TOKYO -- Nissan Motor Co. is reportedly developing a front-wheel drive adaptation of its in-house hybrid vehicle technology for the next generation Altima Hybrid as early as next year.
The system will be based on the rear-wheel-drive hybrid drivetrain that debuted in the 2012 Infiniti M Hybrid, Japan's Nikkan Kogyo business daily says. It will combine that one-motor, two-clutch system with a four-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission.
Using lithium ion batteries, it is will be installed in several models, including the next generation of the Altima Hybrid due as early as 2012, the newspaper said. Nissan is also considering manufacturing the hybrid system overseas, including in the United States.
Nissan declined to confirm the report.
But a person familiar with Nissan's product plans said the front-wheel-drive application of its hybrid powertrain is part of its green car strategy. He said Nissan sees front-wheel drive hybrids as the most effective way to increase mileage in larger D-segment vehicles and above.
Nissan said earlier this month it will stop selling the Altima Hybrid, the brand's only gasoline-electric hybrid model, at the end of the 2011 model year. The existing model relies on a hybrid drive system supplied by rival Toyota Motor Corp.