This article reports its author's test drive in the Altra, Nissan's first electric car to be offered for sale outside Japan. Nissan will supply 90 Altras to the USA during 1999 and 2000, at a retail price of $50,999 and a monthly lease of $599, including guarantee and roadside assistance. The Altra has a Hitachi-developed, water-cooled, permanent magnet, synchronous electric motor, which is the first to use the very efficient Nd-Fe-B alloy. It has 62kW power, and maximum rotor speed 13,000rpm, and exceptionally high power-to-weight ratio 1.6kW/kg. A unique lithium-ion battery pack, developed by Sony, provides the power. It delivers a nominal 345V from twelve modules of eight cells each, and weighs 350kg. Its life is at least 1200 cycles and could be as high as 2000 cycles. The Altra has hydraulic power steering driven by an electric pump, with a mechanical hydraulic pump operating only when power assistance is needed. Auxiliary systems for heating, ventilation, etc. are powered by a conventional 12V lead acid battery, charged from the main battery system. The regenerative braking system operates on two levels. Batteries are replenished by an external inductive charger. The instrument panel is fully digital. The Hitachi motor system could enable Nissan to produce the first commercial fuel cell electric vehicle.

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  • Authors:
    • CROSSE, J
  • Publication Date: 1999-4


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 79-80
  • Serial:
    • Volume: 24
    • Issue Number: 4
    • Publisher: Institution of Mechanical Engineers
    • ISSN: 0307-6490

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00767077
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Aug 6 1999 12:00AM