The zero-emissions Nissan Leaf is a mass production electric-vehicle that is slated for launch in late 2010 in Japan, the United States, and Europe. The five-door medium-sized hatchback is based on a unique platform and it is equipped with a fully electric drivetrain that consists of a 107HP electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack that can be charged through any home outlet providing a driving range of more than 160km (100 miles).
Nissan said that it wants the car to be competitively priced in the range of a well-equipped C-segment vehicle something that points towards a €20,000 range in Europe and close to $30,000 in the USA.
While the Leaf’s styling won’t be winning any beauty contests, what it will do is give prospective buyers a sense of uniqueness without breaking the norm. That’s more evident with the interior design that has an almost concept-feeling to it. For the record, the Leaf is not a prototype study as what you see, is 99-percent what you’ll get when the Leaf hits showrooms in late 2010.
“Our car had to be the world’s first, medium-size, practical EV that motorists could afford and would want to use every day. And that’s what we’ve created,” said Nissan Product Chief Designer, Masato INOUE. “The styling will identify not only Nissan LEAF but also the owner as a participant in the new era of zero-emission mobility.”
At 4,445mm (175-in.) long, 1,770mm wide (69.7-in.) with a height of 1,550mm (61-in.) and a wheelbase of 2,700mm (106.3-in.), the Leaf is larger than your usual C-segment hatch. For example, the VW Golf is 4,199mm long (165-in.), 1,779mm wide (70-in.) with a height of 1,479mm (58.2-in.) and a wheelbase of 2,578mm (101.5-in.).
Power is provided by an electric motor delivering 80kW or 107-horsepower and 280Nm (206 lb-ft) of torque while energy is drawn from a combination regenerative braking system and a lithium-ion battery pack positioned underneath the cabin floor to save space.
The Leaf’s batteries can be charged up to 80% of its full capacity in just under 30 minutes with a quick charger while a full charge at home through a 200V outlet is estimated to take approximately eight hours.
In theory, the idea sounds right, but we can help but wonder how buyers that live in large cities and do not own a garage will be able to charge the car’s battery – let alone if the batteries are depleted away from home.
Nissan claims that the Leaf will have a driving range in excess of 160 km or 100 miles while the hatchback will be able to achieve a top speed of over 90mph or 140 km/h.
The Leaf will also have an advanced IT system connected to a global data centre, providing support, information, and entertainment for drivers 24 hours a day.
Nissan will build the Leaf at its Oppama plant, Japan, with additional capacity planned for the firm’s Smyrna plant in Tennessee, USA. The EV’s lithium-ion batteries are produced in Zama, Japan, with additional capacity planned for the USA, the UK and Portugal, and other sites around the world.