Nissan Motor Co. launched the high-end Fuga hybrid, its first gasoline-electric car developed in-house. Nissan claims that this car offers 45 mpg (5.3 liters per 100km) in Japan – a rating that’s comparable to a compact car. The Fuga, which is Nissan's top-of-the-line sedan, is priced from 5,775,000 yen ($71,470).
In the US, the Fuga is sold as the Infiniti M and a few other markets. When the hybrid version of the car rolls out in Europe in spring 2011, it will be known as the M35h. Nissan actually falls behind its rivals Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. by more than 10 years in offering a proprietary hybrid model.
Instead, Nissan aims to lead in the zero-emission segment with its top shareholder Renault SA by presenting the Leaf, the first mass-scale electric car, this year.
Nissan asserts that its one-motor, two-clutch hybrid system would offer a much better fuel economy rating at a very low technical cost compared with hybrid leader Toyota's complex, two-motor "series parallel" system.
Nissan claims that the Fuga hybrid has the best fuel economy among high-end gasoline-electric sedans, surpassing the Toyota Crown hybrid's 37 mpg rating.
The structure of Nissan's hybrid system is similar to the Volkswagen AG. It mounts an extra clutch that separates the electric motor from the engine to enable driving using only electric power when the battery is charged.