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Nissan Unveils Electric, Hybrid Test Cars

August 11, 2008

TOKYO, JAPAN --- Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. last week unveiled all-electric and original hybrid electric prototype vehicles, both powered by advanced lithium-ion batteries.

Nissan has plans to introduce an all-electric vehicle in 2010 and mass market globally in 2012.

Powered by advanced lithium-ion batteries, Nissan's EV prototype is part of the company's 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 company said.

The production vehicle planned for 2010 will have a unique body style and is not based on any existing Nissan model.

The Nissan original Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) delivers two new technologies -- a high-performance rear-wheel drive hybrid system and parallel-powertrain hybrid system. The hybrid employs Nissan's own 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 use as well as improve fuel-efficiency, Nissan said.

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) are 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 come from the Nissan-NEC joint-venture, AESC (Automotive Energy Supply Corp.). The battery's 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 said.

Nissan has a long history in electric vehicle development. The company introduced the first EV "Tama Electric Vehicle" back in 1947. Nissan unveiled the world’s first application of lithium-ion batteries to the Prarie Joy EV in 1996, followed by the ultra-compact 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 CO2 emission reductions, cleaner emissions, and recycling of resources.

Nissan said it continues to invest in a wide range of technologies including CVT (continuously variable transmission), VVEL (variable valve event and lift), clean diesels, biofuels and fuel cell vehicles.


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