Nissan Motor Co Ltd equipped its Serena minivan with a newly-developed simple hybrid system called "Smart Simple Hybrid (S-Hybrid)" and will release the vehicle in August 2012.
For the S-Hybrid, Nissan increased the energy regeneration capacity and output power of the "Eco Motor," which is an alternator that is used for Nissan's Serena having an idling stop mechanism and capable of restarting an engine, so that it can also be used for driving a vehicle. To increase the energy regeneration capacity, Nissan added a lead sub-battery in the engine room.
Because all the components of the S-Hybrid are stored in the engine room, Nissan realized a high fuel efficiency of 15.2km/L (approx 35.8mpg) under the JC08 test mode, which is the highest in the (two-wheel-drive) vehicle class of the Serena, without changing in-vehicle space or seat arrangement.
As for minivans in the same vehicle class, Honda Motor Co Ltd's "Stepwgn" was partially remodeled in late May 2012. Its CVT (continuously variable transmission) was renewed, and an idling stop mechanism was added to it. As a result, Honda realized a fuel efficiency of 15km/L under the JC08 test mode, which was the highest in the vehicle class at that point.