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Monday, July 27, 2009

Nissan previews electric car platform

Nissan Motor Co. showed off its super-quiet, zero-emission electric car Monday — a key offering for Japan's No. 3 automaker.

The prototype is based on Nissan's Tiida car (Versa in North America), has room for 4 people and a top speed of just over 140kph. The Ev has a 80 kW / 280 Nm BLDC electric motor with a regenerative brake system that recharges the battery during deceleration and braking. This helps the car achieve a range of just under 100 miles on a full charge. That covers the typical daily distance driven by 98 percent of Japanese and British motorists, 95 percent of German drivers, 90 percent of those in France and about 80 percent of the average daily distance in the U.S. and China.

"Nissan will be a leader in zero-emission vehicles," Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga said ahead of a test-drive event at the automaker's facility. "EV is the answer." Sales of Nissan's electric vehicle is scheduled to begin next year. Nissan says it plans to mass produce zero-emission cars globally from 2012.

A 24 kWh laminated compact lithium ion battery pack sits under the car's floor without compromising cabin or cargo space. The battery layout allows smooth underfloor air flow which helps reduce drag. A quick charge station, connected to a 3-phase 400 volt supply, can recharge the car in just 30 minutes and Nissan envisages these will be built around towns as part of a wider infrastructure to support electric vehicles. In the test car sockets for both home charging and quick charging are hidden under the Nissan badge at the front of the car.

When the car is plugged in there is a timer function which allows users to pre-set the air-con to come on at a set time and cool the cabin to a set temperature. As a result, the car is cooled using mains power, so the battery doesn't have to be used. The timer can also be used to set the battery charging at a specified time at night to benefit from more favourable electricity rates.

The company is also experimenting with wireless charging system that uses induction between a charging plate on the street and one on the bottom of the car. The prototype EV doesn't have this system but Nissan demonstrated it on another car. The system charges the battery when the two plates are aligned so Nissan envisages these to be installed in parking bays.

Nissan's electric vehicle has a function within it's in-dash GPS navigation system that shows the driving radius within range of the car's current level of charge, to reassure drivers who suffer 'range anxiety'. It can also calculate if the vehicle is within range of a selected on-map destination.

Nissan will unveil the electric car's exterior design at the companies new Yokohama headquarters Aug. 2. Stay tuned!

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