FRANKLIN, TN - Nissan is starting to ramp up their EV ambitions. Not only are they starting production of fleets of ZEVs in 2010, but their luxury Infiniti brand is making a major commitment to EVs, according to the Web site www.ecogeek.com.
Nissan announced earlier in March that the Infiniti brand would be converting entirely to hybrids within the next decade. As a first step, the brand is launching their first hybrid model in 2010.
The first model undergoing the conversion is the M-series sedan. Unlike the Nissan Altima hybrid already on the market, the Infiniti hybrids won't be using Toyota technology. The line will reportedly be based on a combination series-parallel drivetrain that will enable the cars to be powered by electricity alone or electricity and gas at the same time.
With a total of 600 hp from the combination of a 3.7L V-6 and an electric motor, the Hybrid M-series sedan was hard not to overlook this hybrid, which garnered AutoWeek's "Best in Show" award at Geneva.
You can expect the typical hybrid fare, such as an engine stop/start system and regenerative braking, but Nissan's parallel-powertrain hybrid setup boasts an electric motor with two clutches. This lets the gas engine and the electric motor power the rear wheels at the same time and allows the drivetrain to do without a traditional torque converter for better response and acceleration.
In addition, Nissan employs an advanced lithium-ion battery pack superior to today's nickel metal-hydride units in performance, reliability, and packaging ability.
At first, Infiniti will offer both hybrid and regular gas versions of its models, but the gas versions will be phased out within the ten year time frame.