Introduced at the Los Angeles International Auto Show in 1997, the Altra EV was the first production electric vehicle to use a lithium-ion battery in the North American market.The Nissan Altra was built off of the Nissan R’nessa multi amenity vehicle platform. The design is versatile and spacious comfort on wheels. The Altra was equipped with a 62 kW magnet neodymium electric motor and was powered by lithium-ion batteries manufactured by Sony.
The vehicle made its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show back in December of 1997. At the time, Nissan described the vehicle as a combination of a sedan, minivan, and SUV all rolled into one package. The most significant achievement of the Altra was its application of li-ion batteries. Nissan termed it 3rd generation batteries after the lead acid and NiMh that preceded it. The li-ion battery was chosen for its power density, low weight, and recharge features.
The Altra comes with options such as key less entry, 4 wheel anti-lock brakes, power everything, and regenerative braking. The car has a range of 120–140 miles between charges. The vehicle is capable of recharging in only 5 hours and could cycle up to 1,000 times. The battery is mounted beneath the floor in the ideal location for crash impact and weight distribution purposes. The mileage rating of 117 mpg city and 130 mpg highway.
When you compare it with the Leaf and you will notice that its range is listed at 100 miles, with an expected 10 year battery life. Certainly the Leaf is more advanced. Its battery durability is much improved, the acceleration numbers are likely better.The Altra is capable of 120 to 140 miles per charge. Advances in technology may have led to the capability of additional range, but the Leaf displays no additional range from a comparably sized vehicle.
Potential EV buyers will have numerous concerns about purchasing an EV. Two major concerns are range and its associated anxiety, and battery life. Manufacturers must increase the range of EVs while assuring buyers that the vehicle will be reliable for years to come. This is essential for widespread EV success and must be addressed.
The 83-horsepower (62 kW) synchronous motor utilized a high-performance Neodymium-Iron-Born alloy internal magnet rated at an approximately 89 percent operating efficiency. The Altra EV’s 12-module lithium-ion battery (Li-ion) pack is located under the passenger compartment floor and offered a driving range (combined city/highway) of 130 km (80 miles). It offers a 4-wheel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), regenerative braking, a 120 km/h (75 mph) top speed and an 800-pound passenger/cargo capacity.
Altra EV drivers were treated to amenities such as air conditioning, power windows and door locks, a premium audio system and dual supplemental air bags.