Right on the heels of Nissan’s announcement that it would discontinue the limited-market Altima Hybrid midsize sedan after the 2011 model year, comes a report from a Japanese publication that the car’s departure will be brief.
According to the Nikkan Kogyo business newspaper in Japan, Nissan is developing a new Altima Hybrid that will more than likely be based on the one electric motor, two-clutch layout employed in the rear-wheel drive 2012 Infiniti M35h luxury sedan. The Altima’s hybrid powertrain will be adapted for use with a four-cylinder engine, front-wheel drive, and a continuously variable transmission. Word has it that the next Altima Hybrid will follow suit with Nissan’s other new hybrid and electric vehicles and go with lithium-ion batteries instead of the outgoing Altima’s older nickel-metal hydride technology.
Currently, Nissan licenses its Altima Hybrid’s battery-electric powertrain from Toyota, which it has done since the car went on sale in 2007. Nissan has only sold the Altima Hybrid in the 11 states that adhere to California’s strict emissions standards, delivering about 35,000 to customers in its four years on sale.
While Nissan has publicly denied the information leaked about the next Altima Hybrid or when it will be released, insiders have hinted that it could drop as early as the 2012 calendar year. Last week when we reported on demise of the 2011 Altima Hybrid, we said that it probably wouldn’t be the last time car buyers would see a midsize Nissan with an electric motor powering the wheels. If these rumors prove true, that could happen a lot sooner than initially thought.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)