Nissan distributor Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM) is looking to the future by bringing two electric cars to the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show (KLIMS). While the new Leaf is being previewed ahead of a mid-2019 launch, the Note e-Power you see here is a little different – displayed without the bonnet, it’s mainly meant to gauge public reaction for the range extender electric powertrain technology hidden within.

However, given that ETCM itself has revealed plans to introduce e-Power vehicles in Malaysia at some point, the showing of this car at the show is very much the company’s statement of intent. The important thing to note (no pun intended) is that while the Note e-Power is technically an electric vehicle, there’s no socket for you to plug it up to the mains and charge it.

Instead, there’s a 79 PS/103 Nm 1.2 litre HR12DE three-cylinder engine, which acts solely as a generator for the 109 PS/254 Nm electric motor from the previous Leaf. The petrol mill is not connected to the driven wheels, so none of its power actually reaches the ground. Nissan says that the system provides the benefits of an electric motor – such as maximum torque from standstill – without the accompanying range anxiety.

The presence of the range extender also means that the battery can be made much smaller (just 1/20th the size of the one in the old Leaf), enabling it to be placed under the front seats to maintain interior space. All-in-all, the Note e-Power delivers a fuel economy figure of up to 37.2 km per litre on the Japanese JC08 cycle.

Will the Note e-Power be launched in Malaysia? There’s still no timeframe for the powertrain technology, and ETCM’s sales and marketing director Chris Tan has categorically ruled out the possibility of the Note version being sold here. However, a local launch would dovetail with spyshots of a Japanese domestic model being tested over here – although that could simply be a grey import wearing trade plates.

It has to be said that as a means to get the Malaysian public on board with electric vehicles, e-Power strikes us as an ideal platform, since the EV charging network in the country is still in its infancy.

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