Nissan has confirmed that its first hybrid will arrive in Europe in 2010, as part of its luxury, Lexus-rivalling Infiniti range.
However, at a recent preview event involving a rear-drive Infiniti M35 hybrid prototype, Nissan's Japanese project leader admitted there were still 'issues' with the company's next-generation hybrid programme. A prototype Infiniti reportedly suffered awkward power losses and jerky deceleration as its battery was recharging.
"We still have a few issues with this development vehicle," Tatsuo Abe, manager of Nissan's hybrid engineering unit, explained to Automotive News. "We need to make some adjustments before 2010."
The Infiniti prototype uses a 3.5 litre V6 Infiniti M35 with a parallel hybrid system, which aims to be more efficient than the layout used in the Lexis hybrids and is meant to offer more responsive performance.
Key differences compared with a Lexus include the use of one electric motor rather than two. It also has a pair of dry clutches instead of the planetary gearset that permanently links the Lexus's two motor-generators to its petrol engine. The advantage is that the electric engine can drive without a physical connection to the petrol engine, reducing driveline drag.