Nissan's new electrified crossover concept, the IMq, offers a glimpse of how the brand's e-Power hybrid system might be marketed overseas.
The IMq concept, unveiled last week in Geneva, shares many of the styling cues from previous show cars in Nissan's emerging IM series. But unlike the IMx crossover concept shown at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2017, or the IMx high-riding sedan concept shown at the Detroit show in January, the IMq is not a pure electric concept.
The IMq is instead positioned with Nissan's next-generation e-Power setup, a range-extender hybrid system it is already selling briskly in Japan and will bring to other markets. Indeed, Nissan said in Geneva it will bring the technology to Europe by 2022.
E-Power gets a small gasoline engine that acts as a generator to produce electricity for the vehicle's electric motor.
The engine doesn't directly turn the wheels. The electric motor does, providing the instant, linear acceleration of a pure EV.
E-Power is already offered as an option in Japan in the Note compact car and Serena family van.
In Geneva last week, Nissan said the IMq "pushes the boundaries of what a European crossover can be."
The concept gives a hint to what could be an electrified next-generation Qashqai, Nissan's best-selling nameplate in Europe. The Qashqai is sold as the Rogue Sport in the U.S., and Nissan has said it wants to export e-Power from Japan to the rest of the world, possibly ramping up its size for bigger vehicles.
"Now we start showing what e-Power means. For us, e-Power is part of electrification," the Japanese carmaker's global design chief, Alfonso Albaisa, said ahead of the unveiling.
The concept is envisioned delivering total output of 250 kilowatts. The powertrain would combine a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine with a multimotor all-wheel-drive layout. It is also an important technology in Nissan's global electrification plans.
Last year, Nissan said it will launch eight new electrified vehicles in a push to hit annual sales of 1 million battery-powered vehicles by 2022. Nissan's sales goal includes pure electrics and hybrids.
Nissan Chief Planning Officer Philippe Klein has said e-Power technology will make it to America as an option on high-end vehicles.
Still unclear is when it will arrive and in which brands. But Nissan Motor Co. CEO Hiroto Saikawa said last year that the Infiniti premium brand will begin offering e-Power in the near future.