Nissan is planning to launch a new range-extended electric vehicle, as well as semi-autonomous driving technology, before the Japanese financial year ends on March 31, 2017.
The new series hybrid drivetrain will be known as e-Power, and will function in much the same way as the Voltec layout in the Chevrolet Volt.
In the e-Power drivetrain, an electric motor is solely responsible for driving the front wheels and is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, which can be recharged via either mains power or a small on-board petrol engine.
The new e-Power drivetrain will make its debut before the close of the current Japanese financial year in a “new compact car”. This vehicle will likely be targeted at the company’s home market during its early life, as it has yet to announce any plans regarding export of the new model.
Toshiyuki Nakajima, a member of the company’s advanced vehicle engineering division, says that the e-Power setup should prove to be less costly than a pure EV drivetrain as it requires a smaller battery pack.
Above: The self-driving 2015 Nissan IDS concept.
Nissan also plans to launch its new ProPilot semi-autonomous driving system prior to March 31, 2017.
The first-generation ProPilot system will be able to steer, brake and accelerate a car within a single lane on a highway and in stop-and-start traffic.
A second-generation version of the ProPilot system will reportedly debut in 2018, and will have the ability to navigate across multiple lanes.
The third iteration of the software, due to go on sale around 2020, will be able to handle intersections and urban traffic situations.
Nissan has already confirmed that a 2017 facelift for the Qashqai SUV will debut the ProPilot technology in Europe next year, while another ProPilot-equipped model will be launched in its home market of Japan by the end of this year.
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