Nissan is a little late in the game with mass-release hybrid vehicles (the previous Nissan Altima Hybrid saw sales largely limited to the handful of states that had adopted California's emissions restrictions), they
aim to make up for it by offering a one-motor, two-clutch system that
would both keep costs down and deliver better fuel economy unlike
Toyota's two-motor "series parallel" system. Nissan's only
hybrid model now, the Altima sedan, uses Toyota's system.
second clutch separates the electric motor from the engine in order
to allow users to drive on electric power only with a
charged battery. Also, instead of a nickel-metal hydride battery,
the Nissan's hybrid system will use a lithium-ion battery to capture
and discharge energy faster. The lithium-ion battery prevents the
need for a torque converter, unlike hybrids such as the Volkswagen
was a technical hurdle that most hybrid engineers in the industry
believed could not be cleared," said Koichi Hayasaki, chief
engineer of Nissan's rear-wheel-drive hybrid system.
system for the Fuga took approximately six years to develop. The
company plans to have fewer components in the vehicle to keep weight
down and ultimately keeping
the cost down. Nissan's new hybrid is 66 lbs lighter than the
Toyota's series parallel system. In addition to tactics like this to
keep cost down, the automaker has added more accurate electronic
controls allowing the engine to idle, which leads to less fuel
consumption as well. According to Hayasaki, the hybrid stopped half
the time during city driving while after "millions of miles of
carmakers say the fuel economy improvement
on their cars using a 'strong' or 'full' hybrid system is
roughly 30 percent, while for 'mild' hybrids (like Honda's), it's 15
percent," said Hayasaki. "We're aiming for an improvement
of 60 to 90 percent."
is also giving its gasoline-driven vehicles a facelift as well. The
idea is to release fuel-efficient 3- and 4-cylinder gasoline engines
and stop-and-start technology sometime this year in order to reduce
carbon emissions. The company's first vehicle to use the stop-start
technology will be the Nissan March, and its engine will
automatically shut down every time the vehicle comes to a brief stop.
third generation Infiniti M hybrid is due out in late 2010.