|The M35 Hybrid. Click to enlarge.|
Nissan has confirmed production of the Infiniti M35 Hybrid, due to go on sale beginning in Spring 2011, depending upon market. Nissan recently introduced the new M range line of luxury performance sedans. The Infiniti M35 Hybrid picks up styling cues from the Essence concept that made its debut at the Geneva Auto Show earlier this year.
Infiniti’s hybrid system, developed solely within the Nissan group, is a one electric motor/twin clutch arrangement. The first clutch is installed between the naturally-aspirated 3.5-liter V6 and the electric motor. The result of this engineering configuration, where all components act on a single propshaft to the rear differential, is a consistent driving feel under all conditions with linear performance and the “direct responses” that the engineers sought.
The electric motor acts as both propulsion unit, boosting the V6 in power assist mode when maximum acceleration is required, and also as a generator. As well as charging the battery in the normal way, the motor recovers energy otherwise lost during deceleration and braking. The M35 Hybrid can also run solely on its electric motor in certain driving conditions, furthering fuel efficiency.
The M35 Hybrid will feature a laminated Li-ion battery pack (from the Nissan-NEC joint venture AESC, earlier post) that is the same size as conventional batteries but that offers twice the power. AESC is currently producing laminated lithium-ion cells using a manganese spinel cathode material (LiMn2O4). The laminated structure enables the cells to have low electrical resistance. The large surface area supports high heat radiation, suited for large current charge and discharge.
The new-generation Infiniti M models are on target to beat their predecessors on fuel consumption and emissions, despite across-the-board performance improvements, due to a range of efficiency-enhancing measures.
The M35 Hybrid will join the conventionally-engined M models—including a new high-performance diesel V6 for Western Europe—as the first generation of Infiniti’s luxury performance saloon to be sold across all of its world markets which currently number 33 countries. Depending on market, sales are expected to start from Spring 2010 with the M35 Hybrid arriving around 12 months later.