Nissan's Moving Fast These Days
Nissan had already announced that it wanted to make its Infinity luxury brand more "socially responsible", starting with an Infiniti M hybrid (sold as the Nissan Fuga in Japan), but we didn't have too many details about what would be under the hood or when the new wave of supposedly greener Infinitis would be hitting showrooms. We still don't have all the details, but more is known...
Nissan's first homegrown hybrid (the Altima hybrid uses Toyota technology) will first be sold in Japan in the fall of 2010, and will then come to the U.S. around the spring of 2011. Price is still unknown.
According to Nissan, the motor has an output of 50 kW (67 horsepower) and 270 Nm (200 pound-feet) of torque and the system is able to propel the Fuga/M electrically at speeds of up 62 mph. The engine is a 3.5-liter version of Nissan's renowned VQ V6 modified to run with an Atkinson cycle for greater efficiency.
So the electric motor would be similar to the one in the second generation Prius (which produces 50 kW at 1200 rpm and 295 lb·ft torque at 0 rpm), but the gasoline engine would be much more powerful (3.5-liter V6 Atkinson vs. 1.5-liter I4 Atkinson).
But what will allow the Infinity hybrid to differentiate itself from the current crop of hybrids is the use of a lithium-ion battery pack (probably very similar in chemistry and packaging to the one in the Nissan Leaf electric car).
It seems like the max speed of parallel hybrids when in electric mode is steadily going up. The Toyota Prius could do 34 MPH, the Ford Fusion hybrid can do 47 MPH, and now Nissan is saying that the Fuga/M35 hybrid will be able to reach 62 MPH (which is highway speed, though we can wonder for how long...).
It's just too bad Nissan didn't start its hybridization with a more affordable model, or even by updating the Altima hybrid with its new in-house technology and increasing production numbers. This could have lead to better fuel economy and more units sold, leading to bigger total gas and emissions savings.
Via Nissan, Autoblog
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