Powered by lithium-ion batteries, the EV prototype is part of Nissan's research and development programme on zero emission vehicles. This latest generation vehicle features a front-wheel drive layout and uses a newly developed 80 kW 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.
The Nissan original HEV delivers two 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-optimising 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 optimise and conserve energy utilisation 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.