Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. are preparing to place two new hybrid vehicles on the market for American consumers in the next few years. Nissan has announced that its 2007 Altima Hybrid will be available for sale early next year, and Honda will build a subcompact gas-electric hybrid car by 2009.
The 2007 Altima Hybrid is a full hybrid, able to operate on an electric motor, a gasoline engine, or a combination of both. The four-door sedan features regenerative braking and has a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine and Xtronic continuously variable transmission. Although Nissan developed the Altima Hybrid’s gasoline engine and electric motor, the company purchased some of the vehicle’s other technology, such as the transaxle, inverter, battery, and control unit, from Toyota Motor Co. According to Nissan, the Altima Hybrid will be available in California and the seven other states that have adopted California’s emissions regulations (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont).
Honda recently announced that it will begin developing a “new, more affordable, dedicated hybrid car.” The vehicle will be an entirely new model and will be built in Japan, according to Dick Colliver, Executive Vice President of Honda’s North American operation. In September, the automaker will halt production of the Insight, the first hybrid introduced in the domestic market. Its in-development hybrid will join Honda’s Civic and Accord hybrid offerings.