COVER Hy­brid tech for next Qashqai

Ex­clu­sive images pre­view sleek makeover for hit Nis­san Cross­over line-up to fea­ture two new hy­brid pow­er­trains

Auto Express - - CONTENTS - Steve_­fowler@den­ @steve­fowler Steve Fowler

Nis­san aims high with next ver­sion of its fam­ily SUV

NIS­SAN’S next-gen­er­a­tion Qashqai, due in show­rooms in 2020, will fea­ture two new hy­brid sys­tems plus a sleek de­sign makeover, Auto Ex­press can ex­clu­sively re­veal.

How­ever, there won’t be a pure­elec­tric ver­sion, while Nis­san is also con­sid­er­ing ditch­ing diesel from what is cur­rently the UK’S third best-sell­ing car.

Full elec­tric power will be re­served for a sep­a­rate SUV model based on an all­new plat­form. It’s likely to un­der­pin a whole fam­ily of elec­tric cars span­ning B, C and D seg­ments (ev­ery­thing from Juke to X-trail) for Nis­san and its Al­liance part­ners Re­nault and Mit­subishi.

The next Qashqai, pre­viewed by our ex­clu­sive images, will be based on a new ver­sion of the Al­liance’s CMF (Com­mon Mod­ule Fam­ily) plat­form ar­chi­tec­ture that can ac­com­mo­date hy­brid tech.

Speak­ing ex­clu­sively to Auto Ex­press, Ponz Pandikuthira, vice-pres­i­dent of prod­uct plan­ning for Nis­san Europe, said: “We are look­ing at a new plat­form be­cause that’s what’s best to ac­com­mo­date elec­tri­fied tech­nolo­gies.

“It prob­a­bly won’t in­clude full elec­tri­fi­ca­tion, be­cause that’s a com­plete tear-up and the in­vest­ment re­quired for that would be con­sid­er­ably higher.”

The Qashqai is likely to of­fer two forms of hy­brid – one fea­tur­ing Nis­san’s in­no­va­tive epower sys­tem, plus plugin hy­brid power from Mit­subishi.

An epower en­gine can cur­rently be found in the Nis­san Note in Japan, where it’s proven pop­u­lar. Its se­ries hy­brid sys­tem fea­tures a petrol en­gine that works as a gen­er­a­tor to charge a bat­tery that then pow­ers an e-mo­tor.

“We’re in­ves­ti­gat­ing the epower tech­nol­ogy for Europe,” ex­plained Pandikuthira. “The big­gest dif­fer­ence when you do these on­board gen­er­a­tor ve­hi­cles is high­way driv­ing; in Japan, they typ­i­cally don’t go above 50-65mph.

“Here in Europe, you do 80-85mph on a reg­u­lar

ba­sis. At those speeds, you end up de­plet­ing the bat­tery very quickly, so the range ex­ten­der has to work re­ally hard to keep the en­ergy go­ing and then it goes out of its range of ef­fi­ciency.” Plug-in hy­brid tech will come from Mit­subishi, widely ac­cepted as a leader in the tech­nol­ogy, thanks in part to the so­phis­ti­cated ECUS from Mit­subishi Elec­tron­ics. Un­like ri­vals, Mit­subishi has al­ready man­aged to tweak its Out­lander PHEV to pro­duce fig­ures be­low 50g/km CO2 un­der the new, tighter WLTP test­ing regime. It’s ex­pected the new Qashqai will of­fer sim­i­lar fig­ures. Pandikuthira isn’t con­vinced about the ben­e­fits of plug-in hy­brids, how­ever. He told us: “We’re not pur­su­ing a big plug-in hy­brid strat­egy. On some car lines we’ll try it out, but the busi­ness case for plug-in hy­brids is not very good. For us, it’s a bridge tech­nol­ogy for the next two to four years un­til bat­tery costs drop to the point where the vari­able costs of mak­ing full EVS pre­vail.”

With two hy­brid mod­els in the next Qashqai, in­sid­ers have hinted that it’s likely to spell the end of diesel power in Nis­san’s SUV, as diesel sales are down nearly 32 per cent so far this year.

The new car will fea­ture more tech­nol­ogy, with up­dates to the Propilot au­ton­o­mous sys­tems and greater con­nec­tiv­ity.

Re­gard­ing the styling of the next Qashqai, we ex­pect it to adopt a revo­lu­tion­ary new look, pre­viewed in our images, but it isn’t ex­pected to get any big­ger, with Pandikuthira say­ing: “You’ll no­tice with [the last] Qashqai, we left it at 4.4 me­tres. We didn’t grow it into a big, bloated ve­hi­cle.”

Fol­low­ing the next Qashqai into deal­ers will be Nis­san’s pure-elec­tric SUV. Pandikuthira added: “When you de­velop an elec­tric car from the ground up to be elec­tric, you make fun­da­men­tally dif­fer­ent choices to make a more ef­fi­cient elec­tric car. If we took a Qashqai and made it elec­tric, which we could, you in­tro­duce com­pro­mises. It will nei­ther be an ef­fi­cient in­ter­nal com­bus­tion-en­gined car even if it were a hy­brid, nor would it be the best elec­tric ve­hi­cle.”

STYLING Our images give glimpse of de­sign cues new car is set to take from IMX SUV con­cept

Lat­est Qashqai plat­form will ac­com­mo­date hy­brid en­gine tech Avar­varii

City-friendly di­men­sions of the cur­rent Qashqai are ex­pected to be car­ried over

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