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Nissan

Nissan hits a new high note in efficiency with supercharged supermini

“We’ve used design and engineering innovation to make premium technologies accessible to everyone."

Geraldine Ingham
Chief Marketing Manager, Nissan Europe

Background

Since the introduction of the first “supermini” concept vehicle in 1957, car makers and consumers have embraced the idea of getting more for less when it comes to vehicle size and performance.

The supermini segment has accelerated over the last few decades, and today many of the best-selling vehicles in Europe – where it’s known as the B segment – and around the world are superminis. These popular hatchbacks, which range in length from 3700 mm to 4200 mm, are becoming more spacious, versatile and increasingly fun to drive.

Nissan Motor Co. is leading the way, developing and producing a range of global small cars including the Note (Versa Note in the U.S.), Micra and Juke. Nearly one million first-generation Notes have been sold worldwide since Nissan launched the vehicle in 2005.

Challenges

Growing concern about fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions has caused a global shift toward smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. New regulations around the world mandate dramatically improved fuel efficiency and lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for all future vehicles – including the already efficient supermini class.

However, motorists don’t want to sacrifice power, driveability, comfort, safety or other amenities. As a result, automakers and their suppliers are challenged with developing ever-lighter vehicles, more sophisticated powertrain systems and other techniques to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions.

Solution

Nissan is committed to reducing greenhouse emissions and continues to develop innovative products to help improve vehicle fuel efficiency. The strategy includes emerging technologies such as hybrids, pure electric vehicles and fuel cell power, as well as continually enhancing the efficiency of traditional internal combustion engines.

In addition to its own engineers and scientists, Nissan works with key supplier partners to develop a host of advanced technologies. This approach is exemplified by Nissan’s new 1.2-liter, three-cylinder engine that is teamed with Eaton’s high efficiency TVS (Twin Vortices Series) supercharger. The combination provides the fuel economy of a small diesel engine with the driveability and performance of a midsize, four-cylinder gasoline engine.

Eaton’s TVS supercharger features twin four-lobe rotors that are twisted 160-degrees in place of previous systems that used three lobes twisted 60 degrees. When combined with redesigned air inlet and outlet ports, the fourth lobe and added twist of the advanced intermeshing, high-speed rotor design creates a smooth, highly efficient flow of air directly into the engine’s intake system to generate more power as well as improve noise and vibration characteristics

Results

In late 2012, Nissan launched the second-generation Note supermini in Japan; the car was introduced in Europe in September 2013. The new Note, which is built at Nissan plants in Japan and the U.K., features a sporty design and a host of advanced safety systems. It is available with a choice of three fuel-efficient engines – including the supercharged DIG-S model.

Although slightly larger, the new Note is lighter and more efficient than its predecessor. The Eaton supercharger boosts power and low-end torque that drivers want, while enabling the use of a smaller, more efficient engine.

"The new Note fulfills a really important role in our product portfolio, combining smart design with purposeful technology that has never been offered in the B-segment before," said Geraldine Ingham, chief marketing manager for Nissan in Europe. “We’ve used design and engineering innovation to make premium technologies accessible to everyone.”

Producing just 99g/km of CO2, the supercharged Note mated to a continuously variable transmission is one of the cleanest gasoline-powered cars in the world and qualifies for low-emissions financial incentives in several European countries, making the car even more attractive to consumers. To further boost fuel economy and reduce engine friction, the supercharger is equipped with an electronic clutch system that allows it to be disconnected from the engine while driving at low speeds.

Eaton is the worldwide leader in original equipment supercharger solutions. In addition to boosting engine performance and low-end torque, Eaton superchargers can provide up to a five percent fuel savings and reduce emissions compared with competing technologies.