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Nissan gizmo battles bad smells before your nose even knows

Automotive News reports on Nissan's new air-freshening air conditioning system.

Automotive News

OPPAMA, Japan--Imagine a drive through the countryside when you suddenly sniff that distinctive, methane-drenched stench that says you're in cattle country.

Nissan Motor says it knows how to spare your nose.

Nissan's new Forest AC air-conditioning system detects offensive odors before they enter the car. It then automatically masks the smells with the pleasant aroma of floral wood and freshly cut grass.

Forest AC is just one of several new technologies that could be coming to the United States as early as next year. Nissan showed them last week at its annual advanced technology briefing.

In the works

Other technologies also in the works:

-- Double piston shock absorbers to create low-bounce rear seats.

-- A cornering stability system that optimizes braking and torque for each wheel.

-- Braking activated by the navigation system to help drivers slow down for sharp curves.

-- An improved continuously variable transmission for better fuel efficiency.

Forest AC, the low-bounce rear seats, cornering assist system and navigation braking will debut this fall in Japan in the revamped Fuga sedan, known as the Infiniti M in the United States.

Although Nissan hasn't said so, chances are high that some of the features will appear when the next generation of the Infiniti M goes on sale in the United States in late 2010.

Forest AC releases plant-derived scents to calm the driver and reduce fatigue. Simultaneously, sensors in the ventilation system check constantly for bad smells inside and out.

Odors on the watch list include factory fumes, car exhaust, animal smells, cigarette smoke, and fast-food aromas. Forest AC automatically adjusts air intake and recirculation to clear the air.


The system is programmed to blow randomly changing volumes of air through upper and front vents. This creates a natural breezy effect instead of the typical full-on gust.

Meanwhile, Nissan has added an ion-based cleansing system that kills germs in the air as well as odors clinging to interior surfaces. Pollens and other allergens are eliminated more effectively by a new air-conditioning filter impregnated with grape seed polyphenol, the company says.

The next-generation continuously variable transmission, developed with transmission supplier Jatco, is expected to improve fuel efficiency 10 percent over Nissan's current CVT. The gains come mainly from increasing the transmission ratio, partially through the introduction of a planetary gear. Friction was cut 30 percent and weight 13 percent.

(Source: Automotive News)