Torque usually recognises cars that stand out in terms of performance and handling. Last year, the panel decided to consider manufacturers that had introduced useful innovations as well.
When this question was put to the panel of judges, a few mentioned the Porsche Taycan and its 800-volt charging architecture. Others mentioned the unique sound that it is programmed to produce.
The fun and zippy MINI Electric was also highlighted.
At the end of the day, however, the majority favoured either the Nissan Serena or Nissan Kicks – models equipped with Nissan’s e-POWER hybrid drivetrain.
However, e-POWER is unlike conventional petrol-electric hybrids. It does not use an electric motor to supplement the internal combustion engine and take over driving duties when possible.
Nissan’s e-POWER drivetrain is powered by a lithium-ion battery, which is in turn is charged by an internal combustion engine. The engine itself never directly powers the driven wheels.
The Nissan Kicks and Serena offer relatively smooth and quiet performance. Driven gently, they can deliver excellent fuel economy, too. The Kicks, for instance, easily averages over 18km per litre when driven moderately.
One-pedal driving is another trick that this drivetrain offers. In stop-and-go traffic, not having to constantly pivot your foot from the accelerator to the brake pedal is a relief.
The Kicks and Serena are not the type of cars that enthusiasts want. But with regard to sustainability and the reduction of vehicular emissions, their drivetrains are most helpful.
Another key factor that puts Nissan’s e-POWER technology above its rivals is its accessibility. This is important as it enables drivers to have eco-friendlier cars – sans the premium price.