It also aims to become carbon neutral by 2050.
Not all automakers are abandoning the internal combustion engine but are rather reinventing it to make it capable of meeting future emissions standards. Nissan is one of them with its updated e-Power hybrid system. In fact, Nissan calls this a "breakthrough" in engine efficiency because it has reached a 50 percent thermal efficiency. Thermal efficiency, for those who don't know, is the percentage of heat energy that is transformed into work. Toyota's Dynamic Force Engine, for example, has a 40 percent efficiency. Most internal combustion engines are only 20 percent thermally efficient.
"Nissan's latest approach to engine development has raised the bar to world-leading levels, accelerating past the current auto industry average range of 40 percent thermal efficiency, making it possible to even further reduce vehicle C02 emissions," the company said in a statement.
Nissan's latest e-Power system consists of an on-board gasoline engine to charge a battery that powers the wheels with electric motors instead of a transmission. Achieving that coveted 50 percent thermal efficiency was made possible with the newly developed STARC system, or "strong, tumble, and appropriately stretched robust ignition channel."
This system allows for improved thermal efficiency by strengthening in-cylinder gas flow, which is the air-fuel mixture that's pulled into the cylinder, and the ignition. The result is a more diluted air-fuel mixture at a higher compression ratio. Engineers were thus able to reach 46 percent thermal efficiency during testing, and the last 4 percent came from unspecified "waste heat recovery technologies."
The e-Power technology was first revealed back in 2016 though it has not yet appeared in a US-market vehicle. We fully expect this to change because Nissan has also announced a goal to become carbon neutral by 2050. As part of the plan, every new Nissan will be electrified in all key markets by the early 2030s.
No timeline was provided regarding when the latest e-Power tech will reach production, but we think it'll happen fairly soon. Could it potentially be used for the next-generation Nissan GT-R? Anything's possible but Nissan may instead prefer to utilize a pure battery-electric powertrain for its halo supercar.