The automaker clearly wants to make electrified cars less boring.
As you may have heard, Nissan is making incredible breakthroughs with internal combustion engines, reducing emissions with the help of its e-Power system. This system consists of an onboard gasoline engine that charges a battery, which then powers the wheels via electric motors rather than a transmission. The result is that you get instant torque and less range anxiety - a win-win. But what of the way that the car feels? Well, e-Power systems should be pretty good to live with, since Naoki Nakada, the man who was in charge of developing the R35 GT-R's twin-turbo V6 engine, was also responsible for developing the electric powertrain in the Leaf and is now in charge of making sure that e-Power systems combine the best of both worlds.
Having worked on both types of propulsion systems, Nakada's most recent project was that of combining "the speed and power of a sports car with the torque-on-demand nature of an EV." Nakada says that a big part of why the GT-R has been so successful is the way that it feels when you're "putting it through its paces", and Nissan can't afford to lose that.
Nakada continues: "If we want to create a carbon-neutral society, we have to promote electric vehicles. An electric vehicle from Nissan should not only be environmentally friendly but also be fun and exciting to drive."
But no matter how an electrified vehicle feels, range anxiety is still an issue for many buyers, and realizing this, Nakada's vision was to develop an electrified powertrain "that combines the thrilling performance of an electric motor with the ease of ownership [that] a traditional internal combustion vehicle offers."
With the engine acting only as a power generator while the electric motors turn the wheels, Nissan claims that e-Power offers a good mix of the seamless acceleration offered by an EV without the worry of where the nearest charging station is. Without having someone like Nakada on the team, e-Power may well have been just another system that no gearhead cares about, but the future of fun - and clean - motoring looks bright.