Nissan is expected to give its incredibly popular Qashqai SUV a new design and two new hybrid powertrain options in 2020, according to information obtained exclusively by Auto Express.
- Nissan Qashqai (2017) review: Is the original SUV crossover still the best?
- Nissan's ProPILOT autonomous technology arrives on the Qashqai
The car magazine reveals Nissan won't launch an all-electric version of the Qashqai, that will be reserved for an all-new SUV model instead, but diesel power will likely eventually be dropped. Nissan's new all-electric SUV model will be based on a new platform architecture that will be used a complete new family of all-electric vehicles. Ponz Pandikuthira, vice-president of product planning for Nissan Europe told Auto Express: "It [The new Qashqai] probably won’t include full electrification, because that’s a complete tear-up and the investment required for that would be considerably higher."
The new Qashqai meanwhile will be based on the Common Module Family architecture that's shared with its Alliance partners Renault and Mitsubishi. This platform is one that is designed to accommodate hybrid technology.
The two hybrid systems for the Qashqai will include Nissan's ePower system, that can currently be found in the Nissan Note in Japan, and a plug-in hybrid system developed by Mitsubishi. Speaking about the ePower system, Pandikuthira said: "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."
He added that plug-in hybrid models are only a stop-gap between combustion and all-electric power, but Nissan wants to wait for battery prices to come down to make them a truly viable option for consumers. However he implies the Qashqai is unlikely to get pure electric power: "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."
The new model, expected on roads in 2020, will sport a new design, which Auto Express has obtained exclusive images of. The overall length should remain the same at 4.4-metres, but it has a slightly more aggressive front grille and a more slanted roof at the rear. It should also get an updated version of Nissan's ProPILOT autonomous technology system and greater connectivity options.