The upcoming 2012 Infiniti M35h hybrid sedan will be the first vehicle featuring Nissan’s own proprietary gasoline-electric hybrid system. If you don’t recall, Nissan has sold a hybrid vehicle before, in the form of the Altima Hybrid, but this model relied on technology borrowed from Toyota.
As for the new M35h, it will be one of the most advanced hybrid vehicles on the market and Infiniti will be looking to take advantage of that fact by using its technology in other models.
Speaking with Automotive News, Nissan North America's vice president of product planning for the Americas, Larry Dominque, revealed that the hybrid system was designed to fit all of Infiniti's rear-wheel drive models, including the G Sedan and Coupe and the EX and FX crossovers.
Key to Nissan’s hybrid system is its one motor/two clutch design. The first clutch is installed between the V-6 engine and the electric motor, which is embedded within the automatic transmission. The electronically controlled clutch allows the full decoupling of the V-6 when the car is in electric drive and power regeneration modes. Decoupling the V-6 reduces mechanical drag and boosts the efficiency of the electric motor.
The end result is a car with the performance of a high-displacement V-6 but the fuel economy of a compact four-cylinder.
The 2012 Infiniti M35h isn’t set to go on sale until next spring, which means any subsequent hybrid vehicles from Nissan or Infiniti won’t be launched until after then.
[Automotive News, sub req’d]