Altima Hybrid Puts Doubters Out to Pasture

Dec. 20, 2006: The Los Angeles Times—The Beast with Two Brands

Summary: "You know that horror movie where the mad scientist straps two victims to tilted gurneys, lowers the metal skull caps on them and, by dint of some Ray Harryhausen special effects — the sparking dynamo, the climbing plasma of a Jacob’s ladder — the victims’ personalities are switched?

The 2007 Nissan Altima hybrid is like that, except without the smoking hair. The company’s first effort at a gas-electric, using parts and technology licensed from Toyota, drives like a Nissan with a Prius soul transplant: The same ninja-in-the-night silence as the car trundles along at low speeds; the same faint tremble when the gas engine lights up; the same bubbly, torque-infused acceleration as the gas and electric motors pull on the oars, only quite a bit more so."

The last holdouts seem to be crumbling under the weighty evidence that hybrids are, indeed, here to stay. Even as Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn grumbles about the economics of hybrid battery technology, the company has come out with a plan to green up for the 21st century.

And it looks like Neil expects to see a series hybrid concept that could get 100 mpg on display in Detroit next month. Could it be GM’s iCar?

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