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By ABraxton on Jul 6, 2010 with 23 responses

Nissan Aims for Double Mileage with Infiniti M35 Hybrid

Nissan is hoping to elbow its way in to the luxury hybrid market by providing a cheaper and more fuel efficient technology.

Nissan Motor Co. announced on Tuesday that their new gasoline-electric hybrid engine on the Infiniti M35 luxury sedan will likely be up to 90% more fuel efficient than it’s gasoline-powered counterpart.

“We expect (fuel efficiency) to improve by 60%-90%” over the conventional model, Koichi Hayasaki, chief engineer of Nissan’s hybrid system, said at a meeting briefing. The M35 Hybrid, known as Fuga in Japan, will have mileage in the range normally seen in compact cars, Hayasaki added.

With there being plenty of Phoenix Nissan dealers in the great state of Arizona, finding a quality hybrid or electric vehicle can be made available in due time.

The hybrid will be able to travel roughly 45 MPG, compared to the gasoline version which gets about 23 MPG. Nissan says that their hybrid will outdo the Toyota and Lexus luxury hybrids which get between 33 and 38 MPG.

Unlike the hybrid Nissan Altima, which is powered by Toyota’s hybrid technology, the M35 runs on Nissan hybrid technology and will be the company’s first full scale roll-out of its own hybrid engine.

Nissan’s hybrid system contains fewer components than Toyota’s system, which therefore makes it lighter and less expensive than Toyota’s, according to Hayasaki. He attributed this to a simple design structure in the 3.5 liter V6 engine and electric motor that make up Nissan’s hybrid system.

The hybrid will go on sale as the Fuga in Japan later this year and as the M35 in the U.S. and Europe next year.

  1. By paul-n on July 6, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    here is a good example of how you can twist  numbers and words to make them say almost anything you like;

    will likely be up to 90% more fuel efficient than it’s gasoline-powered counterpart

    That sounds like it will use 90% less fuel, but in fact, it will only use 50% less fuel (still an improvement though).

    This stems from the American way of using miles per gallon,  instead of gallons per mile.

    Going from 23 to 45mpg is a 95% increase, but it is an increase in mileage , not fuel efficiency.  Fuel efficiency is, by definition, what you use to get a certain amount of work (i.e. gallons per mile).  In this context, you are using 51% less fuel for the same distance, so that is a 51% improvement in fuel efficiency.

    It just doesn’t catch as many headlines as 90%.

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  2. By Thomas on July 6, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Will they make a flex fuel version?

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  3. By paul-n on July 7, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    I doubt it.  The only flax fuels that Nissan currently has is the 5.6L Titan truck/Armada SUV.  They have not embraced the flex fuel thing the same way as Ford, who have many flex fuel variants, but even their hybrids are not flex fuel, for reasons I know not.

    It is high time the government got serious about this one, and mandated all new vehicles to be methanol/ethanol flex fuel.  That is the single best way to encourage growth (without further subsidy) of these non oil fuels.

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  4. By paul-n on July 7, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    I doubt it.  The only flax fuels that Nissan currently has is the 5.6L Titan truck/Armada SUV.  They have not embraced the flex fuel thing the same way as Ford, who have many flex fuel variants, but even their hybrids are not flex fuel, for reasons I know not.

    It is high time the government got serious about this one, and mandated all new vehicles to be methanol/ethanol flex fuel.  That is the single best way to encourage growth (without further subsidy) of these non oil fuels.

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  5. By Thomas on July 9, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    That would be the government picking a winner. I thought you just wanted Uncle Sam to fund the research and let the market decide. Isn’t that like the government passing a law saying X% of all power most be renewable.

    Most of the hybrids are being sold on the coasts so ethanol use would be a wash. There is that 15% loss in mileage, if the consumer is motivated by mpg why would they want ethanol? It probably won’t happen unless the ethanol lobby gets on it.

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  6. By paul-n on July 10, 2010 at 11:24 am

    It is the government picking a winner, sort of.  But with the manufacturing cost only $100/vehicle to make them flex fuel, this is a pretty cheap bet.  The vehicles can then use ethanol, methanol, mixed alcohol, or gasoline, or any mix of the above, not bad for $100.

    I’m not so sure that people are fixated on mpg, if they were, more people would be buying diesels (and hybrids) which get far better mpg and between them account for less than 10% of vehicle sales.

    I view the flex fuel thing the same way as when they mandated unleaded, or mandated oxygenates in the fuel.  The gov does mandate fuel standards all the time, I don;t have a problem with this one, as it creates lots of options.

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  7. By thomas on July 10, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    I’m saying the selling point for hybrid buyers is the mpg and the lowered “environmental impact”.  Many of these vehicles give the driver a real-time mpg estimate on the dashboard. They are definitely going to “see” that 15-25% difference in fuel economy if they try E85.

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  8. By Kit P on July 10, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Thomas wrote in a different
    tread which is more appropriate here,

     

    “By your logic hybrid
    cars are an expensive way to use less gasoline. That technology
    has turned out to be pretty successful.”

     

    Yes, I think it is logical
    to say that hybrids are an expensive way to save gasoline. I am
    skeptical about real world success at saving gasoline for that
    matter. Or success in any category like sales.

     

    The only reason I would buy
    or lease a hybrid is if I needed to present a ‘green’ image to
    customers. When I was marketing renewable energy to dairy farmers
    nothing says practical engineer like arriving in an old PU in good
    running order.

     

    I have only read one report
    that did side-by-side testing of ‘green’ cars. The well known
    magazine tested a VW diesel, Toyota Pius, a Jeep SUV (for carrying
    equipment and spare drivers), a Chevy Corvette (just for the fun of
    it), and a car that was not in the least memorable.

     

    Professional drivers driving
    for economy took a two day road trip of scenic country roads. The
    Toyota Pius failed as it was not successful at meeting EPA advertised
    mileage. The VW diesel got better mileage than the Pius and exceeded
    EPA advertised mileage.

     

    The point here is that a car
    should be purchased for the time of driving that would be expected.
    At least in theory, hybrids would save the most fuel if used by
    aggressive city drivers like male teen pizza delivery hot rods, taxi
    drives, Fedex, and garbage collectors.

     

    One economical way to save
    fuel it to not drive aggressively. It costs nothing and has other
    benefits for safety. Then there is driving less and car pooling.
    Again it costs nothing. Driving slower on the highway reduces drag
    and therefor an economical way to save fuel.

     

    Reducing weight also is a
    way to save fuel but often cost more. Since batteries and electrical
    components are heavy and expensive, hybrids are not logical way to
    economical to save gasoline. There could be reason for hybrids to be
    a good choice for certain drivers but I think it is more about image
    than reality.

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  9. By thomas on July 10, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Would largely agree that the hybrid is about image, as is the
    Ford mustang or Porsche 911.  Hybrid buyers are well-off, low mileage
    people who would have bought a more expensive car, say a BMW 3 series. 
    Companies have been successful at selling these cars and a new category is
    being carved out.  They will play a part in our energy startegy.   There are more people driving the Prius than on E85.
     Hybrids do lower the mile/joule of its
    drivers albeit for a higher sticker price.  Some consumers are willing to
    pay higher prices for products with “lower environmental impacts”.
    That includes cars and power.  This may offend your economic sensibilities
    but it’s a fact.  Got a link for that study?

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  10. By paul-n on July 10, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Kit, you beat me to it.  I agree with that statement that hybrids are an expensive way to save fuel – much better to restructure things so you have to drive less.  Agreed also they do make sense for high usage city driving.  The city of Vancouver has many Prius taxis, that rack up 100,000+miles per year.  They save on fuel, brakes etc because of the hybrid system.  I’d like to think that Kit is wrong in saying that they are bought for image, but even the City iof Vancouver promotes its “all hybrid taxis” policy for all its worth.

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  11. By Kit P on July 10, 2010 at 7:26 pm

     

    “Some consumers are
    willing to pay higher prices for products with “lower
    environmental impacts”. That includes cars and power. This may
    offend your economic sensibilities” but it’s a fact. Got a link
    for that study?”

     

    Thomas you seem to get
    easily between facts and opinions. I would agree that car buying
    consumers often make poor decisions. Buying a “Ford mustang or
    Porsche 911” to impress the ladies is just as idiotic buying a
    hybrid to because it has “lower environmental impacts”.

     

    I suspect Thomas does not
    know what an environmental impact is. It is an important concept
    too. For example, PaulN talks about Vancouver (BC?). If Vancouver
    has clean air, there is not difference between a Corolla and a Pius
    with respect to air quality.

     

    It would be nice if cities
    like Vancouver would actually publish data so we could make informed
    decisions.

     

    The basic problem with site
    specific LCA is that the better environmental choices are often not
    the same as the politically correct choice.

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  12. By thomas on July 10, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    I put “lower environmental impacts” in quotes to reflect the fact
    that the data on this topic is lacking and debatable on hybrids. Its a selling point that motivates some consumers.

    Are intentionally misspelling  Prius
    with “Pius”?    If so please save that for somewhere else.

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  13. By paul-n on July 11, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Kit, 

    Vancouver does have clean air, of course, courtesy of the on on shore breezes, but it is in a valley ringed by mountains, and the air quaily in the eastern part can does deteriorate during inversions, similar to eastern LA county.

    In any case, Vancouver loves to promote it self as green, regardless of the reality, we have a mayor who used to run an :o rganic” fruit juice company, so he knows to market something as green even if it is not.  Agreed their is minimal, if any environmental benefit, but there has been an economic one – the taxi drivers are more profitable driving the Prius (fuel consumption is half compared to the remaining Corolla taxis, and about 1/4 of the Crown Vics) .

    After all, every drop of oil not used in Canada gets sold to the US, so in this case, the hybrid taxis are good for the country’s economy too.

     

    But someone who ays $10k to buy one and only drives 5,000 miles per year (I know of one such person)is not doing the economy a favour.  That purchase premium left the country,  (Prius is imported)and is never recovered by fuel savings.  They may feel good about “saving the environment”, but they have sent the economy backwards.  They have done more to save the environment (an economy)  by keeping their travel to only 5k. 

     

     

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  14. By Kit P on July 11, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    “Its a selling point that
    motivates some consumers.”

     

    Which is why I call it a
    Pius. I did not make up the term. I was in a car pool (all
    engineers) and that is what one young engineer just out of college
    called it. If the truth hurts, I am sorry. I think considering the
    environmental impact of our lifestyle is important. However, being
    skeptical of green marketing is wise if you really want to make a
    difference.

     

    People buy cars for all
    kinds of reasons. When I buy a new car, first I list the needs for
    the car. Then I go to the library and read consumers reports and
    find the lowest price cars that meet our needs. Then we rent the car
    to see if we like. Our west coast son, mister cautious, was coming
    for a visit so we rented the economy car that we thought we would buy
    for the trip to DC. The rental car company did not give the car we
    wanted bu a similar car that was being marketed to a your audience.
    When mister cautious drove the car he looked in the back seat at his
    14 year old brother and then looked at me. He wanted to make sure
    that this would not be a car his brother would be driving in a few
    years. When we dropped mister cautious at the airport, we exchanged
    it for the one we thought we would buy. We spent 10 yours in the car
    sight seeing and still liked th car when we got home.

     

    My wife’s car is one of the
    most popular in the world because of low cost and reliability. I
    call it the Boring.

     

    It is true that hybrids and
    solar power have a certain sex appeal however lowering environmental
    impact is not something they do at all.

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  15. By Kit P on July 11, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Sorry PaulN but Vancouver BC
    can not keep up with with Seattle in the green scam market of ideas.

     

    For example Seattle City
    light claims to be coal free since they closed their 1100 MWe coal
    plant. I have had Seattle greens claim Washington State has no coal
    plants. A Canadian company bought, refurbished it including modern
    pollution controls. They also added some natural gas units.

     

    If you are a mayor of large
    city with a large coal plant down the road that would be normal.
    Pretending it does not exist and getting people to believe it is just
    amazing.

     

    Eastern Washington and
    Oregon each have a mega landfill near tiny towns. Green cities ship
    garbage hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles. How green is
    that? Seattle did do an interesting study. They found that
    installing garbage disposals in low income housing was a good
    environmental choice. Grinding up food and making biosolids at a
    WWTF and then sending the biosolids to dyrland wheat fields in
    Eastern Washington is a great idea compared to shipping it to rot in
    a landfill.

     

    Just to point out that not
    all ideas out of Seattle are stupid. Just the one you do not hear
    about. I suppose garbage disposals are just not sexy enough.

     

    “fuel consumption is half
    compared to the remaining Corolla taxis”

     

    Not better than me driving
    my wife’s Corolla assuming Vancouver BC
    taxi drivers are aggressive. In the future please specify BC when
    referring to the small city in Canada and not the city in Washington
    State. In any case thanks for the feedback. Best I can tell
    Canadians have a better sense of about their government than
    Californian and green denizens other left coast states.

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  16. By thomas on July 11, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    The top 5 hybrid  metro areas for 2009 were L.A., San Francisco, NYC, D.C., Chicago.  All  are aggressive, stop-and-go “driving environments” with pollution to spare.  With exception of Chicago, E85 use in these markets would probably be, as RR has said,  an “energy sink”.  So IF you’re going to drive in these cities, hybrids are a good solution (though far from ideal) to lower your energy consumption.

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  17. By thomas on July 11, 2010 at 6:31 pm

     Hybrids beat out small gas engine cars in traffic jam conditions.  LA, D.C., San Francisco are the “leaders” in this category. So these hybrid buyers  may be making better decisions than we think.

     

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  18. By Kit P on July 11, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    Thomas where do you live? I
    think you find that of the cities listed only the LA basin still has
    a significant air pollution problem. Driving aggressively in heavy
    traffic only exacerbates the problem.

     

    If you live in SF or NYC and
    own a car I would have to think you are the problem. Of course the
    problem I am speaking of is finding a place to park it.

     

    Too many people living in
    the same place, all who want to drive will cause huge environmental
    impact. Sure there are lots of places to eat, lots of entertainment,
    and many reason why people choose to live this way.

     

    If you live in the rat race
    of a big city I can see why you think there are environmental
    problems and the planet is being destroyed. However, it is a hell of
    your own choosing.

     

    The fraction of the US that
    is a bit dirty city is small. Most of the US consists of places with
    low populations, low housing costs, low taxes, low crime, and a clean
    environment.

     

    Tell me again Thomas what
    category of leadership you are referring to.

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  19. By thomas on July 11, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    “Air pollution to spare” means they have too much.  Aggressive  “taxi cab” driving benefits from hybrids. NYC actually accounts for half of all U.S. mass transit trips and is way ahead of the rest of the country. However, they still have  people stuck in traffic.  Most of the U.S. is not a dirty big city, but this is where most of the hybrids are being bought.

    There are plenty of heavily polluted small towns.  But that is another forum topic.

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  20. By thomas on July 11, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    LA, D.C., San Francisco drivers spend the most time stuck in traffic jams.

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  21. By fuel pump on October 5, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    That would be great! Especially today that many consumers are looking for cars that are fuel efficient. That’s why people are also considering hybrid cars as the greatest solution to the yearly increase of fuel. I bet this would attract many consumers.

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  22. By bow arrow on November 23, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    just wishing the mining components to the hybrids wouldn’t be so bad. saving gas is great but at what expense?

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  23. By Herm on November 23, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    “Nissan’s hybrid system contains fewer components than Toyota’s system, which therefore makes it lighter and less expensive than Toyota’s, according to Hayasaki. He attributed this to a simple design structure in the 3.5 liter V6 engine and electric motor that make up Nissan’s hybrid system.”

     

    He conveniently forgot to mention that the Infiniti uses a 7 speed transmission, that adds an incredible level of complexity over the simplicity of the Toyotas HSD system… which uses no transmission at allSmile.

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