Phrases like “sports car performance” and “predictable handling” come into play here

Nissan has been trying to make its presence in the EV world known for a while now, and the Leaf has served its purpose for the most part. The leaf, however, just doesn’t have what it takes to hold up in terms of range or performance. That’s why we were treated to the 2019 Nissan Leaf Twin-Motor Concept and why Nissan has been using the basis of that concept to create the e-4orce twin-motor, four-wheel-drive powertrain for its next-gen EVs. Until now, we knew very little, but Nissan has finally spilled some details about e-4orce, and it could have some serious implications on the future of Nissan sports cars.

The e-4orce Will Serve As Nissan’s Main EV Drivetrain

Nissan's New e-4orce AWD EV Powertrain Might Provide Support for the Next-Gen Nissan GT-R and Z Car
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Before I get into speculating and looking too far into the future, it’s important to know what has been earmarked for the e-4orce in the short term.

Remember the 2019 Nissan Ariya Concept? Well, as we told you back then, it was essentially a production-ready concept. The production model that it’s turning into will be powered exclusively by Nissan’s new e-4orce. The Concept and the eventual production model promised 300 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, a major increase over what the Nissan Leaf has ever offered (just 215 horsepower and 251 pound-feet in Plus form.)

There was no word on range for the concept, but we expect the 3-4orce to offer at least 300 miles of range and that will, naturally, be the range offered by the Nissan Ariya when it debuts later on in 2020 or early 2021.

What is the e-4orce EV Drivetrain, Really?

Nissan's New e-4orce AWD EV Powertrain Might Provide Support for the Next-Gen Nissan GT-R and Z Car
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There’s more to Nissan’s e-4orce drivetrain than a cool name and the organization of two motors. Nissan has managed to incorporate the torque-split technology that makes the Nissan GT-R so nimble into the system at its core. Along with that, it’s been developed to “specifically manage electric vehicle power output and braking performance to be smooth and stable.”

One motor is arranged in the front and another in the rear, both of which incorporate regenerative braking to make stop-and-go driving smoother. As a whole, the system is said to “enable excellent cornering performance and comfortable ride for all passengers” and provide “balanced, predictable power and handling on par with many premium sports cars.”

And, that’s what brings us to our next point. Nissan hasn’t confirmed that e-4orce will be found in any other model outside of the upcoming Ariya, but we think the writing is on the wall.

Expect to Find E-Force Built Into the Next-Gen Nissan GT-R and Z Car

2019 Nissan GT-R Exclusive Renderings
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Back in October of 2018, we told you that the next-gen Nissan Z and GT-R would be electrified, but at the time, we weren’t sure how. A year later, almost to the day, we discussed that the two next-gen cars were, in fact, on the way but you might not like them as they could end up being all-electric. The truth is, we still don’t know for sure what’s going on with the next-gen sports cars from Nissan, but now that Nissan has the e-4orce EV powertrain, we can really tighten the stitches on our theory.

The chance that either next-gen Nissan sports car will be all electric is starting to thin out about as fast as my hair. There wasn’t a good chance before and there really isn’t now. There’s still a possibility that the next-gen Nissan Z could be electric, though, if Nissan manages to squeeze out close to 400 horsepower from that pair of electric motors. Right now, the Nissan 370 Z has 332 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, so improving on this, even with an all-electric powertrain, should be easy enough.

However, for the e-4orce to make its way into the next-gen Nissan GT-R, and we believe it will, there’s going to be something a little more complicated going on.
Nissan's New e-4orce AWD EV Powertrain Might Provide Support for the Next-Gen Nissan GT-R and Z Car
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There are two possibilities here:

1) The e-4orce powertrain will be modified in a way that puts a single motor on the front axle while the GT-R’s legendary V-6 sends power exclusively to the rear wheels.

2) The e-4orce powertrain will be manipulated so that the single motor up front remains, but a secondary motor, positioned between the engine and transmission, will send extra power and torque to the rear wheels.

Nissan's New e-4orce AWD EV Powertrain Might Provide Support for the Next-Gen Nissan GT-R and Z Car
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Either way Nissan goes with this would, without a doubt, mark a dramatic improvement to the Nissan GT-R. However, packaging is an issue and a large battery won’t work as it’ll make the already heavy car even heavier. So, smaller motors and a small battery with regenerative braking (which the e-4orce already has) would work wonders here. Right now, the 2020 Nissan GT-R delivers 565 horsepower and 467 pound-feet of torque while the Nismo pumps out a cool 600 ponies and 481 pound-feet. By integrating the e-4orce system into the GT-R, we could see some impressive bumps in power and, perhaps, even improved handling thanks to the nature of the new EV powertrain.

Final Thoughts

Nissan's New e-4orce AWD EV Powertrain Might Provide Support for the Next-Gen Nissan GT-R and Z Car
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At the end of the day, Nissan’s electrification goals are going to spread throughout the lineup until all cars are either electric or at least supported by a hybrid powertrain. If Nissan put all the time, research, development, and money into building the e-4orce, then there’s no way it’s going to limit that powertrain to the Ariya. Furthermore, it was probably designed to be modular. We’ve been waiting a long time for a new Nissan GT-R and Nissan Z-Car and until electrification is possible, we probably won’t get them. We wholeheartedly believe that the e-4orce powertrain is going to open the door for these two cars to finally get the upgrade they deserve, and we just have to wait just a little bit longer. Here’s to hoping!

Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topsped.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read More
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