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Mileage of Note

Jan. 25 – Nagoya – An eco-drive to take Note of.

That was the experience for media in a caravan of 20 Nissan Notes on the roads and highways from Nissan’s Yokohama headquarters to Nagoya in central Japan.

That 300 km “Eco-Drive Challenge of Notes” underscored the better fuel economy of the Note – about 40% greater than its predecessor – with participants averaging more than 60 mpg along the route.

Working on the HR12DDR engine at Aichi Kikai's Atsuta Plant

At the caravan’s Atsuta Plant destination, run by Nissan subsidiary Aichi Kikai, the source of the eye-popping range is clear: the HR12DDR, a 1.2-liter, 3-cylinder supercharger engine.

Small and compact, the engine features a high compression ratio of 13:1 and reduced friction to minimize CO2 emissions.

Koichi Sakairi, Manufacturing VP, Atsuta Plant

Manufacturing VP Koichi Sakairi says the success of the Note, the RJC 2013 Car of the Year, keeps the Atsuta plant in overdrive.

“For our company, starting production of the Note engine was a big event for this fiscal year. Keeping in mind that this engine had to be a success, we did whatever we could to make it happen.” said Sakairi. “I am very happy to see customers appreciate this car very much, as a consequence of our efforts.”

Since 1965, Aichi Kikai has made more than 27 million engines and 20 million transmissions for a wide range of Nissan models, including the Sunny, X-Trail, 350 Z, GT-R and Juke.

Many of those parts also go to Nissan models overseas.

On the second day of the Eco-Drive, the caravan was bound for Yokohama, with instructions to drive normally, while snapping a few photos along the way.

Engine senior editor Toshihiko Arai

The best mileage award for the roughly 600km roundtrip went to the two-man team of Holiday Auto which averaged 71 mpg.

“The cruising average was about 72 to 73 kph. The vibration and tire noise became quiet at that range, so we tried to keep the average speed around that,” said Holiday Auto photographer Masayuki Inoue. “I didn’t get tired at all. We could drive easily and relax, in terms of the size of the car and the engine. This is the kind of car that even ordinary customers can drive in an eco-friendly way without noticing it.”

But most journalists were surprised by their results.

“The mileage was exactly 30 kilometers per liter,” said Engine senior editor Toshihiko Arai. “Honestly I didn’t think we’d reach 30. Even though it’s not a hybrid, we knew we would reach at least 25 km/l, and we wanted to exceed that. But fortunately, we reached 30.”

And with that, the caravan ended on a high Note, one that will resonate throughout Japan as its global rollout continues to overseas markets.

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