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THE PURE WAY TO DRIVE DOWN EMISSIONS
Innovative PURE DRIVE technology helps Nissan to lower emissions and improve fuel economy
Nissan is an acknowledged leader in Zero Emission technology. The award-winning Nissan LEAF electric vehicle produces no tailpipe emissions whatsoever and is the world's first practical battery-powered family car, with customers joining waiting lists in Japan, North America and Europe.
But even by 2020, when the next generation Leaf will have been joined by many other EVs wearing the Nissan badge, it is estimated that battery-powered cars and vans will account for no more than 10 per cent of the worldwide new car sales.
So, in the next decade, the pioneering work being undertaken by Nissan engineers to lower CO2 emissions and improve fuel consumption figures from its conventional petrol and diesel powered internal combustion engines may do even more that EV technology to reduce global CO2 emissions. This programme, which was announced late 2008, is called PURE DRIVE.
"PURE DRIVE is the designation that Nissan gives to vehicles that exceed government standards for CO2 or fuel consumption in their regional markets. These vehicles use our most advanced technologies to deliver customers what we believe is an optimal balance of efficient fuel consumption, value, and performance," said Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO, Nissan Motor Co Ltd, when announcing the PURE DRIVE initiative.
PURE DRIVE embodies all that Nissan stands for. It is an engineering-led programme that rewards innovation and advanced thinking and which has already created an indisputable eco-champion: the new Nissan Micra DIG-S. At the heart of the new Micra is an exceptional Direct Injection Gasoline engine that's Supercharged (DIG-S, hence the name) and which combines petrol performance and refinement with diesel economy and ultra low emissions. The most efficient version produces just 95 g/km of CO2... well inside the criteria Nissan uses for PURE DRIVE membership.
It is a global initiative with criteria in the different markets based on regional government requirements. In Europe, the initial PURE DRIVE target was CO2 emissions lower than 140g/km. But to show this is an on-going programme, that target has been lowered to 130g/km in 2011/12 and will reduce further, to 120g/km, in 2013/14.
Based on current sales volume forecasts, it is anticipated that 60% of all Nissans sold in Europe will produce less than 120g/km CO2 by 2013, all wearing the PURE DRIVE badge.
"The new Micra DIG-S can be regarded as the first of a new generation of eco-vehicles from Nissan. It is crammed full of engineering innovations that lift it to incredible heights," said Laurent de la Cotardière, Vice President of Marketing for Nissan in Europe.
"While the low CO2 figure is likely to gain most of the headlines, the engine delivers on a number of levels. With no compromise on performance this is a fun car to drive as well as being easy on the wallet with excellent fuel economy."
One of the most significant PURE DRIVE technologies is engine downsizing, the substitution of a large normally aspirated engine with a smaller capacity unit in which power is boosted by turbo- or supercharging: the DIG-S engine is a prime example.
But the innovations go beyond sophisticated new engines, however. The Micra programme adopts many techniques to reduce friction and improve efficiency from improved thermal management and auto Stop/Start technology to optimised aerodynamics and from weight reduction to the use of rolling resistance tyres. Even the adoption of LED stop lights reduces energy drain which in turn makes for a more efficient package... a genuine case of every little helps.
The new Micra DIG-S heads a growing list of Nissan models able to wear the PURE DRIVE badge, which from 2011 are required to produce 130g/kms or less of CO2. Other PURE DRIVE petrol models include the normally aspirated version of Micra and Pixo, while a clean diesel version of Note also produces less than 130g/km of CO2 and will shortly be joined by a new PURE DRIVE diesel version of both Juke and Qashqai.
Pixo, powered by a 68PS 1.0-litre three cylinder engine, produces 103 g/km in manual form and 122 g/km as an automatic, making it one of the best in the A segment.
While diesels are perhaps not as suitable for pure city cars as the range of petrol engines powering Micra and Pixo, there is still a strong diesel market in Europe. Nissan's entry level diesel is the Note 1.5dCi, which is powered by a 90ps version of the Alliance-developed K9K engine.
Coupled with a DPF, this engine produces just 110g/km of CO2 - well inside the PURE DRIVE range - and is the cleanest of all Nissan diesel engines. Note remains a hugely popular and versatile family car, with high levels of standard equipment and a flexible and practical interior layout appreciated by owners.
And what of Nissan's top-selling crossovers, Juke & Qashqai? Indeed Qashqai, under the original qualifying criteria, was one of the first Nissan models to wear the badge. A specially developed version underwent a weight reduction programme and was given aerodynamic wheel covers, blanked out fog lamp sockets, low rolling resistance tyres and a long final drive ratio to bring its CO2 figure at 130g/km. Similar engineering innovations will lead to Juke and Qashqai models with less than 130g/km going on sale before the end of the year.
"Rest assured this is just the beginning," says Pierre Loing, Vice President Product Strategy and Planning, Nissan International SA. "PURE DRIVE technologies are being applied to other models in our range and in due course these will also be able to wear the blue and silver badge. Whenever you see a Nissan wearing a PURE DRIVE badge you'll know it is doing its bit to helping reduce emissions and to making the world a cleaner and more sustainable place to live."