The Nissan Altima Hybrid
made its debut in October 2006 at the Orange County Auto
Show in Anaheim, California.
Reports state that the
Nissan Altima Hybrid is focused as much on power as it
is on fuel efficiency. The Altima Hybrid went on sale
April 2007 in the U. S. and Japan.
The Nissan Altima Hybrid
will be using technology developed by its archrival Toyota
in order to shorten the developmental phase of bringing
a hybrid car to market.
In 2002, Nissan signed an agreement with Toyota to produce
100,000 vehicles over 5 years using Toyota's transaxle, inverter,
battery and control unit. The electric motor and gasoline engine
will be manufactured by Nissan. The Altima Hybrid will use its
own 175 hp DOHC 2.5-liter gasoline-powered 4-cylinder engine
combined with a high-torque 100 hp electric motor to produce
a high-performance green mean machine. The precise gas mileage
has not been announced but Nissan expects the final numbers
to be around the 40 mpg range.
Like its archrival's power train system, the Altima Hybrid
will operate on electric-only power at low speeds, internal
combustion engine power at higher speeds, and both electric
and gas when power needs are the most. The Altima Hybrid
will also use its continuously variable automatic transmission
(CVT) for smooth acceleration and handling.
According to hybridcars.com, Nissan Chief Executive Carlos
Ghosn says that the introduction of a hybrid Altima in 2007
was intended to help Nissan comply with fuel economy and emissions
standards in states like California, not because he expects
the hybrid model to make money or to fulfill any kind of corporate
environmental goals. But, according to the Nissan website, "The
major environmental advantages of hybrid vehicles are low CO2
emission and cleaner exhaust gas. Nissan will continue to develop
hybrid vehicles not only as means of complying with environmental
legislations but as key technology to deliver new value to customers."
No matter who said what, though, Nissan is getting into
the hybrid game. The winner will be the consumer, the environment
and the automobile companies themselves. Even though Nissan
may be jumping into the hybrid game a bit late, they have
been a friend of the environment for many years.
Nissan offered the Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV)
certified Sentra CA (Clean Air), in the U. S. in February 2000,
as the world's first gasoline Vehicle to receive Zero Emission
Vehicle credit from the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
The Sentra met all other requirements including zero evaporative
emission from the fuel system and the on-board diagnosis level
2(OBD-II). Nissan also introduced the Bluebird Sylphy with a
50-percent reduction from the Japanese Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle
Nissan will be building the Altima Hybrid at its Smyrna,
Tennessee plant, spending over $10 million for upgrades
before production begins. The plant is not expected to be
expanded, though new tools and training will be involved
in building Nissan's new hybrid. As most of the other big
automakers are either developing or leasing hybrid technology
with an eye to the future, it is imperative that Nissan
get into the hybrid game. Since Altima has been a very popular
seller for Nissan for several years now, one cannot doubt
that the Nissan Altima Hybrid will be a big hit as well.