New Luxury Nissan Hybrid Launched

Japanese car manufacturer, Nissan Motor Co. showcased the new gas-electric hybrid, called Fuga in Tokyo, Japan. The hybrid will hit the market in Japan on Nov. 2. The price starts from 5.8 million yen (Rs. 32 lakh) – much expensive than the regular petrol version which starts at about 4.3 million yen (Rs. 23.5 lakh).

It will be launched in US markets early 2011. It will be launched in Europe also but the date has not been fixed yet. Nissan hopes to sell 200 vehicles a month in Japan.

Nissan’s Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga while interacting with the press said that sales will likely be bigger than 200 in the U.S. , where the Infiniti is already popular. He declined to give any number or reveal the price tag.

Mileage of the new hybrid Nissan Fuga is estimated at 19 km/liter under Japanese test-driving conditions, which is about double the comparable gas-engine vehicle. Mileage for the U.S. is still unclear, according to sources in Nissan.

The luxury car boasts of same stylish design, opulent interiors and top-of-the-line sound system that are synonymous with the Infiniti luxury brand.

The hybrid version switches between a gasoline engine and an electric motor to deliver a more fuel efficient drive, cutting down on gas emissions and increasing mileage 100%.

Nissan’s COO declared that “This premium car delivers both the highest quality mileage and the highest quality drive”.

The Nissan hybrids power is stored in a lithium-ion battery. It is similar to what you will find in electronic gadgets such as laptops. Nissan has collaborated with Japanese electronic giant NEC Corp. for battery development.

Nissan’s rival Toyota Motor Corp.’s Prius hybrid uses traditional nickel metal hydride batteries. Recently, all major automakers have been experimenting with newer lithium-ion for powering cars.

Nissan has been lacking a mass-produced hybrid in its stable. It’s only hybrid Altima sedan, sold only in the U.S. , uses Toyota ‘s hybrid system. Nissan decided to develop its own hybrid system. COO Shiga said Nissan is working on other hybrid models, including smaller models, but did not divulge any details.

The launch of the Fuga points to the fact that Nissan is trying hard to catch up with its more illustrious rival Toyota . Nissan is playing catch up to Toyota which has hybrid versions of its Lexus models. Even Honda also offers hybrid versions of Insight, Fit and CR-Z.

Nissan’s focus in recent years has been zero emission vehicles as declared by Nissan’s CEO Carlos Ghosn. There commitment to this endeavor can be seen in Leaf electric vehicle which is ready for launch in December, 2010.