Nissan Altima Hybrid starts at $24,400 for the few who can buy it

The Altima Hybrid is a strange bird, a very strange bird indeed. Nissan signed a deal with Toyota back in 2002 to license its Hybrid Synergy Drive technology for use in the Altima Hybrid, but will be dropping the Toyota bits as soon as an in-house team can develop its own hybrid technology. Meanwhile, the Altima Hybrid will be sold with Toyota technology in only eight states, which include California and seven other northeastern states that have adopted California's strict emissions regulations. Nissan announced today that the car will carries a base price of $24,440.

We've got more to say on the Nissan Altima Hybrid after the jump, along with Nissan's official press release.

[Source: Nissan]

Of the hybrids available on the market today, the Altima Hybrid would be the one sitting in our green garage. It's bigger than a Prius, more stylish than a Camry Hybrid and not as expensive as a Lexus GS450h. We have proof of that last point now since Nissan announced today that it's MSRP will be $24,440. We learned earlier that the Altima Hybrid met the requirements for the Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit and therefore qualifies for a $2,350 tax credit. Nevertheless, the car will only be offered in these states, which is unfortunate for anyone seeking stylish, economical and reasonably priced green transportation.

AutoblogGreen has Nissan officials on the record saying that it wants to test the hybrid market in regions that will be most receptive, but off the record everyone understands that the Altima Hybrid will help the automaker comply with these states' partial zero emissions vehicle mandate. The problem is that Nissan will be losing money on every Altima Hybrid sold, so those who do live in states where the car is offered should appreciate the deal on which the rest of us are missing out.


Nissan Announces Pricing on 2007 Altima Hybrid

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 30, 2007) – Nissan today announced a starting Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $24,400 for the 2007 Nissan Altima Hybrid, Nissan's first entry in the hybrid electric vehicle market.

The new hybrid sedan is on sale now at Nissan retailers in the eight states that have adopted California emissions regulations – California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. The Altima Hybrid has been certified by the Internal Revenue Service as meeting the requirements for the Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit, thereby qualifying for a tax credit of $2,350.

Altima Hybrid's EPA fuel economy is estimated at 42 mpg City and 36 mpg Highway. It is rated as an Advanced Technology-Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) and emits almost no evaporative emissions.

"The Altima Hybrid offers all the style, convenience, comfort, quality feel and performance technology features and highlights of the next-generation 2007 Altima sedan, while offering the added benefits of improved fuel economy and reduced emissions," said Bill Bosley, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division. "Combined with Altima's standard 20-gallon fuel tank, Altima Hybrid has a projected driving range of up to 700 miles between fill-ups. More importantly, it drives just like any other Nissan – with smooth acceleration, responsive handling and a seamless delivery of power under almost all driving conditions."

The Altima Hybrid features a high level of standard equipment, including 16-inch alloy wheels, Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition, power windows/door locks, 6-speaker AM/FM/CD system with auxiliary audio input jack, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), Traction Control System (TCS) and dual-zone automatic temperature control that includes an Altima Hybrid-specific electrically powered A/C that continues to provide cooling when the gasoline engine is stopped.

It also offers an extensive list of standard safety features, including the Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS), front seat-mounted side-impact supplemental air bags for chest protection, roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags for front and rear outboard occupant head protection and front seat Active Head Restraints.

Altima Hybrid is offered in one model and with three available option packages – Convenience Package, Connection Package (with either SiriusÔ or XMÒ satellite radio) and Technology Package.

The 2007 Nissan Altima is also available in five other models: Altima 2.5, 2.5 S, 2.5 S with SL Package and two 3.5-liter V6-powered models, the Altima 3.5 SE and 3.5 SL. The all-new 2008 Altima Coupe is scheduled to go on sale in summer 2007.

"The new Altima has been a tremendous success since it was launched in November, helping fuel record Altima sales of nearly 25,000 units in December 2006, marking an increase of nearly 40 percent over the previous year," said Bosley. "The new Altima Hybrid expands the choices available for our buyers, keeping Altima at the forefront of the segment in terms of value, performance, quality, technology and selection."

About the 2007 Altima Hybrid

The Altima Hybrid powertrain mates a refined version of Nissan's QR25 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and standard electronically controlled CVT with an advanced electric drive motor/generator that increases fuel economy while maintaining low tailpipe emissions.

The advanced energy drive system shares duties between the gasoline-powered 4-cylinder and the emissions-free electric motor – allowing the Altima Hybrid to run solely on electric power if appropriate, especially during stop-and-go driving. If extra performance is needed, the gasoline engine starts instantly and smoothly adds power as required. The Altima Hybrid has a hybrid system net power rating of 198 horsepower (148 kW). Acceleration from zero to 60 mph is estimated at about 0.5 seconds quicker than a standard 2.5-liter 4-cylinder equipped Altima.

The Altima Hybrid utilizes regenerative braking technology to recharge the hybrid system's batteries. The Regenerative Cooperative Brake System calculates braking force generated by brake pedal operation and controls the regenerative brake force to convert kinetic energy into electric energy, optimizing energy regeneration.

In order to power the electric motor, a generator places resistance on the driveshaft during braking. The system converts this friction to usable energy that is stored in the system's 244.8V Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery for eventual use by the electric motor.

Helping provide smooth acceleration and maximize powertrain efficiency is the Altima Hybrid's hybrid system-specific eCVT, which works in conjunction with the Hybrid Vehicle-Electric Control Unit (HV-ECU) to determine which power source or combination of power sources will turn the wheels.

Altima Hybrid's electric motor produces high torque at low rpm, allowing it to utilize its Electric Vehicle (EV) mode to power the car from a standing idle and through initial acceleration without the assistance of the gasoline engine. Standing-start acceleration is typically a gasoline-only powered vehicle's least fuel-efficient stage and Altima Hybrid offers much of its fuel-efficiency benefits here.

Altima Hybrid's all-electric mode, called Electric Vehicle (EV) mode, occurs in the initial acceleration phase. After the electric motor provides initial acceleration, the gasoline engine quietly starts and assumes the load of powering the vehicle.

The gasoline engine works independently through cruising speeds until the vehicle reaches speeds at which fuel efficiency declines. When loads require, the electric motor starts again and aids the gasoline engine in powering the Altima Hybrid. This allows the gasoline engine to remain in its ideal rpm range while the axle rpm simultaneously increases due to the extra power being contributed by the electric motor.

A digital display on the speedometer indicates when the Altima Hybrid is running solely on electric power. The Altima Hybrid's available DVD navigation system also features a real-time display showing how the hybrid system directs the flow of energy.

Serving as the foundation for all fourth generation 2007 Altimas – including Hybrid – is Nissan's all-new "D" platform with improved body rigidity and a redesigned suspension. The new platform includes a subframe-mounted front suspension with new geometry and shock absorbers with rebound springs. The half-shafts now have equal angles and are more parallel to the ground – virtually eliminating traditional front-wheel drive torque steer.

Altima's new body design is a continuation of its distinctive, iconic, sporty design. The exterior features an aggressive stance, a strong wedge character line and signature Altima-style taillights. Inside, the new Altima utilizes refined workmanship, high-quality materials and a long list of available amenities. The Altima Hybrid shares exterior and interior designs with the other 2007 Altima models – with the exception of unique Hybrid badging, roof-mounted antenna and hybrid power/charge display in the driver information display.

The Altima Hybrid also joins other Altima models with an impressive list of available convenience features, including leather-appointed seating, Bluetoothâ hands-free phone system, RearViewä Monitor, satellite radio and Nissan's Advanced Navigation System with real-time Energy Flow Display.

The new Altima is assembled at the Nissan North America Manufacturing Smyrna, Tennessee plant.

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