Nissan Testing Electric AWD Powertrain

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Nissan is testing a two-motor, electric AWD powertrain that produces more than 500 pound-feet of torque.


Japanese brand Nissan has announced development of a twin-motor, electric all-wheel-drive powertrain for its future vehicle portfolio, and is currently testing it in a car based on the current-generation Nissan LEAF PLUS.

Using front and rear electric motors, the system benefits from all-wheel control technology, which will not only enhance grip and stability in poor weather conditions and in winter, but it also provide greater cornering and braking performance. In addition, the automaker claims vehicle pitch and dive are reduced thanks to four-wheel regenerative braking, and the ride quality will also improve thanks to optimal motor control.

“Soon, Nissan will launch a next-generation EV that will be a true breakthrough,” stated Takao Asami, senior vice president for research and development and advanced engineering at Nissan. So far, this electric-vehicle powertrain produces a combined 304 horsepower (227 kW) and 501 pound-feet of torque (680 Nm).

2019 Tokyo Motor Show : The Nissan Ariya Electric Crossover Concept

The test LEAF equipped with Nissan’s electric AWD powertrain was upgraded with a slightly elevated ride height and fender flares to accommodate the widened track. Tire size on the test car is 215/55R17 up front and 235/50R17 at the rear, compared to the regular Nissan LEAF’s 215/50R17 tires—or 205/55R16 tires on base trim levels. A 12.3-inch screen was mounted inside the car which displays real-time information on the electric powertrain at work and how all four wheels are responding to road conditions.

Through the first half of 2019, Nissan LEAF sales in Canada were down 39% compared to the previous year, but their truck and SUV sales were up 6% despite an aging product lineup. We’d be really surprised to see this powertrain appear in a production LEAF, yet it should only be a matter of time before we see EV crossovers in the company’s product range, as evidenced by the reveal of the Nissan Ariya Electric Crossover Concept unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show.

A future Mitsubishi EV SUV, which should arrive within a few years, might also benefit from Nissan’s electric AWD powertrain, as it has been confirmed that they will share platforms for their future vehicles.

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