The current Altima Hybrid uses a Toyota hybrid system. Apparently Nissan is tired of sending money to their rival, so they’re developing a brand new hybrid system all of their own. At it’s core is, of all things, a supercharged four cylinder engine. That potent powerplant will be hooked up to an electric motor and lithium ion battery pack.
Due in 2013, Nissan expects this very sophisticated powertrain to produce power similar to their 3.5 liter V6 engine, but with much better fuel economy. Though I’m most certainly a fan of combining power and fuel economy, Nissan is going the wrong direction here. Think way back to Honda’s Accord hybrid experiment. In that case, Honda mated their V6 engine to the hybrid powertrain. The result? A very powerful, very quick, very expensive, not very efficient hybrid that sold very poorly. Nissan’s plan sounds similar.
Mr. Ghosn, here’s a free tip. Ditch the cool supercharger, and focus on making a ridiculously efficient plain-jane four-cylinder hybrid Altima. And this time, offer it across the country, instead of just a few states. You’re welcome.