Tag Archives: and Cool

All-New Nissan Teana: Nimble, Comfortable, and Cool

All-New Nissan Teana: Nimble, Comfortable, and Cool

All-New Nissan Teana: Nimble, Comfortable, and Cool

kompas

Advertisements

First Drive: 2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster

UPDATE: READ MATT’S COMPLETE 2010 NISSAN 370Z ROADSTER DRIVE BY CLICKING HEREDATELINE: AUGUST 3, 2010, 10:01 PM, MY DRIVEWAY  The folks at Nissan dropped off a brilliant red, sparkly new, ready-to-rip 370Z Roadster this afternoon, and asked that we not say anything about our driving impressions until after 10:00 tonight (well, thanks for all the time, guys!). But it’s after 10:00 now, so why wait?We’ll have a full story and lots more photos for you within hours, but I gotta tell you, this thing rocks. In brief, you get 26 more horsepower than last year’s 350Z roadster in a package that weighs about 150 pounds less. What? A new car that’s lighter than the one it replaces? Believe it. The 370Z is also a few inches shorter overall, yet wider. The chassis is structurally stiffer than that of the car it replaces, which always means more precise handling and less squeaks, rattles, and cowl shake. Interior quality is way up, including standard heated and cooled seats, a glass windblocker, and suede door panels for a more upscale look and feel. Style? See for yourself. This writer was never a fan of the previous design. It attempted to mimic the ethos of the original Audi TT Roadster, but never pulled it off. The rump was too round, the top looked like a bubble-shaped afterthought, and the detailing was clunky. This one has curves in mostly all the right places, and the top is longer and sleeker. Speaking of the top, it’s much nicer than the old one, fully lined, and now of rich cloth instead of the previous canvas/vinyl stuff. Don’t make fun of the radio antenna; it has to be this high to meet Nissan’s radio reception requirements (hint: Nissan’s aftermarket accessories group will offer a shorter one for those who wish to sacrifice a little AM reception in the name of style). The tall, squarish rump gives more substance to the rear end design, and adds to a useful trunk area. What fun to drive: faster, quieter, stickier, flatter, stiffer, grippier, nicer riding, and just all around better than before. We’d still vote for a little more exhaust note, and the affectacious fuel/temp/computer gauge is annoying. The engine has plenty of punch, but is grainier sounding than the old 3.5 and 3.0-liter VQ family V-6s. How much is all this improvement? $100. That’s correct: a measly C-Note. The 2009 350Z Roadster (Enthusiast 6MT spec) was $36,870. The 2010 370Z, similarly equipped, bases for $36,970. If you liked the old one, you’ll love this new one. If you were not a fan of the 350Z roadster, give the 370Z a fresh look. It’s that much of an improvement. Stay tuned for more details and full specs. Photography by Kirk Gerbracht and the author
Source : blogs.motortrend.com/6569567/editorial/first-drive-2010-nissan-370z-roadster/index.html

Driving the Future: Nissan’s All New Electric Vehicle

Since April, we’ve been continually updating you on the progress of Nissan’s electric vehicle (EV) program with up to the minute news bulletins like this one.And this one.This one over here.And, yup, this one. Well today, Nissan essentially stuffed all of this information into one giant EV gyoza and reheated it for us at the automaker’s Advanced Technology Briefing at the Oppama Grandrive test track in Yokosuka, Japan.Was it fresh? Admittedly, no. None of what we saw today was groundbreaking stuff, but it certainly was nutritious — especially once we chewed on it for a while and digested all the details.The real purpose of this heaping helping of electrifying info is to build a buzz about Nissan’s latest EV — which happens to be making its debut this Sunday at the company’s new headquarters in Yokohama. Unlike previous concept vehicles and test mules, Nissan’s newest EV will not be a Frankenstein’d mashup of an existing platform and all electric power train. This as yet unnamed EV will be based on an all new, purpose built front wheel drive platform with a plug-in rechargeable electric motor up front and batteries slung low under the belly of the car.Nissan is not using cylindrical cell type batteries like many other electric and hybrid vehicle manufacturers opting instead for flat lithium ion (LiOn) laminate cells that look a bit like giant Pop Tarts. These batteries, developed in partnership with Japanese electronics manufacturer NEC, uses manganese as the positive electrode, instead of metals like nickel or cobalt. Manganese is relatively inexpensive and abundant in comparison to those other metals, and when oriented in Nissan/NEC’s special spinel structure (think Lego blocks) versus the standard sandwich orientation, the result is a battery that Nissan claims is more stable, reliable, and cost efficient than the competition’s. The flat shape and large surface area of the batteries  also makes for easier packaging (in stacks) and cooling. It also means the batteries use fewer components than cylindrical type cells, which also keeps cost down. In Nissan’s EV program, these laminate cells, about the size and thickness of a magazine are stacked four to a module. Forty-eight modules and a management system, packaged as a single lumpy unit and enclosed in a metal frame, comprise the EV’s battery pack. The idea here is that this battery pack could then be bolted up into an EV on an assembly line – as car makers do with various subassemblies. Supplying these battery packs is Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), a company co-developed by Nissan and Renault. The battery pack slots in underneath the car, between the wheels, where you would traditionally find a driveshaft or exhaust pipes running the length of the vehicle. Some of the modules in the pack are stacked horizontally and vertically to create the base for the front and rear seats in this 5 passenger car. Others lie flat in the battery pack and compose rear seat foot well. Nissan calls the arrangement high-low-high. Though heavy (each of the 48 modules weighs roughly 7.7 lbs), the battery pack’s ground hugging orientation should provide for a low center of gravity and good handling.So will the 80KW electric motor that sits up front in the chassis. While the inverter sits relatively high in the engine bay – about the normal height of an internal combustion engine’s cylinder head – to facilitate access to the charging ports, the electric motor sits very low, between the front wheels and far beneath the strut towers – about where you’d expect to find the oil pan of a traditional engine.Overall, Nissan’s layout is impressive because of its elegance and simplicity. EV powertrain aside, the cutaway model reveals what is essentially a blank canvas.  With the front engine/front wheel drive configuration and all of the batteries low and out of the way, the cargo and passenger area looked like they could be configured in number of ways, without sacrifices to either. Almost any type of body style could be designed on top this platform as well.  And theoretically, you could even make this a rear or all wheel drive vehicle by beefing up the rear suspension and stuffing another electric motor in the back, low and behind the battery pack. Such speculation is all fine and good, but how does it drive?Quite well actually. We had but the briefest taste of the EV’s performance – one lap around the Grandrive test track in a Versa-based test mule – but it made a compelling case.Acceleration is surprisingly brisk; the 80 kW electric motor doles out all of its 207 lb ft of torque in less than 100 milleseconds once you hit the throttle, providing the sensation of instant response. Nissan engineers claim it accelerates better than an Infiniti G35 by leaving the line quicker and getting up to speed more smoothly. Its top speed of only 87 mph is quite a bit off the pace of the G. On the other hand, it’s much quieter than that car or any for that matter. The electric motor and single speed gearbox mean it’s nothing but quiet thrust when you put your foot down. The only sounds come from the tires as they hum over the pavement and the greenhouse as the wind rushes over and across it. As for the rest of the ride, well, Nissan’s EV mule drives pretty much like a standard issue Versa.  Shrunken joystick shifter and tab style parking brake lever aside, the rest of this test mule’s controls feel the same as a standard Versa. Same goes for the ride and handling; the cars pushes back if you ask it to corner too fast, but it does feel more planted and less tippy as it turns. Perhaps the battery placement providing the extra stability.With a range of 100 miles on a full charge, Nissan claims its EV will suit the average commuting needs of approximately 80% of Americans. What happens when the battery runs down?  Well Nissan has clearly thought a lot about that as well; they not only have a plan for how you can charge the car at your house at night, but how you’ll manage during a
busy workweek or weekend.Nissan’s EV battery pack can be charged in a number of ways.  A home recharging kit allows you to power up the EV from standard 110V or 220V outlets. Simply connect an SAE standardized pistol-like charger to the port at the nose of the car and wait. Charge times at 110V are claimed to be approximately 8 hours; half that for 220V.  Nissan has also developed special three phase, 200V quick charging stations can deliver 80% battery charge in 30 minutes – though it requires a larger, specially shaped charger and receiver port.To reduce any anxiety associated with the limited 100 mile range and long recharging times, Nissan has also given its EV a special monitoring system they call EV-IT. This system monitors the battery level and provides range information on a navigation screen, so users will never have to wonder how far they can go or where they can juice up.  Nissan claims EV-IT will also provide a whole host of smart features to the EV driving experience and set up an animated clip to showcase what living with its EV might be like:You wake up to find an email on your smartphone from your Nissan EV providing a update on the battery charge – a benefit of the networked EV-IT system. Assuming you’ve had it plugged in for 8hours at 110V or 4 hours at 220V, your car should be fully charged. At this point, you can remotely turn the A/C on (and in the future, and engine oil warmer) to get the car up to suitable operating temperature while it is still plugged in.  This conserves energy for your morning commute.While you recoup some of the power on the way to work via regenerative braking, the bulk of recharging takes place at work – via the 110V/220V system, or a quick charger. After a long day of work, you pull into your garage, click her off and plug her in. But you don’t start charging right away. Via your smartphone, you program a start time for the charging cycle; late in the night when demand and electricity rates are lowest. For longer weekend trips, EV-IT will help you plan your route, by keeping up to date on your remaining battery power and driving range and locating charging stations nearby. In Nissan’s future, shopping centers and restaurants along your route will have quick charging stations, so you can continually keep your EV’s batteries charged with minimal disruption to your journey. Further off are plans for non contact charging via electromagnetic induction. Imagine being able to top off your car’s batteries by simply pulling your EV over a special recharging pad built into the ground. Whether you’re parked for hours at the local mega mall or for just a minute at a red light, the battery charge goes up.Sound too good to be true? Perhaps. This Sunday, (Saturday for America), Nissan will unveil the first step towards this future, when it reveals its as yet unnamed, zero emissions electric vehicle at its new headquarters in Yokohama.  We’ll be there for a complete update, so stay tuned. 
Source : blogs.motortrend.com/6564081/green/driving-the-future-nissans-all-new-electric-vehicle/index.html

On the Trail of the Orient Express: Day 2

I awoke in Strasbourg to the pitter-patter of rain on my hotel room’s thick-glassed windows. Day 1’s weather in Paris had been warm and humid, so the thought of precipitation had me hoping the clime outside would be cooler. But I wondered: would this welcome pitter-patter soon become unwelcome, following our crew as we journeyed some 300 miles east to Munich, our second stop on the Orient Express tour? While not especially long for a day’s drive — the trip would include a run through the lush mountains of the Black Forest and a visit to the Zeppelin Museum on the shores of Lake Bodensee, just a 40-minute ferry ride away from Switzerland — it was far enough to where the thought of looking out the windshield past sweeping wipers for six hours had me a bit worried.

But as it turned out, the wipers got only a frantic four-hour workout, tiring our eyes and fatiguing our bodies but not our minds — ah, they would be alive and well upon our arrival in Bavaria’s hip and historic capital, relishing Deutschland’s great twisty roads and high-speed autobahns, and the amazing stories behind such transatlantic behemoths as the Hindenburg.

Twenty or so minutes after leaving Strasbourg, we entered Germany and quickly jumped on the A5 autobahn, which would take us south to Freiburg, where we’d bust east and then head into the Black Forest. I had never been to this famous, heavily wooded area, so I was looking forward to experiencing what I had been hearing for years — a serpentine drive through the twisty mountain blacktop was as majestic and alluring as the breathtaking scenery. MacKenzie seemed equally eager to get there, pushing his silver Genesis 4.6 up to an effortless triple-digit cruising speed. I promptly stomped on the throttle of my blue 375-horse Hyundai, and tucked in behind him.

As we entered the Black Forest, a natural park spanning nearly 927,000 acres between the Rhine and Necklar rivers, I was instantly reminded of the landscape in the Cascade Range of Oregon and Washington. Like the mountains and national parks of America’s Pacific Northwest, this area of Germany featured everything from daunting rock formations and deep canyons to alpine lakes and rushing rivers. And, lest I forget, some great driving roads, too.

I had yet to pilot a Genesis up and over a mountain pass, much less one in Europe, so I was pleasantly surprised at the results. While not as sporty as, say, a BMW 550i, the Genesis nonetheless proved a happy hauler along 60 to 80 mph sweepers that meandered their way through the verdant hillsides. Grip and balance were commendable. Steering was light and linear. And the power and smoothness of the Tau V-8 were impressive. The only sections in which the big Hyundai seemed somewhat unhappy were those of the tight, hairpin variety, where its size and softer turn-in translated to moderate understeer. This Korean is a luxury sedan you want to aggressively nudge rather than flat-out push.

With the Black Forest in our rearview mirrors, we headed southeast along the northern shores of Lake Bodensee, destination the Zeppelin Museum. Opened in 1996, this 43,000 square-foot Bauhaus style building — formerly the Hafenbahnhof railway station — houses artifacts, photos, and displays encompassing the giant airships of the 1930s. Most notable, the museum features a 108-foot reconstruction of a section of the infamous LZ 129 Hindenburg, the Zeppelin that went up in flames in Lakehurst, New Jersey, in 1937. Not only does this replication give an idea of what it was like to “silently float” across the Atlantic, enjoying the pleasant lounge and smoking room and the surprisingly plush sleeping quarters, but it also sheds light on the unparalleled engineering and technology of the time. For instance, the structure of the Hindenburg was built from lightweight aluminum (even the lounge’s grand piano was made from the feathery metal), the diesel engines came from esteemed automaker Maybach, and the gearboxes were sourced from ZF, which, ironically enough, sources the Genesis’s six-speed. The Hindenburg’s construction and supplier list almost reads like that of one of today’s top German automobiles.

A few crazy and cool factoids about the Hindenburg: 1) At 245 meters long (268 yards or the combined length of about three American football fields), it is the longest aircraft to ever make a transatlantic flight. 2) To minimize weight, artists painted their work directly on the Hindenburg’s interior canvas walls, thus eliminating the need for frames, nails, and wires. 3) Watchmen manned the four engine gondolas, working in four-hour shifts due to noise and heat. Better yet, they had to scale down a ladder outside the aircraft to enter and exit the gondola.

With our Zeppelin fix satisfied, we hopped back in the Hyundais and aimed for Munich, a relatively short 120-mile jaunt. I say relatively short because on the A96 autobahn, where the two Genesis sedans could occasionally clip along at a rate of 130 mph, it took us just a couple hours to make the trip. Granted, it wasn’t an exactly relaxing two hours, as inclement weather and a traffic jam taxed our focus and patience, but the Genesis proved it wasn’t a fish out of water, easily swimming along the wet tarmac with aplomb. In fact, MacKenzie had no problem hanging with a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, whose driver was most likely wondering, “What the hell is that thing?”

It’s a Hyundai retracing the trail of the Orient Express, of course.

-Photos by Brian Vance

ORIENT EXPRESS SERIES: Day 1 – Paris to Strasbourg

Source : blogs.motortrend.com/6562116/miscellaneous/on-the-trail-of-the-orient-express-day-2/index.html