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Car 101: Nissan's Altima Hybrid
An Intelligent Game of Catch-Up
While Nissan has been working on gasoline-electric hybrid powertrains for quite some time, it was unconvinced that a business case existed for expensive hybrids. Thus, its first hybrid model in 2007 emerged late in the game compared to rivals Honda and Toyota, which entered the hybrid market seven years earlier. In an intelligent game of catch-up, Nissan licensed Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive technology to get a jump on bringing the Altima hybrid to market in short order once the decision was made to move forward.
Advanced Nissan Technologies
Even though Toyota's well-regarded hybrid technology is at work beneath the hood of this popular Nissan model, there's plenty of Nissan core technology that's also brought to bear. The hybrid system includes a 40 hp electric motor that aids a refined 2.5-liter four-cylinder QR25 Nissan engine to provide a combined 198 horsepower. This power is directed to the wheels via an electronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). The Altima Hybrid offers many advanced features including Nissan's Vehicle Dynamic Control, traction control, four-wheel power-assisted disc brakes, anti-lock braking, electric power rack-and-pinion steering, and four-wheel independent suspension.
Electric-Only Power at Low Speeds
Like most popular full hybrids, the Altima Hybrid's electric motor can provide initial electric-only propulsion from a stop under certain circumstances and for a limited time. Quicker starts are handled by the internal combustion engine. The electric motor also assists the gasoline engine at highway speeds when additional acceleration is needed.
Achieves 35 City MPG
The 2008 Altima Hybrid's EPA estimated fuel economy is 35 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. It emits near-zero emissions and achieves the California Air Resources Board's Advanced Technology-Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) standard. The Altima Hybrid's 20 gallon fuel tank provides a projected driving range of up to 700 miles.
Available in Eight States
Built at Nissan's manufacturing facility in Smyrna, Tennessee, the Altima Hybrid is offered only in eight "green" states with California style emissions regulations: California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont, at a suggested retail price of $25,480. A $2,450 federal tax credit is available for the 2008 Altima Hybrid as of this writing, although this is subject to change in the future.
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