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Nissan Altima Hybrid

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  • hiwaymanhiwayman Posts: 98
    Thanks! EPA numbers are generally unobtainable (even when they're correctly stated ;-) ). I was very pleasantly surprised to have our new Altima Hybrid nail the numbers on the highway within 1/2 MPG or so, even with my aggressive driving. Still hoping to get into at least the mid-30's on the city side of things. We live in a suburban area that leans toward rural, so there's not a lot of stop-n-go driving as there would be in, say, Manhattan, so I'm guessing that's why our city mileage isn't very good. The place where the Toyota-style hybrids shine is in that stop-n-go driving....

    I have heard mention of a particular way to drive a hybrid with a CVT (something about fluttering the gas pedal) but haven't been able to find a specific description on how that technique is used... any idea what these people are talking about? :confuse:
  • sonny19sonny19 Posts: 2
    I have roughly 2,500 miles on my new Altima Hybrid. I got 39.7 mpg on the first 1,000 miles and then 41.3 on the second 2,000 miles. I am averaging 42.3 right now. I got 743 miles on my last tankful. Here's the secret. You need to use your accelerator as if there is an egg on it. Gentle acceleration and gliding to stops is the key in keeping your mileage up. Your accelerator really is the only way to control which engine(s) are working. On the highway if you are doing 60-70 mph and you are approaching a decline, you can back off your accelerator slightly so that only your electric motor is doing the work. Your gas engine will be in idle mode anytime over 42 mph. I have gone over 2 miles keeping my speed over 60 mph at times. I do have the technology package which makes it easier to see which engine is running. I also draft behind 18 wheelers when I can to reduce draft and improve mileage. Two other things that can help. Make sure your tires are pumped up to close to the max. Check your tires to see what the max is. My tires are rated at 44psi. So I have them at 42psi. The ride may be a little stiffer, but fully pumped tires will improve your mileage. Reduce your use of A/C if you can. It really drains your battery and when you are stuck in traffic your engine will have to run to charge it up. I do notice that it takes 5-10 minutes in the morning to get the engine warm and get the full benefits of the EV mode.
  • johajoha Posts: 7
    I have had the same experience. My guess is that the power button is very sensitive to the length of time it is held down and rebels if your thumb is too light or too heavy. I have always been able to try again and get the car started.
  • hiwaymanhiwayman Posts: 98
    Well, I tried a little experiment. I went out and quickly punched the button, rather than a PRESSSSSSS. About the third try, the "boot-up" freeze happened. That's gotta be it! Whew! Just have to be more casual when starting the car.... I'll have the dealer check the trouble codes next time we have the car in for service, but I think your solution is what the problem is!
  • saabgeorgesaabgeorge Posts: 22
    Comsumer Reports doesn't believe that tire pressure is that big of a factor with fuel economy - more important for safety:

    http://autos.msn.com/advice/CRArt.aspx?contentid=4024120

    IMPORTANT DRIVING TIPS THAT HAVE LITTLE EFFECT ON FUEL ECONOMY

    Keep tires inflated. Our tests show that driving on moderately underinflated tires is more of a safety concern than a fuel-economy issue. We set the pressure in all four tires to 10 psi below that recommended by the automaker. This reduced highway fuel economy slightly, by about 1 mpg for the Camry and by a much smaller margin for the Mountaineer. But more importantly, underinflated tires provide much less grip for turning and stopping and run much hotter. Overheated tires wear faster and can lead to a blowout. Check the pressure of your vehicle's tires at least once a month, when the tires are cold. Also check the tires before and after long road trips. The recommended tire pressure is found on a label inside the car—usually in a doorjamb, inside the glove-box lid, or inside the fuel-filler lid.
  • hiwaymanhiwayman Posts: 98
    I can't remember which packages of the NAH have it, but I do know at least those with the Technology Package have it. It is the low tire pressure alert system. It doesn't tell you how much your tire(s) are low, just that they are. If one or more of your tires' pressure falls below a pre-determined threshold, the system will illuminate a warning light on the dash, and "ping" at you...
  • townboy325townboy325 Posts: 37
    TPMS, all package has it on Hybrid... make sure when u change your wheel u take the TPMS too or else u have to pay dealer like 100 a piece
  • gripperdongripperdon Posts: 17
    Any resources to assist me in doing this?
  • I'm ordering a dark gray hybrid with charcoal leather. Is the beige headliner the exception or the rule?
  • langjielangjie Posts: 247
    it's the rule. all altima's have the beige headliner. it's not that bad, not the best either though
  • hiwaymanhiwayman Posts: 98
    We've purchased the same color scheme as you. Beige headliner. We thought there'd been a mistake at the factory and contacted the dealer. They took us out to their lot and showed us 3 other cars with the same beige headliner. The reasoning is that it is cooler than black/grey (I think the reality is that it's just cheaper to manufacture). You get used to it pretty quickly, since it's out of your line of sight (at least when you're sitting in the front seats).
  • hiwaymanhiwayman Posts: 98
    It's more than just "installing a plug". The computer needs to be reprogrammed so the car will stay in EV mode longer, and you'll need to purchase more batteries. Then there's the cost of installation. And you'll void your warranty. This is done quite commonly on Priuses on the West Coast (same technology as a NAH), but the cost is significant, and you lose a great deal of storage space. I've heard this costs in the neighborhood of 5K to have done.
  • ighigh Posts: 60
    I also have a NAH with Tech Package which has 3500 miles
    on it now. It has gone through the first oil change. I have
    done all the above that you said but cannot seem to get
    over 38 mpg. I do not draft though but my highway driving
    is minimal.(20%)

    I have a couple of questions for you:
    - The mpg that you are getting - is it hand calculated or
    taken from the dash? I find the dash mpg to be always
    2.5 more than actual.

    - How long is your commute? My commute is 20 mins. All the
    people who get low to mid 40 mpg in the Camry Hybrid seem
    to have commutes in the 40 - 90 min range. Since the
    initial 5 mins of the drive only yeilds about 20-22 mpg
    due to warm up, I think to negate that, one needs to have
    many 40 mpg+ segments to pull overall mpg into the 40s.

    My last tank was 701 miles but it took me 18.8 gallons
    for an mpg of 37.3. The dash read 39.7 mpg. I took me
    1 month to get through that tank based on my driving
    pattern.
  • langjielangjie Posts: 247
    the camry engine is a little more efficient due to the atkinson cycle and a 9 less hp

    i like the way my car looks though, that's why i got the nah over tch
  • sonny19sonny19 Posts: 2
    The MPG has been hand calculated. However, it is almost exact to the dash. The only variance is how much do I over fill it. an extra 1/2 gallon will throw things off a little. My commute is 32 miles, mostly on highway, but it is almost always jamed up for nearly 5-7 miles which I love. It is stop and go which allows me to use the EV mode but enough movement to keep the battery charged.
    I hit 734 miles on a recent tankful.
    When I am on the highway doing 60-65 mph, I always back off the accelerator enough on declines to use only the electric motor. I can go up to 2 miles at times. That helps my mileage as well.
    In the morning, while the engine is heating up, I still try to glide as much as possible to charge the battery and leave the gas engine in idle mode. I have about 1 mile before I get on the highway. I also only get around 20 mpg during the first 5 minutes. But after that I can get 40-43 mpg the rest of the way to work.
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    When you use EV mode, it drains the battery, then the motor has to run later to recharge the energy that was used. Is this less energy used than if the motor was moving the vehicle directly?
  • ighigh Posts: 60
    Are you sure Nissan does not use the Atkinson cycle in
    its hybrid?

    The regular Nissan 2.5S has the same 2.5L engine which
    produces 176 hp. In the hybrid it is 158 hp. Nissan must
    have done something to the engine to make it more fuel
    efficient at the cost of power. The highway mpg which is
    mostly due to the ICE component does go up from 31 mpg
    to 33 mpg (2008 EPA estimates).

    The engine is bigger than the 2.4L engine in the Camry though and this may account for the slightly better fuel economy on the highway for the Camry. For the Camry the power of the engine reduces from 158 hp to 147 hp in the hybrid due to the Atkinson cycle. The highway mpg goes up from 30 to 34 (again 2008 EPA). So definitely the tweak is more effective here.

    It is interesting to note that the regular Altima, inspite
    of a bigger more powerful engine than the Camry gets better
    highway mpg than the regular Camry. This might be due to the
    CVT though.

    I think my fuel economy will not be much better than 38 mpg
    due to my short commute of 8 miles. The initial 5 min poor
    mpg is not being adequately compensated before I stop
    again and the engine cools down.
  • langjielangjie Posts: 247
    yes, i'm sure it's not an atkinson cycle (read it in one of the reviews, maybe edmunds actually)

    i think the power drop came because some parts of the engine needed to be downsized.

    38 is nothing to complain about...i'm at 36 after 5500 miles
  • So what is the deal with Nissan bumping the financing up to 1.9 APR/36 months from 0.7 APR/36 months for August. Sure they are offering an additional $1000 rebate, but that is at the expense of having to finance through NMAC at default rates, which makes the $1000 rebate idiotic to take. I don't understand the reasoning here; aren't 2008s on the way for September, why de-incentivize the remaining 2007s by uping the rate :confuse:
  • I thought this was strange too. But, I would go for the 60 month/2.9% anyways because this turns out to be a greater savings than the 36 month financing.
  • emgremgr Posts: 109
    I believe you can also select bimonthly payments which effectively reduces the interest paid and pays the car off earlier on a 60 month deal. At least that is what my dealer told me.
  • That depends on the interest rate you'll receive on the money you keep in the bank/market while the loan is being paid off.

    If you think you'll earn about 6.5% (post-tax) or greater, then you should (have) opt(ed) for the 2.9% 60-month financing instead of the 0.7% 36-month financing. Anything less than 6.5% and you should take the 0.7% financing.

    Using the new 1.9% rate, the changeover point is more like 4.5% instead of 6.5%.

    That calculation assumes some potentially unrealistic things (ie, you have no problem paying off the principal, you don't need the money for other things, etc), but should serve as a decent guideline for how you choose.
  • What limitations can be found on a Nissan Altima Hybrid when compared to a conventional vehical? For instance are after market rims supported by hybrid systems?
  • langjielangjie Posts: 247
    I don't see why you couldn't have after market rims.

    I don't think you can do much in performance upgrades for the car though, like putting in a new intake as the space is very limited in the engine bay. but if you're buying a hybrid, I have no clue why you would want performance upgrades...

    For HID's, you are stuck with the direct harness if you want to put on aftermarkets (no relay type because the battery is in the trunk)
  • Well i was mainly looking to put on aftermarket rims but i heard that it may mess with the braking system that recharges the batteries...
  • I'm intrigued by what you are saying here, but I'm not sure I understand. Can you explain in more detail what you are talking about? I don't see how the "changeover point" drops from 6.5% to 4.5% when the amount of interest you would be paying to Nissan goes up?
  • I put aftermarket rims on my Civic Hybrid, and it hasn't affected anything other than my gas mileage. If I were you assume a drop of 5-10% in gas mileage from whatever you are getting with the stock rims. The car is specifically engineered to be most efficient with stock parts. When you put on aftermarket rims, you will affect the gross weight of the car, the aerodynamics of the car, the drag and vortex swirling in the wheel wells, etc. This will all lead to a decrease in fuel economy. It is less likely that the increased weight will result in an increase in the possibility of fatiguing the suspension linkages, but it just depends on how much margin Nissan designs into these parts. Most likely there is plenty of margin available to allow aftermarket items to be added. Personally, the stock rims on my Civic Hybrid were so ugly that I literally replaced them within 1 month of buying the car.
  • It's a measurement of the present value of the payments you'll make under the different financing options, using different interest rates. Basically, it's looking at whether the additional interest you can earn from the bank/market by delaying the repayment of the principal (and therefore leaving that money in the bank/market for longer) will exceed the additional interest you pay to Nissan by having a higher financing rate.

    I think it'd be easiest to explain in an example. The amount of money you actually finance has no effect on the result of the calculation (the payments, present values, etc, all move proportionately with the loan amount), so let's use 10K as the loan amount.

    Under the July options, you would pay $280.79/month for the 36-month financing ("Option 1") and $179.24/month for the 60-month financing ("Option 2"). The new 36-month payment in August ("Option 3") would be $285.99/month.

    Now let's assume the interest rate you can earn in the market is 3.9375%--this is the 5.25% rate offered by Eloan's savings accounts with a 25% marginal tax rate taken off. Using this interest rate, the effective cost (ie, the present value) of the $10K loan is about $9,520, $9,748 and $9,696 for each of the three options, respectively.

    In other words, because both of the 36-month loans "cost" less than the 60-month loan, it makes more sense to take the 36-month loan, regardless of whether you got the July or August rates.

    The next step is then to start playing with the interest rate you get in the bank/market to figure out when the present value of the 60-month loan equals the present value of the 36-month loan. At an assumed rate of 4.5%, the present values of options 2 and 3 (the August rates) are virtually identical. Same thing with 6.5% for options 1 and 2 (the July rates).

    Since the rates in August are closer to each other than the rates in July, you don't need to earn as much when keeping your money in the bank in order for the longer repayment period to outweigh the fact that you pay more interest, hence the lower "changeover point" that I referred to.
  • I should add that this is a purely money-driven calculation, and makes some assumptions like assuming that you have the full $10K in the bank/market at the start of the loan. There will likely be other factors that impact the decision, such as whether or not you need the longer repayment period to be able to make monthly payments. All these are perfectly valid considerations, too.
  • langjielangjie Posts: 247
    lol,

    yeah, i think that getting a heavier rim will hurt your economy...a lighter one however, might be better, i'm not sure though
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