the DIGT 140 2WD manual in Visia spec to £40,980 for the range-topping e-POWER 190 2WD Auto in Tekna+ spec.
The e-POWER system will make sense for a lot of people who don’t think the charging infrastructure is sufficiently developed for them to commit to switching to a fully electric vehicle yet. Nissan believes this new model could be, for these people, their last new car before they make the leap to a full EV.
Nissan Qashqai e-POWER
Price: from £32,940 for e-POWER versions
0-62mph: 7.9 secs