Nissan said it has achieved a 50 percent thermal efficiency for its next-generation e-Power hybrid technology. According to RoadShow, most modern gasoline engines have a thermal efficiency of around 40 percent.
That means that only 40 percent of the energy they create upon burning fuel is transformed into motion. The rest eventually becomes waste, like heat and emissions, which means that its technology can possibly lead to lower emissions.
Nissan was able to achieve higher thermal efficiency because its e-Power system does not work like the conventional gas engines we have around. It does not power the car itself and rather acts as a dedicated electricity generator for the technology’s e-powertrain.
What this means is that the engine can run at its most efficient range all the time, allowing it to efficiently burn a more diluted air-fuel mixture at a high compression ratio. In other conventional engines, the air-fuel dilution is different depending mainly on various operational conditions.
Toshihiro Hirai, who’s the senior vice president of Nissan’s powertrain and EV engineering division, said,
“It took 50 years to increase thermal efficiency (of conventional engines) from 30% to 40%. But with e-Power, we can increase it to 50% in several years. That has been the target for the engineering community,” he said, describing that level as the “ultimate, challenging goal’.”
Nissan had initially said that it’s working to have an electrified version of all its new models in major markets by the early 2030s and that it’s hoping to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. “Nissan’s electrification strategy promotes the development of e-powertrains and high-performance batteries for EVs, with e-Power representing another important strategic pillar,” Hirai said.
Nissan hasn’t really disclosed when it would launch the e-Power system with 50 percent efficiency, but the automaker launched the all-new Note powered by the current version of e-Power in Japan in December 2020.