In September 1999, Nissan introduced a 2-seater electric vehicle called the Nissan Hypermini. Only limited numbers of units were produced in Japan, to say 219. The car was offered for sale through the Nissan dealership in the larger cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto from February 2000. The Hypermini offered with 200V mount-type battery charger was offered at 4,000,000 yen (US$ 36,567) while the Hypermini with 200V non-fixed battery charger was sold at 4,015,000 yen. With its Hypermini, Nissan aimed to target the national government offices and agencies, local government bodies and corporations. According to Nissan, the Hypermini utilizes a quarter the energy used by a typical car.
Nissan Hypermini, a two-seater Electric Vehicle that can run at about 100 km/h (62 mph) and can cover 115 km (71 miles) on a single charge based on the Nissan’s measurements made under Japan’s 10-15 test mode. The New Energy Foundation related to the Ministry of International Trade & Industry awarded the Hypermini with fourth annual ‘New Energy Grand Prize’.
The Hypermini came with number of different features including: aluminum space frame chassis composed of extruded aluminum pipe, aluminum stampings and aluminum castings. Panels used are made of plastic. On its front it has independent struts, while the rear receives the independent parallel-link struts. Both front and rear brakes feature ventilated discs with anti-lock system. The car also feature a run-flat type stock tires measuring 145/65 R14 and 165/60 R14 on front and rear respectively. The car has a turning circle of 7.8 meters (25.6 feet) with a drag coefficient of 0.30. The car also featured an electric automatic air conditioner with pre-cool and pre-heat enabling feature.
The lithium-ion batteries of Hypermini were mounted under the floor bed and inductively recharged. A high frequency magnetic field is generated by a non-contact charging system uses a plastic paddle with a built-in coil. The car also featured a portable battery charger on board that can be used to recharge batteries on any ordinary electric outlet. According to Nissan, the electric car might be operated at one-fifth the cost of a gasoline-powered car.
Numbers Produced and In Existence
Different Japanese cities received different number of production units of Hypermini. The Kyoto received 138 units, Yokohama 20, Ebina 15 and Tokyo got 20 units. At the UC Davis California 15 units and city council of Pasadena received 11 units.
On November 7, 2001, 15 units of Hypermini were sent in a research program at the University of California, Davis. In Japan, three car-sharing programs were carried out by Nissan using the Hypermini. To support this program, Nissan sold about 120 units of Hypermini in Kyoto, Ebina and Yokohama. These vehicles were used by city officials and private citizens.
11 Hypermini vehicles were taken back by Nissan from city council of Pasadena, California in August 2006 after the lease expired. Nissan released a statement saying, “Nissan says it no longer makes the Hypermini and can’t maintain the cars”.