Electric Vehicles

Everything you need to know about Nissan e-4ORCE all-wheel drive technology

Look for Nissan's new all-wheel drive technology to come to the U.S. soon.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Nissan Leaf is one of the best-selling electric vehicles on the planet. But since it was introduced in 2010, a lot has changed. The EV landscape isn't as stodgy as it used to be. Buyers are seeking range, engaging drive dynamics, and assured footing. New technology from Nissan, called e-4ORCE, raises the bar for the automaker on much of what the modern EV audience is seeking.

How does it work? Which vehicles will it be applied to? When is it coming to market? Scroll down to learn everything you need to know about Nissan e-4ORCE.

It's pronounced "force".

Nissan says that they choose the moniker because "4" represents driving that is powered by all four wheels.

The technology is basically electronic all-wheel drive.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

All-wheel drive and four-wheel drive aren't the same thing, despite their names giving you the impression that they likely are. All-wheel drive is optimized for on-road use while four-wheel drive is designed to take on more challenging drive situations in addition to driving on the street.

It consists of not one, but two electric motors.

Until now, Nissan EVs have all used a single electric motor, typically for front-wheel drive. This new system uses two electric motors.

It delivers "instant torque" but it's not like Tesla's Ludacrous mode.

Nissan claims that the car's system allows for each wheel to receive "instant torque". This isn't unusual with electric vehicles.

The company says that the system will strike a, "balance between powerful performance and unprecedented control – delivering excitement at the push of the accelerator while still ensuring comfort for everyone in the car." In other words, don't expect to be thrown back in your seat.

Nissan relays that where the technology shines isn't when moving off the line, but rather when the driver has to react to an obstacle in the road. That's when, Nissan says, "The system manages and conveys the driver's intentions and expectations smoothly and efficiently." That reaction by the car to humans input is three times faster than the blink of an eye.

The system defaults to a 50-50 distribution.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

In traditional driving circumstances, the system defaults to a 50-50 power split between the car's front and rear wheels. But, when needed, the system can distribute up to 100 percent of the power to either the front or the back.

It can recapture energy through regenerative braking.

Regenerative braking is important part of maximizing electric vehicle range. The e-4ORCE system is able to manage braking to each wheel, including the ability to take advantage of regenerative braking technology to slow the vehicle. The two technologies are designed to work together to reduce the vehicle's pitch and dive.

The system isn't just about grip.

E-4ORCE is able to stabilize the car while it's moving power to the appropriate wheels. This means that the car shouldn't lean as much as a traditional vehicle when drivers quickly maneuver around obstacles.

We've already seen it in action.

Nissan brought the technology, while it was in development, to the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show and CES.

It's coming in the Ariya.

Nissan Ariya Concept

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Ariya will be Nissan's all-electric SUV. It was teased first as a concept car then last week as one of Nissan's 12 forthcoming models in the next 18 months.

Learn more about the system by watching the video below from Nissan.

Nissan's e-4ORCE technology: enhancing EV driving performance www.youtube.com

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All-electric MINIs account for 10 percent of all MINI sales.

Photo courtesy of MINI

MINI is a tiny car company with big plans. The automaker is planning to realign their model range focusing on improving drivetrain technology, vehicle segments, and services of the future. Committing to the crossover and premium compact segments and strengthening the company's market position in China are also on the roster. The heart of those plans is a shift toward electromobility.

"MINI was always the answer to very special challenges relating to individual mobility. And the willingness to reinvent the status quo continues to shape the brand to this day," commented Bernd Körber, Head of MINI. "Alongside electromobility, harnessing new target groups and sales markets will be crucially important for the future of MINI."

1959 Morris Mini-Minor MINI's history goes back a long time. Here, the 1959 Morris Mini-Minor.Photo courtesy of MINI

In the 20 years since the brand was relaunched, around four million vehicles have been produced at MINI's plan in Oxford, England. and delivered to more than 100 countries across the world.

The MINI lineup is now broader than ever before. The roster has expanded include the MINI Countryman in a very competitive vehicle class. About 40 percent of all the brand's vehicles sold across the world, are in this class. John Cooper Works versions of the cars account for approximately five percent of the total sales of the MINI brand. Electrified models are steadily gaining in popularity, traditionally amounting to five percent of the brand's total sales. That number jumped to 10 percent following the launch of the MINI Electric.

MINI has hinted that more efficient combustion engines (diesel and petrol) and additional electric vehicles are in the future. A completely electrified model family is on the horizon.

"We are pursuing the Power of Choice approach followed by the BMW Group through our broad range of advanced petrol and diesel engines, the plug-in hybrid system and all-electric drive, in order to meet the needs and aspirations of our customers throughout the world," said Körber. "This enables us to create the conditions for further growth in global automobile markets."

The future core portfolio of all-electric vehicles will include the MINI 3-Door Hatch, a new crossover model in the small-car segment, and a compact crossover model. The brand's small-car models and a crossover model in the compact segment will be available with internal combustion engines.

The new crossover model will only be offered with an all-electric drivetrain. The next-generation Mini Countryman will be available with both combustion engines and an electrified drivetrain.

In light of the upcoming changes, MINI is promising that MINI models will not lose their identity.

"It is part of our responsibility to the brand and the community to preserve the unique character of MINI," says Bernd Körber. "That is why every new model from our brand in future will be unmistakably a MINI."

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Ram will welcome an electric member to its family in the future.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The 2022 GMC Hummer EV and all-electric Ford F-150 are coming soon. It would ludicrous to think that Ram wouldn't be joining the other two members of the Big Three in producing an electric pickup truck.

Today, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Mike Manley confirmed that one is in the works during the company's third-quarter earnings call. He provided no additional details.

In response to an industry analyst's question on the matter, Manley said, "I do see that there will be an electrified Ram pickup in the marketplace, and I would ask you just to stay tuned for a little while, and we'll tell you exactly when that will be."

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk The 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is one of the least fuel-efficient vehicles FCA makes, but the Ram TRX is even less efficient.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The confirmation was a strategic, given that just one quarter ago Manley more or less ducked the question saying "Obviously, pickup trucks is a key franchise for us, and we're not going to sit on the sideline if there is a danger that our position gets diluted going forward," during that quarter's earnings call.

Ram isn't just facing competition from General Motors and Ford. It also has pressure coming from startups including Rivian, which is currently tooling as it gears up to produce the R1T, and Lordstown Motors, which is substantially backed by GM, and already has 40,000 reservations for fleet vehicles. Tesla has promised that the Cybertruck will come to market.

FCA is more than a touch behind when it comes to electrification. Its U.S. lineup is aging with the mid-generation Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid as its only plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) currently on sale. Ram offers a few mild-hybrid engine options for buyers and the Maserati Ghibli Hybrid is on the horizon. The company recently debuted PHEV 4xe versions of the Jeep Wrangler, Compass, and Renegade but only the Wrangler 4xe will be sold in the U.S. in the coming year.

In the meantime, FCA continues to push out fuel inefficient vehicles for buyer consumption in the U.S. where emissions regulations are not as stringent as they are in Europe and China. This includes the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk (EPA-estimated 15 mpg combined) and Ram 1500 TRX (EPA-estimated 12 mpg combined).

The way forward for Ram may be complicated by the forthcoming FCA-PSA Groupe merger, which is set to be confirmed by the European Union in early 2021.

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