Nissan Wins Japanese Industry Prize for Hybrid Technology

In Japan, Nissan Motor Co has been awarded the Contribution Prize of the Ichimura Prizes in Industry.

Hosted by the New Technology Development Foundation, the Ichimura Prizes in Industry award is now in its 44th year and is given to domestic individuals or organizations that show outstanding leadership in the field of new technologies.

This year, thanks to its one-motor, two-clutch parallel hybrid system, Nissan was presented with the Contribution Prize, being the only automaker to win such an award so far in 2012.

Although it started out by adapting Toyota’s own patented hybrid technology for use in Nissan gas-electric passenger vehicles, the Yokohama automaker has been making serious strides in the field of hybrid propulsion technology. Its one motor, two-clutch system was first introduced in the Infiniti M Hybrid and Japanese Domestic Market Nissan Fuga. It sports a 3.5-liter, 302 hp V6 gasoline engine and 50-kw electric motor integrated into the car’s automatic (not CVT) transmission and has been designed to combine V8 performance with four-cylinder fuel economy (approximately 24/32 miles per gallon city/highway).

Two clutches, one mounted between the engine’s crankshaft and electric motor; the other in the rear of the transmission, enable the gas engine to “de-couple” under deceleration or when the vehicle is operating in electric mode, while still providing the extra performance when needed.

Because the engine can be disconnected, friction and parasitic loss at low speeds and under braking are minimized, boosting electric motor efficiency and thus fuel economy. Using dual clutches dispenses with the need for a torque converter as found in traditional automatics, further reducing parasitic loss and improving throttle response.

The battery pack employed with the one motor, two-clutch system, sports laminated cells and manganese cathodes, which Nissan says is designed to improve temperature regulation and thus prolong battery life – still a major issue with most hybrids and EVs.

Besides winning the Ichimura Contribution Prize, the one motor, two-clutch system was also awarded the Technological Development Award by the Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan last year. So far in 2012, it has also received the Chairman’s Prize by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Machine Industry, as well as the Medal for New Technology by the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Green Car Congress via Nissan Global

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  • Anonymous

    “…has been designed to combine V8 performance with four-cylinder fuel economy…”

    …hence it’s a V6.

  • Van

    24/32 is certainly better than my 1996 V6 Avalon, but not by much.

    Now if you compare it to a 2012 Camry, the Nissan is more powerful (300 hp versus 200 hp) and quicker. But the Camry gets a EPA 40 MPG.

    And just how does this differ from the Sonata Hybrid design which also uses a conventional transmission?

  • jack ryan

    The Infiniti Hybrid gets 27/ 32 mpg 29 combined so that part of the article is incorrect.

    The combined output is 360hp and it will run 0-60 in under 5.5 seconds.

    The Sonota hybrid is a fwd vehicle which is foolish to include with a conventional automatic. Nissan’s fwd hybrid will use a cvt and the entire power( engine motor tranny) will reside over the front axle. So it can be packaged into any fwd vehicle with little modification. Oh and the output will be ~265hp.

    And why even bring up the Camry when the Infiniti M35H is a 4100 lbs rwd luxury vehicle. Not a 3400 hp fwd econobox.

  • Wade

    Problem with this V6 comment is this: a V6 lacks V8 performance. They also lack 4 cylinder economy. They are a compromise between the two desired ideals.
    The goal of this power plant is to achieve both ideals.

  • Van

    Thanks Dr. Ryan for your highly informative post. 27/32 is way better than my 1996 Avalon. I suppose comparing the fuel economy of a $29,000 Camry Hybrid with a $53,000 Infinity is unfair. But to say the Camry is an Eco-box, at 3400 lbs and the plump Infinity at 4100 lbs needs 700 lbs of bling seems a tad silly. The cars are about the same size with about the same dimensions. I think Luxury cars are simply a waste of money, but great cars like the Camry provide value.

    And I do not think the Sonota hybrid design is foolish, it got better mileage by far than the heavy weight Infinity.

    As far as acceleration, anything under 8 seconds seems adequate to me, as I do not need to prove anything when I leave a toll booth.

    But again thanks, I look forward to the 265 Hp FWD hybrid to come.

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  • ted

    How can the introduction of clutches be a good idea? Clutches burn out regularly and become a maintenance expense. Seems like a step backward , not forward.

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