Internet rumours suggest that Nissan will offer a hybrid version of its 370Z sports car by around 2012. Currently, Nissan's only hybrid is the Altima sedan, with a power train licensed from Toyota. But Nissan has long promised a car with a hybrid system developed in-house, and showed off a concept car that would use this system, the Essence, at the Geneva International Motor Show.
The first production car featuring Nissan's own hybrid system should be based on the Infiniti M45 (Infiniti is Nissan's luxury-car division), expected to come out in 2010. Nissan has been working on lithium-ion battery development in partnership with NEC.
The 370Z hybrid could be the first hybrid sports car, although Honda has been working on its own CR-Z, which should come out as a sporty but compact hybrid. Even if Honda beats Nissan to the punch, a 370Z hybrid would be more powerful and probably have better handling, if our experience with the 2009 370Z is any indication.
According to the rumours, the 370Z hybrid would use the same 3.7-litre V6 engine as the standard version, but would get an extra boost from an electric motor. The car is also supposed to have plug-in capability, and use similar battery technology to that which Nissan is developing for its pure electric EV-02.