Still committed to bringing an electric vehicle to the U.S. market sometime in 2010, Nissan used the Paris Auto Show to provide a glimpse of how it plans to approach the technological side of that challenge with a funky little 2+1 urbocar called the Nuvu. While quick to advise that the Nuvu reflects neither the style nor size of package we can expect to see in a Nissan showroom anytime soon, the car's powertain is fully operational. What the Nuvu also does provide is insight into the kinds of ideas the automaker is now considering -- particularly with respect to optimized interior packaging, the comprehensive use of "by-wire" activation for major functional systems, low-energy LED exterior lighting elements and high-recyclability materials.
While competitive realities prevented it from offering many mechanical specifics, Nissan did confirm that the Nuvu pairs a rear-mounted electric motor with an advanced Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery that employs a laminated, rather than a conventional, cylindrical structure. Developed by Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), a joint venture between the automaker and electronics giant NEC Corp., this component is half the size of a normal counterpart and has fewer components but produces 1.5 times the output and remains twice as efficient, even after five years of continuous usage. Nissan also claims the design lends itself to more efficient cooling and incorporates new materials technology that make it safer as well as simpler to package.
Although replenishing this superbattery will likely involve an equally efficient process, we're still not quite sure what to make of the following sentence from the Nuvu's press release: "A quick charge from empty to full should take between 10 to 20 minutes while a full charge should take between three to four hours from a domestic 220v socket."