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Nissan Altima Hybrid Debuts at Orange County Auto Show

4 October 2006

Altimahybrid
Altima Hybrid.

Nissan’s first hybrid, the 2007 Altima Hybrid, made its debut at the 2007-Model Orange County Auto Show in Anaheim, California.

Based on Toyota technology, the Altima Hybrid’s powertrain mates a version of the QR25 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and electronic Continuously Variable Transmission (eCVT) with a 30 kW (40 hp) electric motor/generator that can develop 199 lb-ft (270 Nm) of torque. The Altima Hybrid’s hybrid system is rated at a net power of 198 horsepower (148 kW) with fuel economy estimated at 41 mpg city/36 mpg highway (39 mpg combined).

Combined with Altima’s standard 20-gallon fuel tank, the Altima Hybrid has a projected driving range of up to 700 miles between fill-ups.

The Altima Hybrid utilizes regenerative braking technology to sustain the charge in 244-volt NiMH battery pack.

Nissan modified the QR25 4-cylinder engine for the hybrid with a larger intake manifold, slightly increased the compression ratio (9.6:1 compared to 9.5:1 in the standard engine) and reduced friction characteristics. The engine also features Nissan’s Continuously Variable Timing Control System (CVTCS) for continuously variable valve timing, modular engine design, microfinished crank journals and cam lobes, molybdenum-coated lightweight pistons and electronically controlled throttle.

The hybrid system-specific eCVT works in conjunction with the Hybrid Vehicle-Electric Control Unit (HV-ECU) to determine which power source or combination of power sources will turn the wheels.

The Altima Hybrid’s electric motor produces high torque at low rpm, allowing it to utilize its all-electric mode (Electric Vehicle—EV mode) to power the car from a standing idle and through initial acceleration without the assistance of the gasoline engine.

After the electric motor provides initial acceleration, the gasoline engine quietly starts and assumes the load of powering the vehicle. The gasoline engine works independently through cruising speeds until the vehicle reaches speeds at which fuel efficiency declines.

When loads require, the electric motor starts again and aids the gasoline engine in powering the Altima Hybrid. This allows the gasoline engine to remain in its ideal rpm range while the axle rpm simultaneously increases due to the extra power being contributed by the electric motor.

A digital display on the speedometer indicates when the Altima Hybrid is running solely on electric power. The Altima Hybrid’s available DVD navigation system also features a real-time display showing how the hybrid system directs the flow of energy.

Classified as an Advanced Technology-Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV), the new Altima Hybrid will be available in eight states. The vehicle has been certified to meet California emissions requirements and will be sold beginning in early 2007 in those states that have adopted California emissions regulations: California, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, Maine and New Jersey. These states are among the strongest markets for hybrid vehicles.

The new Altima Hybrid is the sixth model in the 2007 Altima lineup, joining the Altima 2.5, 2.5 S, 2.5 S with SL Package and two 3.5-liter V6-powered models, the Altima 3.5 SE and 3.5 SL. The 2007 Altima Hybrid will be available in early 2007, following the November 2006 introduction of the 2007 Altima 2.5-liter 4-cylinder and 3.5-liter V6 gasoline-powered models.

(A hat-tip to Dave Thomas at cars.com!)

October 4, 2006 in Hybrids | Permalink | Comments (76) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

wow, could they pick a more obscure venue to debut the model? no wonder it's only being sold in 8 states...

Dear Nissan:

Well, that's pretty nice,

39 mpg? I personally can't possibly reach that mileage-- [downward]. I can't recall ever getting less than 43 mpg, even driving like a maniac. (My car is a 2003 Beetle, TDI.) On my last tank of biodiesel, I got 66 mpg.

Maybe if you could get the government to go along with a little more modest transportation, like you guys used to make back in the 70s, I'm sure you could come up with something as good as my humble Beetle.

On my last tank of biodiesel, I got 66 mpg.

Please.

39mpg is better than probably 95% of Americans are getting. So, although 66>39, at least its a huge improvement over the average vehicle. Kudos to Nissan.

Dear Ernie,

The Beetle has HALF as much power and no usable back seat for full size adults. You also have about one third the trunkspace and your EPA rating is 34/44 with an automatic transmission, 38 combined, thus worse than the Altima. Your EPA Air Polution score on a scale of 0 to 10 is 0. Yes, ZERO. The polution from an '03 TDI is about 20 times as high as a PZEV car. Thanks for trying though.

On a scale of 0 to 10 I give the EPA ratings system a 0.

Before we use the EPA to settle arguments we have to agree that they know what they are doing.

Cheers,

JRod.

Why would this offering be ridiculed? Nissan produces a sporty, roomy and well-equipped sedan that will likely go 0-60 in a touch over 7 seconds AND get 39 mpg combined? How is that a bad thing?

It cracks me up - some people on this site will never be satisfied until 100% of the public is commuting in Smart cars, Segways, and bicycles.

I wish I could have purchased one of these things two and a half years ago.

On the other hand, I already get upwards of 700 miles on a tank (18.4 gallons, 40+ MPG, 2004 Passat TDI).

See this should have come about instead of the Prius. It should have been family car from the get go.

Nissan living up to the name as the conservative second who learns from other's mistakes.

See this should have come about instead of the Prius. It should have been family car from the get go.

Nissan living up to the name as the conservative second who learns from other's mistakes.

See this should have come about instead of the Prius. It should have been family car from the get go.

Nissan living up to the name as the conservative second who learns from other's mistakes.

We have to keep the big picture in mind here, I believe. We've just entered the age of no-longer-cheap oil, and all parts of the economy, including companies and consumers at all levels, are just beginning to adjust.

Sure, I'd love to see the average US passenger car get 60 MPG (or more), but a lot of technological and cultural change has to take place to get us there. The good news is we're definitely on our way.

I think the key to this vehicle, and the Toyota Camry Hybrid, is that they have the potential to replace six cylinder vehicles in the future. I've never owned a 6 banger myself, but it seems that 200 HP is a fair amount of juice. I can't imagine a use for a mid size family sedan where 200 HP just will not get the job done. The hybrid version gets 39 MPG, the 2006 6 cylinder version gets 24 MPG. That is an efficiency gain of 62%. With a slight tweak in the american consumer's mindset, we could see these type of hybrid vehicles start to replace the more inefficelt segments of the auto industry (possible, hopefully, well probably not, but it's nice to hope...)

Peace,
Cosmo

Noogums- Syntax error -unitelligible x 3
"See this should have come about instead of the Prius. It should have been family car from the get go."

At least Nissan will contribute to the hybrid market offering, improve the avg. market fuel economy and reducing avg. vehicle emissions, not to mention the cloud of emissions from TDIs.

Lets run the numbers on this one.

Over the V6 version, assuming 39mpg combined and 10,000 miles/year, then you’ll save $400 a year at $2.50 gal gas.

Over 5 years that’s $2,000.

If gas is $5/gal, or you drive 20,000miles a year then this becomes $4,000

So to my mind the hybrid can only charge between $2,000, and $4,000 premium over the regular V6 model.

There may be other benefits, such as reduced brake wear, but this may be offset by more complexity, which may in the long term increase warranty/repair costs.

Andy

This car is a very good thing. You have to start the ball rolling with a more extreme car such as the prius to make the point about hybrids, then you can ease off with larger cars with similar effeciency gains, but lower milage rates (because the cars are larger and heavier).

So well done to Nissan.
- JM

Over the V6 version, assuming 39mpg combined and 10,000 miles/year, then you’ll save $400 a year at $2.50 gal gas.

The V6 version is rated at 23 mpg, so over 10,000 miles you'd save 178.4 gallons, which comes to $445.93 at $2.50/gal.

You can make up any kind of scenario, number of years, whatever, but the rule of thumb is a $4K premium for hybrid technology (which goes down over time) and 15K miles/year driving. You could get more precise by using National Personal Transportation Survey data, then assume it takes 10 years to drive 133,900 miles, and put on 10,000 miles thereafter, with a rule of thumb that a vehicle will last 200,000 miles (conservatively).

Then all you do is just calculate the payback period in miles, or in time, if you like. And since the value of fuel savings persists regardless of who owns it, the fuel savings annuity value is embedded in any resale premium a hybrid will have over its conventional counterpart.

Average gas price in 2006 has been $2.72.

Given those assumptions, payback comes at 82,445 miles, or a shade over 5 years. The tax credit will of course reduce the payback period, and of course there are other possible incentives to value as well (eg, less time fueling, free parking, reduced insurance, enhanced prestige, and so forth). Plus, some people would prefer a dollar go to Japan instead of to the Middle East.

This is a perennial argument against hybrids, one which the naysayers ever win.

clarification:
put on 10,000 miles per year thereafter

I hope this model does very well for Nissan. That would change Carlos Ghosn's mind a bit and give the opportunity for further hybrid developments at Nissan.

This year hybrid Altima with 39mpg combined.

2 years from now with strong sales? Perhaps then we'd see a hybrid Sentra with 50mpg combined.

Passat and Altima are probably the best two to compare as far as size goes.

Pizmo -

your ROI calculation suggests a $4000 premium on the purchase price can be earned back in 5 years (more like 7 if you drive just 12000 miles a year).

However, the manufacturing delta for a hybrid system is that much or more - unless your name is Toyota and you've already spent the big bucks to drive that cost down.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has suggested that hybrids make financial sense for the manufacturer mostly in markets subject to ZEV legislation. In other words, if the choice is between losing money on hybrids or paying fines for missing the ZEV quota, hybrids are the lesser of the two evils. This is probably why Nissan is unveiling this product at the Orange County Auto Show and limiting distribution to just a handful of states.

Pizmo -- You forgot to factor in the expense of maintaing two engines (yes there are two engines in this vehicle and they will both certianly incur and need maintenance)and the expense of replacing the batteries two times (if the vehicle is kept for 200,000 miles then one can expect to replace the twice AND if the vehicle is then resold after 200K and it is still in good shape then the next owner will have to replace them for yet a 3rd time -- not exactly cheap either).

Pizmo -- You forgot to factor in the expense of maintaing two engines (yes there are two engines in this vehicle and they will both certianly incur and need maintenance)and the expense of replacing the batteries two times (if the vehicle is kept for 200,000 miles then one can expect to replace the twice AND if the vehicle is then resold after 200K and it is still in good shape then the next owner will have to replace them for yet a 3rd time -- not exactly cheap either).

Show one example of someone buying a new battery pack for a hybrid. Just one will suffice.

This is a tired set of objections, repeated over and over. You want the simple model, and the simple model indicates it makes financial sense. Then the next step is to go for a complex model. But when you make a complex calculation, the number of uncertainties (and unlimited variations based on specific individuals and their specific situation), then you essentially reach a point where no certain answer can be made that can be applied in all cases.

It's a fundamentally disingenuous argument to begin with, since there isn't a single option on a car that has a positive ROI, yet somehow we never hear debates about the ROI of 20" rims, leather seats, air conditioning, HEMI engines, and so forth. In fact, one really never hears that diesels carry a price premium.

But somehow hybrids are supposed to be microanalyzed down to the penny, while in the real world, people are out dropping $40-50K on tricked-out Yukons and the like. Yet no one speaks of "Yukon Hype".

Not to mention gas won't be $2.50/gal cheap much longer..
Not to mention the savings in external costs, e.g. pollution

ROI SHMAROI.

A Car Is Not An Investment. A Car Purchase Is A Money-Losing Venture Regardless.

So since you are losing money ANYWAY, you might as well buy a car with hybrid technology to "hedge your bet" in regard to future oil prices.

The Altima Hybrid seems like a fine addition to the Hybrid Herd. I own a 2007 TCH and I love it. I go about a month between fillups. My last fillup was September 4th.

Get Thyself a Hybrid !!!

One note:
The hybrid credit is large for the first x thousand models sold for any company. The credit for the Prius has now dropped in half. Since this is Nissan's first hybrid, it will be eligible for the full credit. That's around 3 thousand dollars. That alone makes the Altima hybrid more attractive than the Camry hybrid and covers most of the cost for the "hybrid upgrade".

I do want to know how the pricing compares to the Camry hybrid. Anybody?

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