Nissan is getting ready to welcome its rival to Toyota’s strong-selling hybrid system in Australia.

    The first e-Power car in Australia is likely to be the compact Nissan Qashqai SUV, set to touch down locally late in 2022.

    The current model is a top-three seller for Nissan Australia and a stalwart in the competitive world of compact crossovers, making it a logical place for ePower to feature.

    It blends an electric motor making 140kW and 330Nm with a 1.5-litre petrol engine making 115kW.

    The larger X-Trail is also expected to be available with e-Power in Japan, although it’s not yet clear whether the unique hybrid setup will be offered Down Under.

    Nissan Australia managing director Stephen Lester has previously told CarExpert a third of the Nissan range will be electrified by 2022.

    “We see e-Power playing a key role in that,” Mr Lester said, “with the benefit of an EV’s quiet operation, instant torque and smooth operation.

    “Then when you marry that up with e-Power fuel efficiency with a lack of range anxiety, fully electric to the wheels, gives us a great start for overall electrification.”

    Debuted in Japan, the ePower system pairs a small petrol engine with an electric motor like a Toyota hybrid – but the petrol engine isn’t used to drive the wheels.

    Instead, it acts as a generator to top up the lithium-ion battery pack feeding the electric motor.

    It’s a form of range extender Nissan says brings the best of both worlds: smooth, quiet progress from the electric motor and efficient, long-range cruising thanks to the petrol generator.

    Japanese sales this week topped 500,000 on the back of strong demand for the Note hatchback.

    It launched in 2016, followed by e-Power versions of the Serena minivan and Kicks SUV in 2018.

    Toyota dominates hybrid sales in Australia. It now offers hybrid versions of its Yaris and Yaris Cross, Corolla, C-HR, RAV4, and Camry.

    A hybrid version of the new Kluger seven-seater will arrive in 2021, while the next-generation LandCruiser is expected to offer hybrid power as well.

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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