Nissan was the leader in EV sales with its Leaf, but it has recently lost its crown with the introduction of the more flexible Chevy Volt. The redesign and the added EV range of the newest Volt set things back even further for the Japanese automaker. Today, Automotive News reports that Nissan is set to address this fall from the throne with a new range-extender before the end of the fiscal year—Nissan’s fiscal year ends on March 31st, 2017.
This new system, which Nissan has dubbed e-Power, will use an updated battery for extra EV range and a gasoline-fueled engine to extend its overall driving range. This system doesn’t seem overly innovative as it is the same basic concept as the Volt—the driver charges their battery and once it is depleted, the engine kicks in to charge the battery and run the electric motor—but Nissan may have a few extra tricks up its sleeve to separate the e-Power setup from the Volt’s powertrain.
If this system sounds familiar, it should. It was the same hybrid powertrain that Nissan installed in its Gripz concept crossover at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show.
There are no details on exactly what vehicle will get this new powertrain, but Nissan CEO, Carlos Ghosn, said that it will debut in a “new compact car” in Japan first. With a successful launch in its home country, we should see this new model make its way to the U.S. shortly after.
We’ll continue monitoring this developing situation and bring you updates as they become available.