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2012 Infiniti M35 Hybrid   (Source: Nissan Motor Co.)
Company aims to keep costs low and increase fuel economy over Toyota and Honda

Nissan Motor Co. plans to double the mileage (in comparison with gasoline engines) on its most recent mass-market hybrid vehicle, the gasoline-electric Infiniti M sedan (also known as the Nissan Fuga), expected to be released later this year.

While 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.

The 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 Touareg SUV.

"It 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.

The 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 testing."

"Typically, 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."

Nissan 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.

Nissan's third generation Infiniti M hybrid is due out in late 2010.  



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Lithium eliminates torque converter?
By HotPlasma on 7/7/10, Rating: 0
RE: Lithium eliminates torque converter?
By The Raven on 7/7/2010 4:28:01 PM , Rating: 2
From the article:
quote:
But Hayasaki said Nissan's unique system enables it to better control the motor by using a lithium-ion battery instead of nickel-metal hydride, which is slower in capturing and discharging energy. Using a lithium-ion battery, he said , eliminates the need for a torque converter, which the Volkswagen group uses on its Touareg SUV, Porsche Cayenne and other hybrids.

Do you even know how to read the article? She didn't say it. Hayasaki did (according to Reuters). Take up your argument with him as I don't know what a torque converter is.

I don't get you people who criticize DT yet keep coming back to it. Not to mention take the time to comment with worthless criticism like this.


By Alexvrb on 7/7/2010 8:17:00 PM , Rating: 3
The DT article says:
quote:
The 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 Touareg SUV.
I read this and figured it was probably information from Hayasaki without quotation marks, but it doesn't really make this abundantly clear.

I don't see why you felt the urge to jump all over him, nor do I understand why you doctored the quote to include extra clarifications not present in the article above. I mean, you really slammed him, when you could have just pointed out why he shouldn't be blaming the DT writer.

Anyway, keep this in mind. The battery chemistry isn't directly what allowed them to avoid use of a torque converter. That is a function largely of transmission design. A dual clutch design doesn't need a torque converter, even in non-hybrids. Nor do most CVT transmissions. Nor does the E-CVT in the existing NiMH Prius models (which technically isn't a true "CVT" in design, but functions like one when coupled with the rest of the Hybrid Synergy Drive system).

So Hayasaki probably was trying to say something like the Li-Ion batteries give them the capacity and charge/discharge rates to allow them to use the type of transmission system they wanted (dual clutch) easily. But there is no direct link between Li-Ion batteries and eliminating the need for a torque converter, and he did not make it very clear exactly what Li-Ion batteries have to do with torque converters.


RE: Lithium eliminates torque converter?
By 91TTZ on 7/8/2010 9:02:44 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Do you even know how to read the article? She didn't say it. Hayasaki did (according to Reuters). Take up your argument with him as I don't know what a torque converter is.


A torque converter in an automatic transmission is the rough equivalent of a clutch in a manual transmission. It does a little more, but that's basically its function.


By stirfry213 on 7/8/2010 1:03:00 PM , Rating: 3
You are only partially correct. A torque convert has two main purposes.

First is to serve as a fluid coupling between the engine and transmission. This allows the engine to continue idling while the vehicle is in range (drive or reverse) and is not moving.

Second is to serve as a torque multiplier. What you loose in RPM, you gain in torque. Our torque converts provide anywhere from 1.58 to 2.71 multiplication. This is also why an automatic transmission can be geared slightly higher as the low gear ratio is not needed due to the increase in torque.

Lastly, most torque converters have a lockup clutch in them. This then eliminates the RPM lost through the torque converter and creates a mechanical coupling just like a manual transmission does. The extra torque multiplication is not needed anymore because as we all know, it takes much more energy to accelerate a vehicle than it does maintain a steady speed.

I could get much more complicated in how a torque converter does these things, but I don't think it is necessary for this discussion. I work for the worlds largest maker of commercial, industrial and military transmissions, just as a point of reference for this information.


Misleading Title
By Yawgm0th on 7/7/2010 2:47:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
While Nissan is a little late in the game with its own hybrid system
I'm guessing the title is meant to indicate that this is Nissan's first in-house designed hybrid powertrain. Nissan already sells hybrids. The 2010 Nissan Altima Hybrid is actually pretty decent, although not as good as the Ford Fusion Hybrid IMO.




RE: Misleading Title
By JasonMick (blog) on 7/7/10, Rating: 0
RE: Misleading Title
By sigmatau on 7/7/2010 3:41:29 PM , Rating: 3
40k a year is not mass market? So by your numbers, the Volt will never be mass market. They plan on selling no more than 10k a year at the start. I do agree with the part that the Altima was not available in every state.

Title still misleading.


RE: Misleading Title
By Redwin on 7/7/2010 4:14:43 PM , Rating: 2
"Mass Market" in the sense he's using it means "avaialble in all markets", and in this sense a "market" is a state.

So for the purposes under which he's using the term here, yes, 40K vehicles in only a couple states is not mass market. Conversely, 1 vehicle each sold in all 50 states, would still be "Mass Market" because of the breadth of availability, even though only 50 total cars would have been sold.

You can offer your own definition of "Mass Market" based on some arbitrary sales figure you pick yourself if you like; but the definition he is offering is consistent with the one being used in the article.


What does the title mean anyway?
By taber on 7/7/2010 9:29:08 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Nissan Motor Co. plans to double the mileage (in comparison with gasoline engines) on its most recent mass-market hybrid vehicle

I realize that was copied directly from the other article, but could the ambiguity be dialed down a little bit? After reading the full article I assume it means fuel economy or gas mileage, but mileage by itself can mean many things. Even in the hybrid realm it could have meant mileage parts would last or range on battery charge alone.




If anybody wants to know...
By fleabag on 7/7/2010 6:43:03 PM , Rating: 2
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Nissan_FR_Hybrid...

This is the picture of what the hybrid drivetrain in the Infiniti M Hybrid looks like.




Here's why
By HotPlasma on 7/8/2010 8:28:21 AM , Rating: 2
I don't believe that an auto executive could say such silly things. Anyone who knows anything about cars knows that the battery and the torque converter have nothing to do with each other. I blame the writer. She MUST be misquoting the exec. I do not believe that the writer knows anything about cars or the current state of hybrid technology. Otherwise, she would have connected the dots better regarding what they are doing to improve mileage over current designs. I don't see any new technology, just an outrageous claim that they'll double their mileage. There must be a reason that they make this claim and the writer doesn't give it to us.




takes the cake
By HotPlasma on 7/7/10, Rating: -1
RE: takes the cake
By rzrshrp on 7/7/2010 3:30:14 PM , Rating: 2
I don't understand your problem. It's a quote from the automaker. Even though it may be unrealistic, it is what the automaker claims that they will do. The article is about the automaker's plans with a little bit of information about the technology that they think will make this possible so the quote is perfectly relevant.


RE: takes the cake
By JasonMick (blog) on 7/7/2010 3:38:24 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
I'm accustomed to shody writing on this website, but this article is complete garbage.

quote:
said Hayasaki. "We're aiming for an improvement of 60 to 90 percent."


You're criticizing the author for a quote she used from a Nissan exec? How is his quote her fault?? Do you have any legitimate gripes or are you trying to take the cake for whining?

quote:
Exactly how do they intend on doing that without any new technology? There's nothing interesting here!


What exactly are you trying to say? That sentence didn't exactly make sense....


RE: takes the cake
By menace on 7/8/2010 6:28:35 PM , Rating: 2
Reuters article says

quote:
Hayasaki said millions of miles of testing had shown that the engine was stopped about half the time in city driving.


Reworded by DT as this rubbish

quote:
According to Hayasaki, the hybrid stopped half the time during city driving while after "millions of miles of testing."


Come on I realize you don't want to totally plagiarize but can we do a little better than this?


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