At this year's New York auto show, Nissan showed off anand committed to developing one for production. This week, Nissan demonstrated it was doing more than blowing smoke by showing off its electric research vehicle, a prototype of its new hybrid system, and a new fuel cell that costs less while offering greater power density.
Nissan expects to offer an electric vehicle by 2010, with mass market production in 2012. The current vehicle being shown is similar to the concept Denki Cube from the New York auto show and is merely a research vehicle to develop the electric powertrain.
The new hybrid system is of greater interest, as Nissan's currentrelies on technology licensed from Toyota. Nissan's system is designed for a rear-wheel-drive car and uses two clutches, doing away with a torque converter for more efficient power use. Nissan hasn't released any details on performance yet, or when it might offer a car with this technology.
Nissan's new fuel cell stack, part of its ongoing research into fuel cell powertrains that generate electricity from hydrogen, uses half the amount of platinum as previous fuel cells, which reduces cost. Nissan says it has increased the power output from 90 to 130 kilowatts, which would allow for more powerful electric motors. The new fuel cell is also 33 percent smaller than the previous generation.