Nissan Shows Off New Electric Vehicle, Hybrid System

August 6, 2008
At a wide-ranging presentation on its "green" car initiatives, Nissan said today that it's working on a new lithium-ion-based hybrid powertrain to bow in 2010, and showed off the electric-vehicle technology it's developing for a new car to bow in 2010.

The hybrid vehicle, Nissan says, is a rear-drive hybrid system--possibly making it a natural for a new Infiniti top-end sedan. The system is proprietary (no borrowing from Toyota here, as in the 2008 Nissan Altima Hybrid) and uses two clutches to maximize fuel efficiency. It uses lithium-ion batteries to store energy conserved from engine power and regenerative braking. And, Nissan says, the lithium-ion batteries allow for better packaging.

The electric vehicle is one that Nissan says will emerge for the 2010 model year; they add it's not based on any current Nissan model. The new EV is front-wheel drive and uses an 80-kilowatt motor and inverter paired with a lithium-ion battery pack, installed under the floor. For demonstration purposes Nissan used a Cube compact to show off the system; a new Cube compact will bow at this fall's Los Angeles auto show but Nissan did not confirm the next-generation Cube as the basis for its new battery-powered car.

Nissan developed both vehicles under a global plan to green up its fleet by 2012--also, coincidentally, the year it plans to mass-market the new EV, so don't look for a U.S. version until then.

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