The competition among automakers in the environmentally-friendly car sector is heating up, amid the growing concerns for climate change and the escalating prices of petrol. This recent developments has pushed some automakers, particularly General Motors and Ford to rethink their profits and at the same time to rethink their productions. Ford is about to cut its production of the pick-up trucks and GM is set to re-evaluate some of its models, particularly its Hummer. But it isn’t just the American automakers who are taking hits and making adjustments. Japanese car makers are in it as well, and one automaker that is serious in making its move and making it matters is Nissan.
Nissan in its bid to introduce cleaner vehicles using cleaner technology is set to introduce the Nissan X-Trail sport utility vehicle that will feature a new diesel engine in Japan in September. This move by Nissan will enable the company to effectively meet the new emission regulatory standards that is set to take effect in October 2009. Japan is set to introduce a new emission regulatory standards that is known as the ‘Post New Long-Term Regulations by 2009. Now in order to beat this regulation, Nissan plans to introduce the cleaner version of the X-Trail. To make its introduction formal, the X-Trail is to be introduced at the G8 Summit. Delegates and members of the media that will attend the summit will have the opportunity to test drive the X-Trail and see related technology exhibits.
The technology used on the new X-Trail was co-developed by Nissan and Renault. The M9R engine that the X-Trail uses incorporates a number of technologies. Some of the technologies incorporated on the engine include the Piezo-electric controlled injectors, the Commonrail system, variable nozzle turbos, diesel particulate filters, lean NOx-trap catalysts, sophisticated control-system for precise modulation of the DPF and catalysts in tandem with driving conditions.
The development of this kind of vehicle or technology is under the Nissan Green Program 2010.
Nissan is set to unveil an X-Trail Clean Diesel Model at the 2008 Integrated Exhibition of the Environment in Hokkaido that will run from June 19-21 and the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit that is scheduled for July 7 to 9. The setting for the unveiling of the new X-Trail is of importance. Climate change tops the agenda of the G8 meeting. Aside from the clean SUV that Nissan will offer and unveil, the company is set to launch a clean-diesel version of the Maxima and it is expected that this modle will be introduced in 2010. The X-Trail’s technology is co-developed by its French partner, Renault. The X-Trail is powered by an eco-friendly M9R engine, an engine that can deliver powerful acceleration with emission levels that is low enough to meet tough Japanese regulations. It is expected that the X-Trail Clean Diesel hits the market in September this year.
It isn’t just one company who has the monopoly of having environment-friendly concept and cars, in fact a number of these automotive manufacturers develop their own. One such company that dares to answer the call is Nissan thru its X-Trail FCV. This is Nissan’s own fuel cell vehicle of the future, a vehicle that effectively promotes a cleaner envinronment thru the operation of a clean car. The car is actually a high pressure hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle that creates power without giving highly toxic emissions. After this concept was approved by the Land, Infrastructure and Transport in 2002, the FCV concept was tested on Japan roads. This test led to further development that was incorporated in 2003 model. This model features the NEO FC SYSTEM. The conceptualization, development and the release of the X-Trail FCV concept was actually in line with Nissan’s Green Program of 2005.
So what are the technologies that are featured on the FCV concept? For one, this concept used a variety of technologies and the technlogies that are included on the vehicle include the electric vehilce or the EV, the hybrid electric vehicle or the HEV and the compressed natural gas vehicle technology. If the 2003 version of the FCV concept featured the polymer electrolyte type fuel cell stack that was manufactured by the UTC Fuel Cells, the 2005 X-Trail FCV on the other hand featured the Nissan’s fuel cell that is coupled with state of the art high pressure hydrogen storage system. This kind of set-up allowed for the better performance of the X-Trail. In a more measurable metric, the 2005 version of the Nissan X-Trail FCV can have a top speed of 90 miles per hour with a range of 311 miles. The motor of the vehicle gets its power from the Compact Lithium-ion Battery, that features a thin laminated cell. The FCV concept that was introduced in 2004 under the FCV limited leasing program actually come complete with an air-conditioning system that was developed by both the company and the Calsonic Kansei Corp., that uses the carbon dioxide as the refrigerant. The CO2 air conditioning system uses the same process as the regular air conditioning system so as to cool the host vehicle. The CO2 refrigerant is evaporated by the passenger car compartment heat exchanger in order to absorb heat and then cool the SUV’s cabin. Since the CO2 is naturally-occuring and non-flammable, this means that the use of CO2 is more environment-friendly. With the use of this technology on the SUV, this air conditioning system is set to reduce the amount of CO2 discharged from regular sources since the waste CO2 can be reused on the FCV system.
If the SUV is powered by this CO2 system, the heating is done by effectively switching to the refrigerant channel so that the this refrigerant can be compressed and supplied to the passenger compartment heat exchanger so that it can radiate the heat. This concept that was developed by the company is one good step towards producing environment-friendly cars and vehicles. The FCV concept was originally started in 1996 and 1999 saw the start of the driving tests for the FCV. By 2003, Nissan joined hands with the California Fuel Cell Partnership or the CaFCP. And on December 2003 initiated the launch of the ‘limited leasing’ of the FCV X-Trail.
The X-Trail FCV is actually a Nissan X-Trail FCV which is a compact crossover SUV that was produced by Nissan since 2001. This X-Trail was actually Nissan’s first crossover SUV and featured the Nissan FF-S platform. The X-Trail was positioned just below the Xterra in Canada, and was positioned below the Pathfinder in Latin America. A new X-Trail for 2008 was released at the 2007 Geneva Auto Show.