Page 1 of 6
Page 1: Intro
Nissan Altima Hybrid: Preview -- In what may go a long way toward cementing the future staying power of hybrid-powered vehicles, Nissan recently unveiled a prototype of the 2007 Altima Hybrid, a hybrid vehicle based on the Altima mid-size sedan. The car is scheduled to be launched in 2006 for the US market. Recently, Autobytel.com had the opportunity to drive an Altima hybrid "mule" with a gasoline-electric drivetrain. (Mule is the term used for a development vehicle.) In this case, Nissan placed Toyota's award-winning hybrid-electric componentry, along with the current Altima's engine and transmission, inside the skin of an Altima. Additionally, there were large metal boxes, relaying computer-generated information to the cockpit, for engineering purposes. As a result, it was a somewhat crude ride and a crude interior, but showed the progress Nissan is making toward the development of a hybrid vehicle.
Nissan is the fifth major automaker to either introduce a hybrid to the US market or announce plans to do so. The first automaker is generally credited as Honda - with the Insight two-seater hybrid, followed by Toyota with the first mass-produced hybrid, the Prius. The technology behind Prius has powered Toyota's hybrid plans and, in fact, will play a part in launching the Altima hybrid. According to Nissan, in September 2002, Nissan and Toyota signed a basic agreement stipulating that Nissan will produce 100,000 hybrid vehicles within a five-year period, and that Toyota will supply the hybrid system components (transaxle, inverter, battery, and control unit). Nissan will develop the engine and unit adaptation.
Page 2 of 6
Page 2: Nissan-ness
Nissan plans to build brand character into the Altima hybrid with 'Nissan-ness', that will include suspension tuning and throttle note. Interviewed during Nissan's 2005 360 new car and truck event, held for the worldwide automotive press in San Francisco, California, Nissan executive Jack Collins, Director of Product Planning, spoke about Nissan's efforts in the direction of fuel-saving. "We will apply hybrids more broadly than what we are currently, when the economic equation makes sense..." said Collins, "...when the market shifts." When questioned about diesel offerings for the US market, Collins revealed that Nissan is looking at its light truck lineup, for instance, a diesel version of its Titan, introduced in '04, as Nissan's first entry into that market. He also revealed that Nissan is looking at the heavy duty truck market in general and a diesel offering in that popular and growing segment of the market, as well.
Page 3 of 6
Page 3: Hybrid
Page 4 of 6
Page 4: FAQs
The current plan is to debut the Altima hybrid in 2006, as a 2007 model.Is Nissan developing their own hybrid technology?
Only partially. Most of the hybrid technology comes from Toyota and the Prius model.
Are there any other Nissan vehicles planned for a hybrid makeover?
The Maxima is likely, and Nissan executives are looking into developing a diesel Titan.
Page 5 of 6
Page 5: Notes
Page 6 of 6