40 percent less consumption?
Nissan Juke Hybrid: slightly different hybrid drive
So far, if you wanted to buy a Nissan Juke, there was only one engine to choose from. The Japanese automaker is now expanding its range with hybrid drive. This should reduce consumption in the city by up to 40%.
When it comes to electric mobility, Nissan is undoubtedly one of the pioneers. Although the Leaf, which has been around for ten years, hasn’t gone very far in favor of the public. Zar, the compact model was sometimes the best-selling electric car, but probably also due to the lack of competition. Meanwhile, the Leaf is already in its second generation. On the local streets, however, it has not yet made itself visible. Believing in pure electric mobility, Nissan engineers have so far paid little attention to plug-in hybrid technology. Only thanks to the alliance with Renault did things move. Together they developed a hybrid transmission, in which Nissan supplied the combustion engine plus electric motor and the French partner supplied a starter generator and gearbox. Together they created an electrified unit with unprecedented technology.
The hybrid package is already installed in the Renault Captur. Nissan will use it in the Juke starting in the fall. Both models are based on a common platform. The Juke is therefore the first Nissan vehicle in Europe on the road as a hybrid and, together with the Captur, meets competitors such as the Hyundai Kona and the Toyota Yaris Cross.
Isn’t an electric motor enough?
Under the hood of the Juke is a 1.6-liter petrol engine (without turbo) and two electric motors. We rightly ask ourselves: is this not enough? Answer: The engineers wanted to do without a separation clutch between the combustion engine and transmission. To do this, they worked closely with their Renault colleagues in Formula 1. A 20 HP starter generator and a 52 HP central, so-called HPM (High Powerful Motor) were installed. The smallest has the task of starting the 94 HP four-cylinder, bringing it to a certain speed in order to synchronize it with the corresponding gear.
This combination of electric motors and gears allows the Juke to be operated in series, in parallel or in a combination of both. Overall, the Juke has a system output of 143 hp. This is 25 percent more than the small turbocharged gasoline engine, which remains in the program.
Higher performance – but no higher consumption
Higher performance is not synonymous with higher consumption. Indeed, thanks to electrification and skilful handling of driving – the starter is always electric – the engineers have managed to reduce the thirst of the Juke by a good 20 percent. Nissan even promises up to 40 percent for pure city traffic, because more than two-thirds of the petrol engine’s driving time shouldn’t be used at all.
The braking energy recovered also plays its part in low fuel consumption, 5.0 liters per 100 kilometers according to the WLTP cycle. The deceleration has been designed in such a way that normal car drivers are accustomed to petrol or diesel engines when they take their foot off the accelerator. If you want to gain a little more power and decelerate more, press the E-Pedal button on the center console.
The hitherto unique hybrid engine-transmission technology has another advantage besides good efficiency: the Juke does not exhibit the “howl” (springy effect) that can otherwise be heard when the speed and gear ratio do not perfectly match acoustically during vigorous acceleration. The combined traction spontaneously reacts to the gas and gleefully pulls away. At higher speeds, however, the four-cylinder clearly draws attention to itself.
It is all the more surprising how everything runs smoothly with a defensive driving style, the system switches almost imperceptibly between the electric motor and the combustion engine, always aiming to be as economical as possible on the road. Using the EV switch, the Juke can also be driven several kilometers purely electrically, depending on the charge level of the battery.
However, the hybrid drive has another positive side effect. It gives the Juke more sovereignty and reduces the stress level, especially in the city. This makes the car look more mature than its class (B segment) suggests.
But there is also a drop of bitterness: the Juke Hybrid costs at least 3400 euros more than the comparably equipped petrol engine. So it takes a long time for the surcharge to be offset by the saved fuel consumption. And compromises have to be made in the trunk, as the battery is under the floor. This reduces the cargo space from 422 to just 354 liters.