Nissan Launches Punchier E-Powered Note Nismo S for Japan

Nissan’s performance arm, Nismo, is wetting its beak on electrified powertrains. Last week, the company launched the Note e-Power Nismo S — upping the model’s performance output by roughly 25 percent. Sold in Japan since December of 2016, the Note e-Power Nismo offered 109 horsepower and 187 lb-ft. The new Nismo S brings those specs to 134 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, which Nissan attributes to a tweaked inverter, modified vehicle control module, increased electrical output and an improved reduction drive.

While it’s likely never going to come to North America, there’s a good reason for it to remain on your radar. Nissan is aiming for 1 million sales of fully electric and e-Power vehicles annually by 2022. It’s also going to expand its e-Power system to Infiniti in 2021 and intends to start sending them in our general direction.

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Nissan Finally Confirms E-Power for North American Models

After a year’s worth of build-up, Nissan has finally confirmed it will bring its backward-working “e-Power” series hybrid system to the United States. Unlike a conventional hybrid, e-Power drivetrains use an internal combustion engine to generate electricity for an exceptionally small battery. However, the gas-burner doesn’t also drive the wheels — it only runs at a constant speed to charge the battery pack. All propulsion is handled by an electric motor, making the internal combustion unit a full-time “range extender.”

According to the automaker, the end result is a car with the characteristics of a battery-electric vehicle with an exceptional range and no slow-charging plug-in requirements. Cars using the e-Power system don’t even come with an electrical port. Nissan was spotted testing a few Notes equipped with the system last year in Michigan — presumably to get them ready for the North American market. But, despite e-Power seeming like the perfect way to create a low-cost EV (the bizarro hybrid Note retails for $19,000 in Japan), executives are suggesting the technology will initially arrive on higher-priced nameplates.

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Nissan's 'e-Power' Hybrid System is a Strange Combination of Good and Evil

Nissan has created a strange new backwards working hybrid powerplant that includes an internal combustion engine but doesn’t use it to drive the wheels at all.

It’s called e-Power, it’s going to be in the Japanese-market Note first, and it’s essentially a Nissan Leaf that you don’t ever plug in. It also keeps the oil companies somewhat happy. Allow me to explain…

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Review: 2014 Nissan Versa Note (With Video)

Making a “cheap” car is a tried and true formula for most auto makers. Making a car with a low sticker and a solid value proposition is tough. Not only do you have to keep the starting price low, but you have to worry about fuel economy, maintenance, insurance and everything that goes into an ownership experience. Reviewing cars that focus heavily on value is even trickier. Indeed a number of buff-book journalists were offended by the Versa Sedan’s plastics, lack of features and small engine. My response was simple: what do you expect of the cheapest car in America? Trouble is, the Versa Note isn’t the cheapest hatchback in America, so this review is about that elusive quality: value.

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First Drive: 2014 Nissan Versa Note Hatchback (Video)

I seem to be the only car guy with a soft spot for the Versa. My peers at Car and Driver, Consumer Reports and Autoblog (among others) came off less than impressed by the least expensive car in America when we were all invited to its launch. That left me scratching my head. S o I borrowed another one and came to the same conclusion: “Versa delivers a totally unobjectionable experience at a very compelling price.” This apparent disconnect bothered me for a while but I wrote it off as a “lack of perspective” suffered by my peers in the biz. Seriously guys, what do you expect out of the cheapest car in America? The new 2014 Versa Note however isn’t the cheapest car in America, nor is it the cheapest hatch in America. How does it stack up? Nissan flew me to San Diego to find out.

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  • Arthur Dailey In Ontario 'distracted driving rules apply' . In Ontario while driving or stopped in traffic including at a red light or a stop sign it is illegal to i) use a phone or other hand-held wireless communication device to text or dial – you can only touch a device to call 911 in an emergency, ii) use a hand-held electronic entertainment device, such as a tablet or portable gaming console iii) view display screens unrelated to driving, such as watching a video program or a GPS device. In fact, simply holding a phone or other device while driving is against the law. – Government of Ontario website.Other examples of distracted driving may also include: personal grooming, eating or drinking, tending to children or pets. From Campisi LLP.
  • Theflyersfan $25,000 for an out of warranty VW Golf wagon. Make peace with the deity of your choice and do it soon because the world is set to come to an end any minute now.Being hauled on a flatbed doesn't rack up any miles so I guess that explains the 29,000 mile number. But at least it's a stick shift so would someone brave in the greater Columbus area take a chance? Just keep dry towels in the car to mop up all of the water that is bound to make an entrance sometime soon and wreck the interior. And get a AAA membership.
  • Slap I've got a red 2019 Alltrack S manual. Chose the S so I wouldn't have to deal with the potential leaks from the panoramic sunroof in the SE and SEL. So far it's been a great car - handles well and carries all of my stuff.
  • Arthur Dailey @Jeff, I agree completely. However those who are 'younger' than us and were not driving during that era do not seem to understand how the market viewed different brands or what consumers valued back in the late 1960s and the 1970s.
  • FreedMike Paging Corey...