On August 6, 2008, Nissan revealed its new electric hybrid vehicle, the Nissan EV, scheduled for fleet-sale release in the U.S. and Japan in 2010, and for retail consumers worldwide by 2012. Performing for Nissan executives on a test track, the Nissan EV electric car prototype featured a 660 lb lithium ion battery and supposedly accelerates at a rate faster than gasoline-powered vehicles of similar size.
Unrealistically optimistic rumors have Nissan’s new electric car averaging about 100 miles off a single charge, but official specs have yet to be released. In years past, some of the biggest hurdles that often proved insurmountable to other electric concept cars included lengthy recharge-periods and the ultimate failure to achieve any significant distance on a single charge. Even up against serious competition like the much-anticipated Chevrolet Volt, Nissan appears to be pretty confident in their plans even going so far as to project that in a few years, they could be producing 10 million electric cars annually for the global market.
Although Nissan insists that the EV prototype won’t resemble any Nissan models currently on the market, preliminary photographs reveal a design department dipping heavily into the Scion xB ink. Heralded as a fresh, innovative, space-maximizing design, the Nissan EV prototype doesn’t look much different than every other “fresh, innovative, space-maximizing design” we’ve seen lately. Bottom line: We are unimpressed.
Official Nissan Press Release On Future Hybrid Models:
NISSAN PREVIEWS NEXT GENERATION ENVIRONMENTAL VEHICLES
– All-electric and original hybrid electric prototypes unveiled –
TOKYO (August 6, 2008) – Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. today unveiled all-electric and original hybrid electric prototype vehicles, both powered by advanced lithium-ion batteries. Under the NISSAN GT 2012 business plan, the company has committed to zero-emission vehicle leadership, and has announced plans to introduce an all-electric vehicle in 2010 and mass market globally in 2012.
Electric Vehicle (EV)
Powered by advanced lithium-ion batteries, the EV prototype is part of Nissan’s substantial research and development program on zero emission vehicles. This latest generation vehicle features a front-wheel drive layout and uses a newly developed 80kW motor and inverter. The advanced laminated compact lithium-ion batteries are installed under the floor, without sacrificing either cabin or cargo space.
The production vehicle to be introduced in 2010 will have a unique bodystyle and is not based on any existing Nissan model.
Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV)
The Nissan original HEV delivers two breakthrough technologies – a high-performance rear-wheel drive hybrid system and parallel-powertrain hybrid system. The hybrid employs Nissan’s own originally developed hybrid technology and its first rear-wheel drive hybrid powertrain.
The parallel-powertrain system comprises an energy-optimizing system with two clutches, 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 eliminates the need for conventional torque converters, contributing to higher responsiveness and linear acceleration for improved driving feel.
The dynamic characteristics of the clutches are as follows:
· Idle-stop: The battery is used to power the motor to save on fuel.
· Regular driving: The engine is used to power the motor as well as regenerate the battery.
· Acceleration: Both the engine and battery (power assist) is used to power the motor to achieve smooth acceleration.
· Deceleration: Energy from braking is conserved and re-routed back to regenerate the battery.
The advanced lithium-ion batteries used in both prototypes are sourced from the Nissan-NEC joint-venture, AESC (Automotive Energy Supply Corporation). These advanced batteries offer superior performance, reliability, safety, versatility and cost competitiveness, compared to the conventional nickel metal-hydride batteries. Its compact laminated configuration delivers twice the electric power compared to conventional nickel-metal hydride batteries with a cylindrical configuration. The compact batteries also allow for improved vehicle packaging and a wide range of applications.
Nissan has long experience in electric-powered vehicle development, commencing from the first EV “Tama Electric Vehicle” back in 1947. The company introduced the world’s first application of lithium-ion batteries to the Prarie Joy EV in 1996, followed by the ultra-compact electric vehicle, Hypermini, released in 2000. Nissan also introduced its first original hybrid vehicle Tino Hybrid back in 1999 in Japan. In 2006, the Altima Hybrid was introduced in North America using licensed technology.
Under the Nissan Green Program 2010 environmental plan, the company aims to develop new technologies, products and services that can lead to real-world reductions in vehicle CO2 emissions, cleaner emissions, and recycling of resources. Nissan continues to invest substantially in a wide range of technologies including CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), VVEL (Variable Valve Event and Lift), clean diesels, biofuels and fuel cell vehicles.