Nissan Launches the Fuga Hybrid in Japan (Coming to US as an Infiniti in 2011)

nissan m35 hybrid photo

Photo: Nissan

Japanese Fuel Economy: 19.0 km/L

At about this time last year, I wrote about Nissan's plans for a new hybrid with lithium-ion batteries based on the Fuga (known as the Infiniti M35 in the US). Right on time, the Fuga hybrid is coming out on November 2nd in Japan, and will come to the US in 2011. Read on for more details.

nissan m35 hybrid photo

Photo: Nissan

Real-world testing of the new Nissan/Infiniti hybrid will be a good occasion to see if Nissan was right to brag that its in-house hybrid system was "2-3x better than Toyota's". But on paper, the Fuga hybrid seems pretty good, especially for a high-performance luxury sedan:

Fuel economy on the Japanese test cycle is 19.0 km/L (44.7 mpg US, 5.3 L/100km), which is comparable to a very fuel efficient compact car (remember that the Japanese test-cycle results in higher MPG numbers than the EPA methodology, so real-world results probably won't be in the mid-40s).

The Fuga Hybrid's 'Intelligent Dual Clutch Control' system connects the high-response electric motor and the 3.5-liter VQ35HR V6 engine directly to the transmission, without the use of a traditional torque converter. This simple, highly efficient and lightweight hybrid system contributes to fuel efficiency. In addition, since one of the two clutches completely disconnects the motor from the engine, quiet and highly efficient EV mode driving is realized. Compared to traditional hybrid systems, the electric motor driving range is expanded for high-speed driving (up to over 100km/h on a level highway) and the EV mode is frequently applied, helping the Fuga Hybrid achieve best-in-class fuel economy.

The compact, high-output lithium-ion battery is able to charge/discharge quickly. This contributes to high-speed, precise control of the electric motor and optimum clutch control, which both enable luxury driving with smooth shift quality and sharp, direct acceleration response. The Fuga Hybrid's new electronic 7-speed hybrid transmission with manual shift mode features optimized shift performance according to the motor's output characteristics. This combines with the updated 3.5-liter VQ35HR engine with higher efficiency to provide smooth and sustained acceleration.

The 'HM34' electric motor has a maximum power output of 50kW (68PS) and maximum torque of 270Nm. The Fuga Hybrid has SU-LEV certification, emitting 75% less exhaust compared to 2005 standards.

Price range: 5,775,000 yen to 6,300,000 yen, including consumption tax (which is about 70,000 USD, but pricing is very different in both countries so we'll have to wait for the Infiniti announcement to be sure).

Via Nissan Global

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