The super high-tech Nissan Qashqai is set to go hybrid in 2020
However, there won’t be a pure-electric version, while Nissan is also considering ditching diesel from what is currently the UK’s third best-selling car.
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Full electric power will be reserved for a separate SUV model based on an all-new platform. It’s likely to underpin a whole family of electric cars spanning B, C and D segments (everything from Juke to X-Trail) for Nissan and its Alliance partners Renault and Mitsubishi.
The next Qashqai, previewed in a series of exclusive images, will be based on a new version of the Alliance’s CMF (Common Module Family) platform architecture that can accommodate hybrid tech.
Speaking exclusively to our sister site, Auto Express, Ponz Pandikuthira, vice-president of product planning for Nissan Europe, said: “We are looking at a new platform because that’s what’s best to accommodate electrified technologies.
“It probably won’t include full electrification, because that’s a complete tear-up and the investment required for that would be considerably higher.”
The Qashqai is likely to offer two forms of hybrid – one featuring Nissan’s innovative ePower system, plus plug-in hybrid power from Mitsubishi.
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An ePower engine can currently be found in the Nissan Note in Japan, where it’s proven popular. Its series hybrid system features a petrol engine that works as a generator to charge a battery that then powers an e-motor.
“We’re investigating the ePower technology for Europe,” explained Pandikuthira. “The biggest difference when you do these onboard generator vehicles is highway driving; in Japan, they typically don’t go above 50-65mph.
“Here in Europe, you do 80-85mph on a regular basis. At those speeds, you end up depleting the battery very quickly, so the range extender has to work really hard to keep the energy going and then it goes out of its range of efficiency.”
Plug-in hybrid tech will come from Mitsubishi, widely accepted as a leader in the technology, thanks in part to the sophisticated ECUs from Mitsubishi Electronics. Unlike rivals, Mitsubishi has already managed to tweak its Outlander PHEV to produce figures below 50g/km CO2 under the new, tighter WLTP testing regime. It’s expected the new Qashqai will offer similar figures.