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All-New Nissan Altra EV: A Friendly, High-Tech Electric Vehicle for Everyday Life

29 December 1997

All-New Nissan Altra EV: A Friendly, High-Tech Electric Vehicle for Everyday Life

    LOS ANGELES, Dec. 29 -- Nissan kicks off the new year with
the introduction of a revolutionary new electric vehicle, the Nissan Altra
EV -- making its North American public debut January 2-11 at the 1998 Los
Angeles International Auto Show at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  The
Altra EV represents the beginning of a new era of clean, quiet and pollution-
free automobiles being developed by Nissan for the United States.
    The stylish, four-passenger minivan is the first production EV in the
United States to use Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, the same superior power
source used in high-end notebook computers and video recorders.  The
lightweight, energy-efficient Li-ion batteries extend the Altra EV's maximum
driving range to 120 miles -- the longest range (combined city and highway) of
any EV currently available in the United States.
    "The Altra EV is a significant step forward in bringing an emissions-free
transportation solution to American consumers," said Tom Eastwood, vice
president and general manager, Nissan Division.  "The Altra EV is a
sophisticated real-world solution for today's environmentally conscious
    The Altra EV is being manufactured on an all-new platform at Nissan's
high-quality Atsugi assembly plant in Japan.  Based on an agreement with the
California Air Resources Board, Nissan will provide a demonstration fleet of
30 Altra EVs to a select number of California fleet users in 1998.  An
additional 90 demonstration units will be available to fleet users in 1999,
with retail sales beginning in 2000.

    Altra EV Concept and Styling
    The Altra EV is a purpose-built vehicle which offers a clean, quiet and
versatile concept for both consumer and commercial use.  Altra EV was
engineered at the Nissan Technical Center in Tochigi, Japan and designed to
combine the refinement and versatility of a minivan with the ease-of-use and
pollution-free benefits of an EV.
    The vehicle's styling, like its name, projects a sophisticated, stylish
image, while conveying the EV's distinctive alternative energy theme.  The
Altra EV's smooth, aerodynamic styling establishes a futuristic, yet
functional, presence -- featuring body-color front and rear fascias and gentle
curves from front to rear.  Altra EV will be available in three exterior
colors: white, silver and green.
    Beneath its sleek exterior, Altra EV offers a high level of comfort and
utility.  With seating for four adults and 221 pounds of cargo capacity, Altra
EV offers a spacious transportation solution for fleets and consumers.
    A unique titanium-colored digital instrument panel provides a user-
friendly presentation of performance and charge status -- creating a
futuristic cockpit feel.

    Battery/Charging Technology
    The advanced Li-ion battery of the Altra EV, which was jointly developed
by Nissan and Sony Corporation, offers superior energy density, delivering a
greater energy charge from a smaller, lighter battery pack.  As a result,
these batteries achieve the high level of 90 watt-hours per kilogram -- about
three times the energy density of conventional lead-acid batteries and more
than 150 percent that of nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) batteries.
    The new Li-ion batteries consist of a module of eight cells connected in a
series.  The battery pack for the Altra EV, which weighs approximately 800
pounds, contains twelve modules or 96 cells.  Each cell measures 2.6 inches in
diameter and 16 inches in length.
    The Altra EV uses an inductive charging system, the same system used by
General Motors.  Primary benefits of this platform and the Li-ion battery
include a five-hour charge period and accurate state-of-charge (SOC)
measurement, without the "memory effects" of lead-acid and Ni-MH batteries.
    The inductive charging system allows the Altra EV to be recharged through
electromagnetic induction rather than through direct contact.  This provides a
safe and consumer-friendly alternative to the traditional conductive charging

    The Altra EV is equipped with a permanent magnet synchronous motor and a
new 32-bit high-speed RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computing) motor
controller processor.  The motor features a compact design, yet it generates
maximum power of 62 kilowatts or 83 horsepower, and maximum torque of 117 ft-
    The unique magnetic circuitry and lightweight design (approximately 85
pounds) of the Altra EV motor make it possible to achieve a high overall
energy efficiency of approximately 90 percent under ordinary driving
conditions.  And because the motor is capable of operating at an ultra-high
speed of 13,000 rpm, it was possible to reduce the motor weight 40 percent
compared to conventional induction motors.

    Comfort and Safety
    The Altra EV offers numerous standard features, including
AM/FM/Cassette/CD stereo with four speakers; power mirrors, windows and lock
switches; pre-programmable air conditioning and a 1.0 kW portable charging
unit.  For driver convenience, the Altra EV is also equipped with a keyless
remote entry and state-of-charge (SOC) control system.
    For driver safety, the Altra EV is designed with a solid lineup of
standard safety equipment.  Nissan's EV meets all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety
Standards and is equipped with standard dual air bags, 3-point front seat
belts with height-adjustable upper anchors for user comfort,  pipe-style steel
side-door guard beams and 4-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS) with energy-
producing regenerative braking technology.
    In addition to the Altra EV's conventional safety features, the battery
pack is mounted below the vehicle floor, minimizing impact-related battery
damage.  A high-voltage power source circuit breaker provides additional
safety benefits in the event that one or more of the vehicle's batteries is
    In North America, Nissan's operations include styling, engineering,
manufacturing, sales, consumer and corporate financing, and industrial and
textile equipment.  Nissan in North America employs more than 20,000 people in
the United States, Canada and Mexico, and generates more than 70,000 jobs
through more than 1,500 Nissan and Infiniti dealerships across the continent.
More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan
and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at

SOURCE  Nissan North America, Inc.