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Nissan’s Supercharged Hybrid Drivetrain To Debut In 2014 Infiniti JX

Once upon a time, hybrid cars were boring. But as we move deeper into the 21st century, automakers are realizing the potential hybrid vehicle drivetrains represent. As previously reported, Nissan is working on a hybrid drivetrain paired with a supercharged engine. Now comes word that this system will make its debut in the 2014 Infiniti JX crossover.
This system is reportedly an upgrade to the current hybrid system used in the powerful Infiniti M35h rear-wheel drive sedan, but will be modified for use in front-drive applications. But while the M35h has a 3.5 liter V6 engine, the new system will use a single electric motor setup with a 2.5 liter supercharged four-cylinder engine. This will allow for more power, but less fuel consumption.

Nissan’s decision to forgo turbochargers in favor of a supercharger is an interesting one. While turbos are powered by exhaust gases, and sales of turbocharged vehicles could triple by 2017, superchargers run directly off of the crankshaft, allowing for more immediate delivery of low-end torque.

The M35h currently makes a combined output of 360 horsepower between its V6 engine and electric motor, and Nissan engineers are probably hoping for at least 300 horsepower combined from this new supercharged setup. Honda tuner Mugen recently put a supercharger to work on the Honda CR-Z hybrid with powerful results, so the performance potential is definitely there.

Nissan hasn’t been as keen on hybrid vehicles as other automakers, betting instead on pure electric vehicles. But that bet so far hasn’t paid off, perhaps leading the Japanese automaker to re-evaluate their game plan. Personally, I love the idea of a supercharged hybrid setup, and it could even be used in the next Nissan Z car, which is rumored to be smaller, lighter, and more fuel-efficient than the current V6-powered 370Z.

Is this the first wave of forced-induction hybrid vehicles? Will other automakers hop on board? This writer certainly hopes so. We’re at a point where hybrid cars shouldn’t be boring anymore. Once more drivers realize the potential for fun and excitement in hybrid vehicles, I believe we’ll see the market for hybrids really take off.

Source: AutoWeek

http://gas2.org/2012/10/19/nissans-supercharged-hybrid-drivetrain-to-debut-in-2014-infiniti-jx/
 

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Where will the hybrid batteries for the JX reside? If they don't take any of the current cargo room and it has improved acceleration, I'd be apt to wait a year for the supercharged hybrid.
 

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Not sure snopyro, but I'd guess they end up using the space in the back where the "trunk" is now - that little cargo area. Either that or they'll build them into the floor. Either way, they want them down low so they don't change the center of gravity for the vehicle.
 

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Infiniti JX Hybrid: What Do Suburban Moms Want In A Hybrid Crossover?
Green Car Reports Review


Every carmaker will soon have at least a handful of hybrid models, and Nissan is no exception.

The company’s luxury brand, Infiniti, let reporters drive a prototype version of the Infiniti JX Hybrid it’s expected to launch in the U.S. market within a year or two.

The 2013 Infiniti JX seven-seat luxury crossover competes directly with the well-established Lexus RX, which has long included a hybrid model.

In the prototype JX Hybrid, the company has replaced the conventional model’s 265-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 with a supercharged 2.5-liter four that’s paired to its single-motor hybrid system.

The 50-kilowatt (67-horsepower) electric motor sits between the engine and the company’s latest continuously variable transmission (CVT), bracketed by a pair of clutches that let it provide torque to supplement engine output, or power the vehicle under light loads by itself with the engine off.

It can also act as a generator to recharge the battery pack under regenerative braking, and also charge the pack using engine overrun. Unlike Toyota’s two-motor system, however, it can’t propel the car and also recharge the pack at the same time.

Infiniti showed off the prototype on Wednesday at the Nissan Advanced Technology Briefing, held at its GranDrive facility in Oppama, Japan.

Engineers who demonstrated the vehicle wouldn’t give power outputs or predicted gas-mileage ratings, saying the model was still being tuned and refined.

But they did say the Infiniti JX Hybrid is likely to use about 20 percent less gasoline than the current V-6 model, which the EPA rates at 21 mpg combined in front-wheel drive form, and 20 mpg with all-wheel drive.

Driving the prototype hybrid JX, it was clear the vehicle came close to its target of “V-6 performance with four-cylinder fuel economy”—at least on the performance end of the equation.

That’s the same mantra used for the brand’s sole current hybrid offering, the Infiniti M35h hybrid sport sedan. That model fits the single-motor hybrid system to a 3.5-liter V-6, giving it a 0-to-60-mph acceleration time of just 5.2 seconds—and the title of fastest full-hybrid sedan sold today.

The development prototype JX Hybrid had lively acceleration, and moved out smartly from stops. While engine noise was noticeable, the supercharged four felt somewhat sportier than the V-6. The transmission seemed to be tuned in a way that eliminated the worst of the engine howl that CVTs can produce.


The JX Hybrid prototype had just one thing missing: electric running. Try as we might, on several laps of the Nissan test track, the only way we could get it to run only on electricity was to accelerate up to cruising speed, then lift off the accelerator enough that the car began to slow.

The hybrid JX didn’t seem to be able to maintain a set speed using on level ground using just the electric motor.

And moving away from a stop under electric power alone was impossible—no matter how light a touch on the throttle we used.

Asked directly whether electric running was possible in the JX Hybrid, one engineer nodded emphatically—and said, “Yes, downhill.”

One advantage to using a modified version of the company’s CVT is that the transmission has been designed to permit a power takeoff for all-wheel drive—meaning that, like the Lexus RX, the hybrid JX can be offered in both front-wheel and all-wheel drive variations.

The all-wheel-drive JX Hybrid, however, will have all four wheels driven mechanically—like the AWD version of the late Ford Escape Hybrid—rather than using an electric motor on the rear axle as the Lexus does. This may give the AWD system more power in situations like deep mud or boggy ground, where the Lexus rear motor could shut down to protect itself from overheating.

Is it ‘hybrid enough’?

We expect the JX Hybrid to find a ready market among buyers seeking a hybrid luxury crossover—who now have only a single choice, the Lexus RX 450h.

But we wonder whether Infiniti’s seven-seat hybrid utility vehicle will be perceived as “hybrid enough” by buyers familiar with the RX 450h, which can move away from a stop electrically under light loads, and switches off its engine to run electrically often at lower speeds.

While the modified JX is technically a full hybrid, since the electric motor can propel the vehicle under at least some circumstances, it behaves more like Honda’s line of mild hybrids. In those vehicles, the electric motor only adds boost to the engine output, and the engine runs every time the car has to move.

It may be that a Hybrid badge on the tailgate and improved fuel economy are enough to make the model a viable contender.

But the prototype Infiniti JX Hybrid raises a question—how do buyers expect a hybrid to behave?—that will only be answered once it goes on sale.

Infiniti didn’t give a date for the launch of the JX Hybrid, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it arrived about a year from now as a 2014 model.

Nissan provided airfare, lodging, and meals to enable High Gear Media to bring you this first-hand report.
 

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Interesting...thx for the post!
 

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I'd be interested to see how the hybrid model will compare in terms of acceleration over the gasoline model. The electric model should boost the torque and make it a bit snappier to drive.
 

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I'd be interested to see how the hybrid model will compare in terms of acceleration over the gasoline model. The electric model should boost the torque and make it a bit snappier to drive.
Lexus seems to be doing well with making hybrid models perform well, hopefully Infiniti can do the same. The potential is their, just a matter of them applying it.
 
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