Nissan has been selling a hybrid version of its Altima sedan for the past two years but the core technology of the vehicle, the petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain, is based on technology borrowed from Toyota. Nissan has always promised to deliver a vehicle using its own proprietary hybrid drive system, and the company has now previewed that technology in the form of two new prototypes.

Under the ‘Nissan GT 2012’ business plan, the company has committed to zero-emission vehicle leadership, and has announced plans to introduce an electric vehicle (EV) in 2010.

Powered by advanced lithium-ion batteries, the EV prototype is part of Nissan’s substantial research and development programme on zero emission vehicles. This latest generation vehicle features a FWD layout and uses a newly developed 107hp (80kW) motor and inverter. The production version, to be introduced in 2010, will have a unique bodystyle and won’t be based on any existing Nissan model.

The hybrid prototype, meanwhile, based on the Infiniti G35 sedan, combines a RWD layout with a parallel-powertrain hybrid system. The system features two clutches, where the electric motor is directly connected to the engine and transmission via these two separate clutches.

The parallel-powertrain hybrid system eliminates the need for conventional torque converters, contributing to higher responsiveness and linear acceleration for improved driving feel. The different driving modes include electric only drive at low speeds, electric idling of the engine, combined electric and petrol power at high loads, and petrol only power when cruising. Because the hybrid system is based on lithium-ion battery technology, its market release isn’t scheduled until after 2010.