Tokyo (Japan) - Nissan plans to introduce lithium-ion battery-powered vehicles within the next two years. One of these cars will be an all-electric model, while the other one will be introduced as a high-performance rear-wheel drive car.
Nissan has become the third Japanese manufacturer to announce hybrid and/or electric cars. Next to Toyota/Lexus and Honda, the company has been offering the Altima Hybrid sedan for some time; this model however uses Toyota’s synergy drive system.
The company’s first own hybrid system was shown and demonstrated in the Infiniti/Nissan G35/G37 sedan as support for the regular gasoline engine. Nissan said that the technology is being develo6ped as a “high-performance rear-wheel drive hybrid system and parallel-powertrain hybrid system” that where one motor is directly connected to an engine and transmission via two separate clutches. Under changing driving conditions, the motor switches between the two clutches to optimize and conserve energy utilization as well as improve fuel-efficiency.
The parallel-powertrain hybrid system is promised to eliminate the need for conventional torque converters, contributing to higher responsiveness and linear acceleration for improved driving feel. The technology will work as engine starter and support the gasoline engine during acceleration. As in other hybrids, the energy from braking is conserved and re-routed back to regenerate the battery.
There was no information on pricing and availability of this vehicle.
However, Nissan said that plans to introduce an all-electric vehicle in 2010 and market it globally in 2012. The car will be powered by “advanced lithium-ion batteries” (which were also used in the G-series hybrid vehicle and are promised to deliver twice the electric power than conventional nickel-metal hydride batteries with a cylindrical configuration) and will not be based on an existing Nissan vehicle.
The EV prototype shown in Tokyo features a front-wheel drive layout and uses a newly developed 80 kW (105 hp) motor and inverter. The advanced laminated compact lithium-ion batteries are installed under the floor and do not impact cabin or cargo space, Nissan said.
In 2009, Nissan plans to be introducing its Eco Pedal technology, which will remind drivers during acceleration phases that they could be saving gas through more careful handling of the gas pedal. When the eco-pedal system is on, each time the driver steps on the accelerator, a counter push-back control mechanism is activated if the system detects excess pressure, helping to inform the driver that they could be using more fuel than required, Nissan said. An eco-driving indicator integrated into the instrument panel feeds the driver with real-time fuel consumption levels to help improve his/her driving behavior. According to Nissan, the Eco Pedal system can be turned on or off according to the driver’s preference.