Nissan will plunge further into electrification with the debut of the Juke e-Power concept, set to be unveiled at the Tokyo auto show this fall. With the current Juke now seven years old, the new concept is said to have an exterior modeled after the radical Gripz SUV-style concept first seen in 2015 and pictured here. The concept also will feature an unusual hybrid powertrain borrowed from the Note e-Power production subcompact.
Launched late last year in Japan, the e-Power is a series hybrid that pairs a 1.2-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine with a power generator and inverter, which gets its electricity from using the engine as a generator for the car’s electric motor. What’s interesting about this new powertrain is that, despite effectively being an electric car with a gasoline generator, it doesn’t have the option of being recharged from the grid, as it has no plug-in port. Instead, it relies wholly on the engine for electricity.
While this may seem strange given the proliferation of plug-in hybrids such as the Chevrolet Volt and the Toyota Prius Prime, this new system doesn’t have much battery to charge. The battery pack will be around 1/20 the size of that in the Leaf. The main advantage here is that the battery doesn’t intrude on interior space, since it’s neatly packaged underneath the front seats. It may not have the zing of an out-and-out sports car, but this Juke concept should have the instantaneous response of an electric vehicle. Expect a price of around $20,000, when the Juke e-Power eventually reaches the market. Whether that market will include the United States is unclear, as the U.S. currently doesn’t get the Note e-Power, although we are a prime outlet for the current Juke.