Nissan Philippines (NPI) took out all the stops when they introduced their last innovative electric vehicle (EV), the 2022 Nissan Kicks e-Power. On July 12, 2022, they invited members of the motoring media to the Clark International Speedway in Clark, Pampanga to experience the power and torque of the Kicks e-Power around the race track. Then, on August 1st, they took several motoring scribes for a long 500-kilometer-plus drive to Misibis Bay in the Bicol Region to experience its real-world driving characteristics.
After the Kicks e-Power was officially launched to the public on August 12th, NPI and their dealers wasted no time in showcasing their latest EV in their showrooms and displaying it in popular malls around major cities. As motoring scribes who have driven the Kicks from Metro Manila to Misibis Bay and back, we were really impressed with this EV that’s part of the Nissan Intelligent Mobility lineup. If you’re not sure of what Nissan’s new Kicks e-Power is all about, please allow us to tell you five things that it’s not and five things that it is.
WHAT IT’S NOT:
1. It is NOT a Hybrid.
Despite being classified by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) as a “hybrid” for registration purposes, it is not. Strictly speaking, it’s a battery electric vehicle (BEV) with a built-in onboard generator and inverter. The front wheels are powered by a 349-volt alternating current (AC) electric motor that gets electricity from a 213 kilowatt-hour (kWh) 96-cell lithium-ion battery pack.
2. Its gasoline engine is NOT connected to the drivetrain.
While the transverse-mounted gasoline 1.2-liter inline 3-cylinder internal combustion engine (ICE) under the hood looks like it drives the Kicks, it actually does not. Instead of driving the transmission, it drives a generator that charges the battery pack. While the gas engine is not connected to the drivetrain, it revs up to supply more direct current (DC) power through its inverter system and supplement the battery when the electric motor needs more power, such as in overtaking maneuvers and driving up steep hills.
3. It will NOT give range anxiety.
Even though the Kicks e-Power is a BEV, you don’t need to look for a charging station to recharge its battery. The gas engine acts as its onboard charger to keep the battery in optimum charge. Think of it like a mobile phone with a built-in charger so you’ll never have to look for an electric outlet to charge your phone. Thus, you won’t feel the dreaded “range anxiety”, which is the fear of the battery running out of power away from a charging station or a power outlet, especially since the local infrastructure to support electric mobility is not yet fully developed.
4. It is NOT complicated to drive.
Driving the Nissan Kicks e-Power is the same as driving any gas, diesel, or hybrid vehicle. You put fuel in the tank and drive anywhere you want to go. You may have to get used to its silent operation when the gas engine is off and the Kicks is running on electric power, but that’s all that’s different. The controls are the same – you grip a leather-covered 3-spoke D-shaped steering wheel that’s equipped with control buttons, there’s a modern shifter in the center console, and there is an accelerator pedal and a brake pedal on the floor. Of course, the Kicks has unique features and controls that’ll make the drive more convenient yet exciting while extending the range.
5. It is NOT difficult to maintain.
Like any other vehicle, the Kicks e-Power requires regular maintenance service that can be provided by the dealer. However, since it is a BEV, its maintenance schedule is not as often. Furthermore, the Kicks comes with Nissan’s 5-Year/150,000-kilometer warranty. The mechanical and electrical parts and components, including the e-Power unit (gas engine, electric motor, Li battery and inverter) are covered for 5 years or 150,000 kilometers, whichever comes first. The standard 3-year/100,000-kilometer warranty covers the body, paint and accessories. The Kicks’ comprehensive warranty coverage provides peace of mind and frees you from worrying about its high-tech components.
WHAT IT IS:
1. It is surprisingly quick.
The AC electric motor churns out 280 Newton-meters of torque to provide this compact crossover with exciting acceleration. With a curb weight of just 1,359 kilograms for the top-of-the-line VL variant, the Kicks e-Power literally accelerates with a powerful kick! On the long highways, it can cruise easily at the speed limit all day with 135 horsepower (136 PS) that gives it a power-to-weight ratio of 1:10 (1 PS for every 10 kg)!
2. It is surprisingly fun to drive.
With a well-tuned suspension consisting of McPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam system with stabilizer bar at the back, working in conjunction with the grippy 205/55R17 tires mounted on 5-spoke alloy wheels, the Kicks provides a supple, comfortable yet stable ride that is surprisingly fun to drive around twisty mountain roads. Its 2.6-meter wheelbase makes it agile and easy to maneuver while 4.3-meter length and 1.8-meter width makes it easy to navigate around narrow streets and crowded avenues. And with the Auto-Hold / e-Pedal system that provides regenerative braking to charge the battery during deceleration, the Kicks e-Power can be driven using only the accelerator pedal!
3. It is surprisingly economical.
Nissan claims that the Kicks e-Power can squeeze almost 900 kilometers out of its 41-liter fuel tank with an average fuel mileage of 22 kilometers per liter and we’re inclined to believe them. At one point during our drive to Misibis Bay, our trip computer showed that we had driven 378.9 kms from the Caltex service station in Mamplasan along the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and our tank was still 2/3 full of fuel with around 378 kms range. At another point, the trip computer showed a distance travelled of 473.4 kms with 1/3 tank and 284 kms range. That means that we can go 758 kilometers on one full tank with our decidedly spirited real-world driving!
4. It is environment-friendly.
As a global company with green initiatives, Nissan Motors is on the path to producing environment-friendly vehicles, and the Kicks e-Power is no exception. While not a pure Zero-emissions vehicle like their class-leading Nissan Leaf, the Kicks’ miserly consumption of fuel and mostly electric drive makes it friendlier to Mother Earth than the common gas- or diesel-powered vehicle. Instead of waiting for governments to complete the infrastructure to support zero-emissions electric mobility, Nissan wisely came out with a BEV equipped with an onboard charger that anyone can own and drive anywhere anytime right now!
5. It is surprisingly affordable.
The biggest surprise was the revelation of the Kicks e-Power’s suggested retail prices (SRP) by NPI President Señor Juan Manuel Hoyos. At just P1,209,000, the 2022 Nissan Kicks e-Power EL variant is the most affordable BEV in the market! Of course, if you want more features, you can step up to the mid-range P1,309,000 Kicks e-Power VE or you can go for the top-of-the-line P1,509,000 Kicks e-Power VL, which comes with two-tone paint (black roof) and an exclusive Premium Corona Orange color.
Whatever variant you choose, we’re sure that you’ll be amazed with this new member ofnt Mobility line-up. We loved driving it through the twisties around South Luzon and through the traffic around Metro Manila. We love the feeling of saving precious resources such as fuel and funds and we’d really love to do a long term-test on a Kicks e-Power, if NPI would let us.
Model: 2022 Nissan Kicks e-Power
Classification: FWD 5-door compact SUV
Price: P1,209,000 (EL) / P1,309,000 (VE) / P1,509,000 (VL)
Electric motor: 349 Volts
Maximum power: 135 hp (136 PS)
Maximum torque: 280 Nm
Battery: 96-cell 213 kWh lithium-ion
Gasoline engine: HR12DE inline 3-cylinder 12-vavle DOHC
Displacement: 1,198 cc
Fuel tank capacity: 41 liters
Transmission: Automatic single-speed gear reduction
Steering: Electronic power steering
Suspension: Independent, front McPherson struts, rear torsion beam
Brakes: Front ventilated discs, rear solid discs
Wheels: 17-inch 5-spoke 5-lug alloy
Wheelbase: 2620 mm
Overall length: 4300 mm
Width: 1760 mm
Height: 1615 mm
Ground clearance: 180 mm
Curb weight: 1343 kg (EL) / 1349 kg (VE) / 1359 kg (VL)