2002 (1998) Nissan Altra-EV OEM EV

" Altra-EV "

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Vehicle Description

Nissan’s Altra-EV was engineered in 1997 at the Nissan Technical
Center in Atsugi, Japan, and manufactured at the Tochigi
assembly plant, Tochigi, Japan. The stated design goal for the
Altra-EV was to
combine the versatility of a minivan with
the environmental benefits of an EV.
The Altra-EV's chassis is based
on the Nissan R'nessa station wagon
manufactured for
the Japan market from 1997 to 2002.

The Altra-EV's manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) was
$50,999 (in
1998 US dollars), had a published single charge range
of 80 - 100 miles (161
km) and a maximum published
range of 120 miles (190 km).  Nissan claimed
0-50 mph (0-80 km/h)
times of less than 12 seconds and the EPA reported that
the Altra-EV had an adjusted mileage (miles per equivalent of a
gallon) of 117 mpg-US (2.01 L/100 km; 141 mpg-imp) in city
driving and 130
mpg-US (1.8 L/100 km; 160 mpg-imp) in
highway driving.  The Altra-EV is
rated at 304/342
hwy/city Wh/mi with a maximum speed of 75mph (governed).

The Altra-EV was the first OEM EV in the 1990's to utilize Li-ion
(lithium ion)
traction batteries which were developed
jointly by Nissan and Sony
Corporation.  The traction pack consisted
of 96 cells configured in 12 modules
with 8 cells per module
yielding a 32.4 kWh traction pack.  Each module weighs 67lbs., with
traction pack total weight of 804 lbs. (363kg).  Modules
were rated at 95 amp
hours and a total pack nominal voltage of 345v.
The traction pack was housed
in an aluminum battery carrier
located under floor in the center of the vehicle
and required five hours
to completely recharge via Delco's (originally Hughes
Power Systems)
220vac - 30amp Magne Charge off-board inductive 6.6kW
paddle system (LPI).  Nissan also advertised primary benefits of their
battery system included accurate state-of-charge measurement
“memory effects” of other advanced battery
chemistries of the era (most likely
referring to Nickel Cadmium (NiCd)
chemistries).  The Li-ion traction pack was
expected to have a
charge-discharge rate exceeding 1,200 cycles, or 10 years
of service.
As designed, the Altra-EV had a weight distribution ratio
of 56% /
44% front / rear.

The Altra EV's four-passenger sedan style body was marketed as a
minivan style interior, and, at the time Nissan boasted
that the Alta-EV lacked
their perceived “clumsiness of layout that
many other engineer designed
electric cars exhibit.”  Nissan
also advertised that the Altra-EV was specifically
designed for the
American market and had available space for all the things
“Americans lug around.”  Nissan seemed to feel (c1998) that the
styling matched future trends where, as they noted, “tall
and functional would
outweigh low and sleek,” yet claimed
concurrently that it was designed with
efficiency in mind, yet the Altra-EV's published CD is 0.36.

The Altra-EV was equipped with a neodymium permanent magnet
synchronous motor and a 32-bit high-speed RISC
(Reduced Instruction Set
Computing) motor controller processor.
Although the motor featured a
compact design; it generated
power of 62 kilowatts or 83 horsepower and
maximum torque of
117 ft-lbs. at 13,000 rpm. The unique magnetic circuitry
and lightweight design (approximately 85 pounds) of the Altra-EV's
made it possible to achieve a high overall energy
efficiency of approximately
90% under ordinary driving conditions with
a motor weight <40% that of
conventional induction motors.

Vehicle curb weight equaled 3,940lbs., GVWR of 4,579lbs., with a
payload of
820lbs.  Wheelbase equaled 110.2in., length 191.7in., width
69.5in., hieght
66.8in., and ground clearance was 7.5in.

Standard features on the Altra-EV included regenerative braking, front
and rear ABS brakes (front disc, rear drum), pre-programmable
conditioning, power windows, power locks, cruise
control, dual airbags, remote
keyless entry, state of charge (SOC)
control system, 15-inch aluminum alloy
wheels, front and rear captain's
chairs, and a 100-watt AM/FM/CD audio
system.  The Altra-EV's
rack & pinion steering was powered by an electric
and only utilized power when called for.  The  turning radius was
6.2 ft.
and a steering wheel lock-to-lock 4.11 turns.  It also uses
modified Nissan
Maxima's front and rear suspension components
to handle the increased
weight of the EV traction pack.

Thirty (30) Altra-EVs were believed to be imported into the
United States in
1998, with plans for another 98 units in 1999 - 2002.
Of those originally
imported vehicles, the first 15 units were
planned for the So. Cal markets under
leases to utility companies
including Southern California Edison (6 units),
Pacific Gas and Electric
(3 units), Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
(4 units),
and San Diego Gas and Electric (2 units).

Only two (2) of the Altra-EVs are known to exist today (c2023).  One
is housed in
Nissan's Heritage Collection in Nashville, TN, and
the other is in our
Beata Electric Motor Carriage Collection in Vail,
CO. The
Beata Collection's Altra-EV is the last
production Altra-EV made.


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