Nissan LEAF and Nissan Hybrids: Nationwide By Late Next Year

Despite reports to the contrary, Nissan is not anti-hybrid. In fact, the Nissan Altima Hybrid is arguably has just the right combination of power, style and fuel economy to be a mainstream hit. So why isn’t the Altima Hybrid—with its compelling combo of power, handling, style, and fuel economy—well known from coast-to-coast?

Because it’s only available in nine states: California and the eight states that have adopted California’s emissions rules: Oregon, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. (Even with its limited availability, the Altima Hybrid outsold the Honda Civic Hybrid and Toyota Highlander Hybrid in May 2010. See our hybrid and diesel market dashboard.)

When the 2011 Altima Hybrid is introduced later this year, it will once again be limited to those nine states. This probably has a lot to do with Nissan wanting to downplay the viability of hybrids, as it focuses on a rollout of its all-electric Nissan LEAF. Keep in mind that the LEAF for the first year or so will also be limited to key markets on the West Coast, in Arizona and Tennessee. (The Chevy Volt is also geo-targeted to California, Michigan and Washington, D.C.)

From Coast to Coast

The good news is that the 2012 Altima Hybrid will indeed go nationwide. At the same time, next year’s model—not the version coming out later this year—will feature Nissan’s own proprietary hybrid system, rather than the gas-electric technology borrowed from Toyota for the current Altima Hybrid.

When we spoke with Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn at the recent groundbreaking of its electric battery plant, he said, “We have hybrids. We’re selling the Altima Hybrid in the United States. We’re bringing the Infiniti M Hybrid, and we’re very proud of it. So, I don’t want to give you the impression that we neglect this technology. We don’t. But we’re not leaders.”

Instead, Nissan is taking the lead on pure electric cars—a bold position that is pushing the envelop on battery-powered vehicles. Thanks goodness that Mr. Ghosn had the vision and the courage to lead the way on pure electric cars.

So, by the end of next year, Nissan-Infiniti dealerships throughout the United States will have an electric car and at least two hybrids—with its own technology. (We wouldn’t be surprised if a plug-in hybrid wasn’t too far off in the future.)

Bring on the electrics, but don’t think that they will supplant hybrids. Expect EVs to sit side-by-side with conventional hybrids and plug-in hybrids, in an increasingly attractive array of big and small, sporty and sedate models—available in every state in the nation. That’s when we’ll know that the green car revolution has finally arrived.


  • Collin Burnell

    I guess that ‘proves’ my theory. That it was the agreement with Toyota that was limiting the Altima Hybrid to 9 states. I am already looking forward to the 2012 (All Nissan) model.

  • FamilyGuy

    As the pround owner of a 2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid, I want to tell everyone that I love it. This sums it all up, “…the right combination of power, style and fuel economy …”. Bingo! It’s great. Nice acceleration when I want it, looks like a regular car (I don’t need everyone to know that I’m driving a hybrid) and good MPGs. Even with a reduced trunk, I can still pack both kids for a four day week and go away. My Wife gets to drive it as the commuter car. But on the right situations, I’ll switch over the car seats so that we can take it out on the weekend as a family. It’s great.

  • electric bike

    I guess this is good news and progress in the uato world.. bring on the leccy!

  • Collin Burnell

    Am I the only one who HATES it when the (HVAC) recirculating button (or function) turns itself off? In the Altima, the cabin fills up instantly with the toxic fumes of the vehicle in front of me. I actually have to open the windows to let the fumes out. Apparently this design is common…

  • Anonymous

    To bad they are not selling in all states. They will loose market share to ford and hyundai as nissan reputation in this region is not very strong.

  • j. wells

    To bad they are not selling in all states. They will loose market share to ford and hyundai as nissan reputation in this region is not very strong.

  • ted

    How come my nissan hybrid only gets 25 mpg and the dealer says this is normal? I think they are lying about the gas mileage, or else are to dumb to fix it. Phoenix, AZ

  • cwerdna

    Please see what Consumer Reports got in their testing at http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/new-cars/buying-advice/most-fuelefficient-cars-206/index.htm. Your mileage will vary, depending on many factors such as length of drive, tire pressure, how you drive it, oil, oil level, tire pressure, etc.

    If you really want mileage help, please answer the questions at http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-ii-prius-fuel-economy/77075-fuel-economy-complaints-queries-please-copy-paste-answer-these-questions-esp-if-youre-new.html with a post containing answers at http://priuschat.com/forums/nissan-hybrids-evs/.

    Also, if you have some expectation based on EPA figures, please read http://priuschat.com/forums/other-cars/67235-car-driver-truth-about-epa-city-highway-mpg-estimates.html.

  • yes. me too!

    And it gives a headache ! I think its the battery fumes coming inside the cabin..whats with that? Are they like anhealthy?

  • Ira

    Why was the Altima hybrid discontinued? I love my 2008 and would have leased another.

  • tapra1

    When the 2011 Altima Hybrid is introduced later this year, it will once again be limited to those nine states. This probably has a lot to do with Nissan wanting to downplay the viability of hybrids, Tutorials