Up to this point, Nissan has relied on hybrid technology purchased and licensed from the undisputed leader in hybrid vehicles. That would be Toyota, naturally. But the two Japanese automakers will be moving in separate directions in short order as Nissan has developed its own hybrid powertrain technology, and unlike most other automakers, Nissan's system will debut powering a rear-wheel-drive machine wearing the Infiniti badge.
And there's apparently another way Nissan and Infiniti's first in-house hybrid system will differ from Toyota's full hybrid and Honda's mild hybrid. According to Koichi Hayasaki, chief engineer of Nissan's rear-wheel-drive hybrid system, "Typically, carmakers say the fuel economy improvement on their cars using a 'strong' or 'full' hybrid system is roughly 30 percent, while for 'mild' hybrids, it's 15 percent. We're aiming for an improvement of 60 to 90 percent."
Further, Nissan claims its hybrid system, which will use a single electric motor and twin clutches instead of two electric motors as used by Toyota, will be simpler and lighter than its competitors. It will also use lithium ion batteries instead of cheaper but less energy dense nickel metal hydride. If Nissan can manage to hit all of its targets, we may be looking at a new hybrid standard bearer.