NISSAN Australia is getting ready to return to the mainstream passenger-car phase it deserted two years in the past with the introduction of the third-generation Note hatchback.
But there’s a catch: pencilled in as a 2021 mannequin, the yet-to-be-revealed redesign is about to floor solely because the hybrid e-Note variant in Australia, which means it can make use of a petroleum engine and an electrical motor shared with the Leaf battery-electric car (BEV).
Unlike most different hybrids just like the Toyota Prius, nevertheless, solely the motor will drive the wheels, instead of a standard transmission, which means that the engine is there to energy the motor and recharge a battery pack solely. Nissan calls this technique ‘e-Power’.
While Nissan Australia managing director Stephen Lester wouldn’t affirm the arrival of the subsequent e-Note to Australia, he did say a choice is imminent and can be introduced within the not too distant future.
“Finding a product that fits the market has to also be easily positioned… there is no point in having a car in any segment that cannot be positioned properly,” he stated.
“We don’t have a automotive underneath $25,000 and that represents 35 per cent of the market, and we nonetheless don’t have a passenger automotive aside from the Leaf, which is $50,000. And at that worth, although that automotive is superb, it doesn’t fulfil entry-level elements.
“The next Note certainly satisfies the components that fix that. Whether it is e-Power or not has yet to be determined, and even whether it ends up being Note at all we’ve not yet decided.”
That stated, Mr Lester is satisfied that Australia is prepared to embrace the excessive financial system and low emissions advantages of Nissan’s patented hybrid system, whereas there’s a robust probability that e-Power may find yourself being the dominant powertrain in all future fashions.
“I think e-Power would go very, very well in Australia,” he stated. “And at the moment, though a decision has been made whether we exclusively go with e-Power in Australia, we certainly believe the combination of e-Power and full EV as we see in the Leaf today is certainly a potent and formidable opportunity that consumers are gravitating towards at a quicker rate than previously anticipated in the market.”
The present e-Note, launched in Japan two years in the past and based mostly on the Honda Jazz-style, second-generation E12 Note first seen in 2012, has been a runaway hit for Nissan in its residence market as it’s seen as a simple and accessible step from a traditional internal-combustion engine to a BEV with out the complexities of extra conventional hybrid techniques like Toyota’s.
It is predicted that the E13 Note will debut someday subsequent yr in Japan, with a bigger physique rumoured, bringing extra inside area and larger cargo-carrying functionality.
Whether the collection, which began 15 years in the past abroad, retains the angular, near-monospace silhouette, isn’t but recognized.
What has been revealed by the corporate is progress within the areas of perceived high quality. As previewed to the Australian media at numerous know-how workshops Nissan held after the motor present in Tokyo final week, the cabin will embrace a daring, recent simplicity with considerably improved design and higher supplies and trim.
Accompanying an enormous raise in multimedia and driver-assist applied sciences, the end result ought to match Europe’s greatest, in accordance to one Nissan spokesman.
Both Note generations have employed the Renault/Nissan Alliance’s B/V light-car platform up to now and an evolution of that as discovered within the European Nissan Okay14 Micra and Renault Clio is predicted to additionally underpin the redesigned model. This means a MacPherson strut-style entrance finish and a torsion-beam rear suspension system.
Whether the e-Note additionally carries by means of with the present E12 mannequin’s 1.2-litre HR12DE e-Power three-cylinder petrol engine and EM57 electrical motor stays to be seen.
Nissan says e-Power-powered fashions carry a circa-$4000 or 300,000 Yen premium over their ICE counterparts, which means that the e-Note in Australia might launch with a price ticket of round $25,000, making an allowance for that even the next-generation Note will in all probability be barely smaller than the Toyota Corolla.
According to Nissan international head of product planning Ivan Espinosa, the subsequent e-Note will be a worldwide mannequin priced to succeed.
“The beauty of e-Power is, in some markets where EV infrastructure is not ready or where the customers don’t have access to EVs, e-Power will allow customers to effectively experience EV driving… the behaviour is very close to an EV,” he stated.
“I can’t comment on price (of the new model), but of course you can be sure we will be very competitive. We want to democratise the technology, to have it in an accessible way for consumers.”