It may seem that the solution is rather stupid, but it is far from it. Combustion engines have an ideal working regime in which they use fuel most efficiently. By making the most of gasoline and generating electricity instead of powering the wheels, the ICE gives the task to move the car to the naturally efficient electric motors. This is basically Nissan’s recipe for its e-POWER vehicles.
In the Sylphy, it allowed the sedan to deliver only 3.9 l/100 km (60.3 MPG) in fuel consumption. The 1.5-kWh battery pack does not penalize the vehicle with too much more mass. On the other hand, it is also so small that placing a plug to charge it would probably not pay off. The battery pack is enough for the car to start moving until the 1.2-liter, three-cylinder engine fires up to charge it again.
OBRIST presented a similar idea with a Tesla Model 3 and a Tesla Model Y converted to use its technologies. The goal was to demonstrate that they could cost a lot less (about €20,000, or $23,130 at the current exchange rate). Compared to the e-POWER system, it presents some advantages.
The first is the 17.3-kWh battery pack, which can be charged for a range of up to 96 kilometers (60 miles), which covers most people’s daily needs. When a more extended trip is necessary, a 30-liter tank and the ZVG (Zero Vibration Generator) ensure the car can travel up to 1,500 km (932 mi).
Curiously, Nissan claims a higher thermal efficiency for its 1.2-liter engine than OBRIST disclosed for the ZVG. While the Austrian two-cylinder has a 40% efficiency on gasoline and 42% efficiency with e-methanol, the Japanese carmaker claims its three-cylinder achieves 43% efficiency. Nissan also has the large-scale production of the 1.2-liter engine in its favor, making it more affordable.
With 300 Nm (221.3 lb-ft), the electric motor offers more torque than Sylphy’s regular engine in China, a 1.6-liter engine. Although Nissan did not disclose how powerful the motor is, we expect it to present the same 100 kW (134 hp) as the Note Aura, which also has 300 Nm of torque.
Considering how successful the Sylphy already is in the Chinese market, the e-POWER version should do even better with its amazing energy efficiency numbers and the torque and refinement electric motors provide.