The Nissan Note hatchback is going all-hybrid in Japan, dropping the non-hybrid powertrain completely as part of a redesign. Meanwhile, the United States is still waiting for Nissan's e-Power hybrid system.
The redesigned Note gets a second-generation version of e-Power, Nissan said in a press release. Electric-motor torque has increased by 10%, while total-system output has increased by 6%, according to the automaker. The system also features a smaller and lighter inverter, and a more fuel-efficient gasoline engine, which is also used less during typical driving, according to Nissan.
Another notable feature is a charging strategy based on road noise. The gasoline engine is switched on to charge the battery pack when road noise increases, presumably to mask some of that noise. This means the engine doesn't need to be used as much in quieter conditions, according to Nissan, allowing drivers to more fully benefit from the near-silent electric motor.
But that's not all.
"The new Note lineup will also feature a truly electric all-wheel drive model, with powerful dual electric motors in the front and rear supplying power to all four wheels," the press release said. That model is scheduled to launch in December, presumably also for Japan.
2020 Nissan Note e-Power
While the outgoing-generation Note was sold in the U.S. as the Versa Note, the automaker's electrification plans for this market appear to focus on larger vehicles.
The e-Power system was introduced in 2016 and aimed to simplify on previous hybrid efforts with a series-hybrid layout. However, this layout (outlined as the middle of the three layouts below) has been discarded by other automakers because of disappointing highway mileage—especially for higher-speed highway cruising, as is common in the U.S.
Nissan Note e-Power hybrid
Nissan has since said that e-Power is coming to U.S. models, but that it would likely be more performance-focused. The automaker's Infiniti luxury brand is also aiming to embrace a version of e-Power in its future vehicles, to be given different branding and badging not yet announced.
A new platform developed for future Nissan and Infiniti models, as well as cars for alliance partners Renault and Mitsubishi, could also accommodate e-Power, but it will first underpin the all-electric Nissan Ariya crossover.