Nissan Looks to Expand Electric Vehicle Powertrains With e-4ORCE Platform
Now that electric vehicles have been on the market for a few cars, automakers are finally figuring out what consumers want. Tesla led the way forward with its high-tech powertrains that have come to include dual-motor setups (one electric motor on each axle) and all-wheel drive. Other automakers have been slow to introduce similar platforms. But Nissan's looking to change that for mainstream automakers in the near future.
Nissan Unveils High-Tech EV Platform
At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Nissan unveiled a new platform for future electric cars. The platform has a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive layout that's capable of providing "instant torque to all four wheels." The system is called "e-4ORCE," which is a fun way of explaining the platform's underpinnings. "E" most likely stands for electric, "4" refers to all-wheel drive, and "force," in Nissan's words, "evokes physical power."
The powertrain is a major step toward the future for Nissan's upcoming electric vehicles. Ever since Nissan unveiled the first Leaf back in 2010, the EV has always been a one-motor, front-wheel-drive vehicle. This signifies that Nissan's been working on ways to make its future electric vehicles more performance-oriented and capable.
"The e-4ORCE twin-motor all-wheel control technology offers precise handling and stability, which gives drivers greater confidence and even more excitement than ever before," said Takao Asami, Nissan's senior vice president of research and advanced engineering. "This technology enables excellent cornering performance and traction on slippery surfaces and comfortable ride for all passengers."
Nissan states that the e-4ORCE platform utilizes lessons the automaker learned from the brand's other high-tech all-wheel-drive systems, like the ones found in the Nissan GT-R sports car and Patrol SUV. While those vehicles have all-wheel-drive systems that are meant to improve performance (on a track for the GT-R and during off-roading for the Patrol), the e-4ORCE platform is for smoothness and stability.
Ride Comfort Comes First
According to Nissan, ride comfort was the primary focal point for the automaker with the electric platform. The e-4ORCE is all about maximizing ride comfort with its ability to minimize vehicle pitch and dive under acceleration and braking. This is done by allowing both motors to use regenerative braking. Thanks to this, stop-and-go traffic is supposedly less jostling and probably less nauseating, too. Also, Nissan claims that "motor control is optimized" on rough roads to ensure that irregular movements are kept to a minimum for maximum ride comfort. Nissan didn't provide more information on this specific area, but it sounds like the electric motors will cut power if the suspension senses rough roads.
Of course, capability in inclement weather conditions will surely improve over front-wheel-drive electric cars with the introduction of all-wheel drive. Range will probably go up, as well, though Nissan hasn't commented on that aspect. When the vehicle does make its way into a production vehicle, we expect to see something higher than 226 miles of range, which is what the Leaf S Plus is capable of getting.
Apparently, the first vehicle to come with Nissan's new e-4ORCE platform will be the production version of the Ariya Concept that was showcased at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show. Nissan will also have an Ariya Concept with the e-4ORCE platform on display at CES, too.
This isn't the first time we've heard of a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive platform from Nissan. Last October, Nissan unveiled a new platform in a Leaf test vehicle that had 304 horsepower and 501 pound-feet of torque. That's much more than what the current Leaf Plus has, which is 214 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque.
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