Nissan e-Power Hybrid Tech vs Toyota and Honda hybrids
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Well behind domestic and Western automakers, Japanese automakers are only joining the electrification race in India. The Honda City e-HEV created a new niche for potent hybrids in the sub-20 lakh price segment, and Toyota followed suit with his own Hyder and his brother Maruti.
Now, Nissan will launch its own version of the electrified powertrain with the X-Trail which is slated to hit the market in 2023. Here’s how the three automakers’ self-charging hybrid systems differ from each other.
Different types of hybrid technologies
The Honda City hybrid system: The City e-HEV features a highly efficient 1.5 liter Atkinson cycle engine. The hybrid system includes two motors of different powers, the more powerful motor being connected to the wheels.
There’s no ‘transmission’, instead the City is powered by the high-output engine most of the time. This system is programmed to automatically switch between EV, hybrid and motor propulsion modes, depending on what is being demanded of the powertrain at any given time. Most of the time, the e:HEV system is in hybrid mode, with the combustion engine producing electricity for the battery which powers the drive motor.
It always starts in EV mode, using it primarily for slow speed crawls and parking maneuvers. Only on long stretches of highway is the City hybrid driven purely by the engine, as it is determined to be at its most efficient form under those conditions.
Toyota’s hybrid system: The Toyota Hyryder and Maruti Grand Vitara use Toyota’s hybrid drive system which also uses two motors, a generator (to charge the battery) and a higher output traction motor (to drive the wheels). The Toyota-developed 1.5-liter gasoline engine together with the traction motor transmit power to the wheels through a “power distribution” device, which includes a set of planetary gears that can move the car using traction motor, engine or both.
Similar to the City hybrid, the Hyryder’s powerful hybrid system runs at low speeds using only the main electric motor (higher output). During acceleration and normal driving at higher speeds, engine and engine remain on.
Nissan e-Power Hybrid System: Nissan vehicles use a different type of hybrid system that still uses – you guessed it – separate generators and starters. But the e-Power system makes things a little easier to understand. Simply put, the traction motor drives the wheels all the time and the motor has no mechanical connection with the wheels.
Instead, the engine is connected to the generator motor and only turns on to recharge the battery, whether you’re cruising down the highway or doing a quick overtake. The main electric motor also has a regenerative braking function that allows it to charge the battery while coasting or decelerating.
How is Nissan’s e-Power system different?
In Toyota and Honda hybrids, the ICE engines drive the wheels at least some of the time. But Nissan’s e-Power system differs because the engine’s power never reaches the wheels and it’s just there to charge the battery.
In other words, the upcoming Nissan Qashqai and X-Trail potent hybrids are driven solely by electric motors, similar to electric vehicles. Each has a powerful electric motor and a larger battery compared to standard strong hybrid cars; they deliver comparable instant torque and continuous power like any other electric car. But unlike conventional electric vehicles, Nissan’s powerful e-Power hybrids don’t need to be recharged by plugging them in and aren’t limited by their range.
By now you must have realized that combining an ICE engine with an electrified transmission is extremely complicated. This is the main reason why a strong hybrid vehicle is more expensive than an ICE or even a mild hybrid car.
Hybrids are complex, but all of the above systems were developed by Japanese car brands with a solid reputation for reliability. Until the electric vehicle charging network expands further, powerful, self-charging hybrids offer excellent fuel economy, performance and uncompromising versatility.