The Nissan Qashqai E-Power offers buyers the benefits of an electric car, not the drawbacks, Nissan said. But we don’t quite agree with that. An EV does not consume expensive petrol, the Qashqai E-Power does.
Nothing. For the layman, this is an ordinary Nissan Qashqai, like so many of them driving around in the Netherlands. However, the observant viewer will see a small badge on the stern on the right. E-Power, it says, partly in blue letters. And that color can only mean one thing: this Qashqai has ‘green’ electrical engineering on board.
Nissan indirectly calls the Qashqai E-Power an electric car, but actually it is not. Yes, it is always powered by an electric motor and it has a battery on board, but you look in vain for a plug and a charging opening. Ah, you think, when you see the cover above the rear wheel, found it! No, that’s where the fuel tank filler hole is.
The Qashqai E-Power is an EV for people who are not ready for fiddling with cables, according to Nissan. Its battery is small – 2.1 kWh – and must be constantly topped up by the petrol engine, which runs a generator. You can compare the E-Power system a bit with the powertrain of the Fisker Karma, which was equally popular in the Netherlands in 2011.
Have you ever driven a Toyota hybrid? Then you know that it switches almost seamlessly between electric drive and fuel engine, only you also know the grinding sound of a power source that is kept at the ideal (read: high) speed by a continuously variable transmission. It is a strange and somewhat irritating sensation: you accelerate, but hear a constant bellow.
In the Qashqai E-Power you do not get such a ‘nails over a blackboard’ feeling. Nissan’s engineers have lavishly sprinkled soundproofing (you get soundproofing, you get soundproofing, everyone gets soundproofing!!!) and designed a powertrain where the engine pretends to rev along with acceleration. They challenged us to listen with pricked ears on the way to see if we could hear the turning on of the power source. We almost couldn’t.
More tire noise enters the cab than hum from bouncing pistons. The Qashqai E-Power is wonderfully quiet, partly thanks to active noise-cancelling, and really makes you feel like you are driving an electric car. Also because you always and everywhere immediately have the maximum torque of 330 Nm under your right foot. The E-Power is the fastest accelerating Qashqai at the moment, with a 0 to 100 km/h time of 7.9 seconds.
A bit strange is that ‘one-pedal driving’ is not possible. You can opt for regenerative braking – then the deceleration is quite abrupt – but the car never comes to a complete stop. This is in contrast to the electric Nissan Leaf, in which that happens. Fully electric driving is only possible to a limited extent in the Qashqai E-Power. Nissan estimates the range in EV Mode is about 2 to 3 kilometers.
Why the model doesn’t have a bigger battery? That adds weight, forcing the electric motor to work harder and the combustion engine to use more gasoline, Nissan says. We also recommend caravan tractors to skip the Qashqai E-Power. Yes, the 190 hp serial hybrid can tow a trailer, but unfortunately only up to a weight of 750 kilos.
Nissan continues to insist that the Qashqai E-Power is a kind of intermediate car. A step towards an EV for people who are still too afraid of plugs, charging stations and an empty battery. But in the Netherlands we have the largest number of charging stations in Europe and the acceptance of electric cars seems to be going well. Gone are the raison d’être of the Qashqai E-Power!
In addition, Nissan tells us that C-segment SUV buyers make 70 percent of their mileage in a city or urban environment. The message: a Qashqai E-Power is ideal for that group. But we want to nuance that. The Japanese non-plug SUV also consumes petrol in built-up areas. A plug-in hybrid hardly does that. Provided you stick it faithfully to the charging station, of course.
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In that sense, the Qashqai E-Power is rather an alternative to a regular hybrid, such as the Kia Sportage Hybrid or the Opel Grandland Hybrid. And yes, then it is just as economical, or even slightly more economical. Nissan gives as official WLTP consumption 1 in 18.8. Good, but not earth-shattering. Although honesty compels us to say that during the press introduction we came close without any effort (1 in 18.2).
The first cars will be delivered to Nissan dealers in September. Do you fancy such a semi-electric crossover, then you have to pay at least 43,790 euros. That is 8400 euros more than for an entry-level Qashqai (mild hybrid with 140 hp) and that seems like a lot. But you can better compare the E-Power with the Qashqai Mild-Hybrid 158 Xtronic, which also costs 43,790 euros.
And what about the competition? Let’s make a selection. Hyundai offers the 180 hp Tucson 1.6 T-GDi Hybrid from 39,995. At Opel you can order an Opel Grandland 1.6 Turbo Hybrid for 43,849 euros, with no less than 224 hp. Also an option is the Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDi Hybrid with 230 hp (from 41,995 euros) or the Toyota RAV4 2.5 Hybrid with 218 hp (45,995 euros). The Qashqai E-Power is therefore reasonably in line with the competition in terms of price.
Are you looking at a Nissan Qashqai and your budget is sufficient, then you should always go for an E-Power. It drives like an electric car, is almost as quiet and guarantees relatively favorable consumption. If you really want to be at the gas station as little as possible, we recommend fiddling with plugs. The WLTP consumption of a plug-in hybrid really makes no sense (1 in 113, why?), but you can probably drive more economically than with a Qashqai E-Power.
You drive a Nissan Qashqai for a fixed amount per month via private lease. Look for the most attractive offers Besteprivateleasedeals.nl.
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