JAPAN: Nissan Motor launches new diesel-hybrid & CNG Atlas trucks

By just-auto.com editorial team | 1 October 2007

Nissan Motor has added diesel hybrid and compressed natural gas CNG models to its Atlas H43 lineup of light commercial vehicles in Japan.

The new models, now on sale nationwide, are said to offer outstanding fuel economy combined with clean exhaust emissions and have been added to the model line as part of the Nissan Green Programme 2010, the automaker's medium-term environmental plan that is focused on reducing CO2 emissions.

The new Atlas H43 diesel hybrid achieves claimed class-leading heavy-duty vehicle fuel economy of 11 km/litre and complies with Japan's 2015 heavy-duty vehicle fuel economy standards.

The new model is certified by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport as a low-emission vehicle, reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions by an additional 10% compared with Japan's 2005 exhaust emission regulations.

It also complies with the 2005 low-emission vehicle standards of the low-emission vehicle designation system adopted by eight Kanto region prefectures/cities.

The diesel hybrid features a power take-off (PTO) parallel drive system with the diesel engine and traction motor connected to separate drive shafts, allowing the vehicle to be powered by the diesel engine alone (in case the hybrid system is faulty).

The CNG model is certified as a low-emission vehicle, emitting 10% fewer NOx and PM emissions than the levels required by the 2005 exhaust emission standards, and it also complies with the 2005 low-emission vehicle designation standards.

Nissan said this model delivers class-leading power performance while achieving its notably clean emissions. An automatic stop-start system is standard, helping improve practical fuel economy and further reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The Atlas H43 is manufactured as a Nissan model on an OEM basis by Isuzu Motors, something not uncommon in the minivehicle and commercial vehicle sectors in the Japanese auto industry.

Toyota earlier this year showed a diesel hybrid Dyna truck model to journalists attending a technology seminar near Berlin. The model is on sale in Japan and a rival to Nissan's Atlas line. Although test drives were not permitted (for safety reasons only), a ride as a passenger showed the extra power available on hilly terrain from the electric motor.

Performance was considerably boosted overall without apparent fuel economy penalty and the model was apparently as easy to operate and drive as a conventional diesel truck.