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March 3, 2020

Forget the Nissan Leaf, the Kicks e-Power is What We Should be Excited About

Currently, Nissan is shifting its EV education campaign into high gear likely because of the impending launch of its first all-electric vehicle locally, the Leaf. Now, while that’s all good, my eyes are fixed squarely on what I think offers the best solution for our local road conditions: the Nissan Kicks e-Power.

If the Nissan Kicks sounds familiar, it should be. It’s the less funky, but more practical replacement to the sub-compact Juke. And given it’s been out globally since 2016, it’s also been a long time coming.

Well, patience is certainly a virtue. It’s been confirmed that Thailand will serve as the production hub for the Kicks for Southeast Asia, and get this: it’s launching there this March.

Now, it’s hard to imagine what gets me excited over a three-year old crossover, until the possibility of it being equipped with Nissan’s e-Power system.

I’ve tackled how the Nissan e-Power works before, but in gist:
The Nissan e-Power system differs from traditional hybrids or purely electric vehicles in that the system uses the gasoline engine solely as a power generator. This is then connected to an inverter, a battery, and an electric motor which drives the wheels.
Basically, it’s an EV without any plugging requirements or range anxiety. How cool’s that?

Now, Nissan hasn’t revealed much in way of mechanical details for the Kicks e-Power, but the likely candidate is the 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine (HR12DE) found in the Japan market Note e-Power. If that’s the case, expect the same electric motor—a 108 horsepower, 254 Nm of torque unit to make its way into the sub-compact SUV as well. If the Kicks e-Power performs the same as the Note e-Power, expect a fuel economy in the range of 37 km/L.

Along with the introduction of e-Power, Nissan is also giving the Kicks a mid-cycle refresh. This makes it a very opportune time for Nissan to bring it into the country.

As for pricing, because the e-Power system requires a much smaller battery than something in the Leaf (plus it’s sourced in ASEAN—free trade, anyone?), it could very well be positioned as the country’s most affordable “Electric Vehicle.” Sources say that the e-Power system adds about 17 percent to the cost of a similarly-priced version which could mean that the Kicks e-Power could come in at about P 1.2 million—the same price as the current Juke 1.6 with the NISMO body kit.

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