Nissan Leaf
Nissan Leaf. Click image to enlarge

Yokohama, Japan – Nissan Motor Company has unveiled the Leaf, which it calls the world’s first affordable zero-emission car. The new electric vehicle is planned for sale in Japan, the United States and Europe in late 2010.

Designed specifically for a lithium ion battery-powered chassis, the Leaf is a medium-sized hatchback that comfortably seats five adults and has a range of more than 160 km to satisfy real-world consumer requirements. Pricing will be announced closer to launch, but the company expects it to be competitively priced in the range of a well-equipped C-segment vehicle. It is also expected to qualify for a number of significant tax incentives in markets around the world.

“Nissan Leaf is a tremendous accomplishment, one in which all Nissan employees can take great pride,” said Carlos Ghosn, president and CEO. “We have been working tirelessly to make this day a reality: the unveiling of a real-world car that has zero, not simply reduced emissions. It’s the first step in what is sure to be an exciting journey for people all over the world, for Nissan and for the industry.”

The Leaf’s electric motor will deliver 80 kW, or 206 ft-lb of torque, for an experience in keeping with what consumers have come to expect from traditional gasoline-powered automobiles. A combination of regenerative braking and lithium ion battery packs will enable the car to deliver a driving range of more than 160 km on one full charge. Nissan said that this range satisfies the daily driving requirements of more than 70 per cent of the world’s consumers who drive cars. The Leaf can be charged up to 80 per cent of its full capacity in just under 30 minutes with a quick charger, while charging at home through a 200-volt outlet is estimated to take approximately eight hours.

Leaf uses an exclusive advanced IT system that connects to a global data centre, providing support, information and entertainment for drivers 24 hours a day. A dash-mounted monitor displays the remaining power or “reachable area,” as well as a selection of nearby charging stations. Drivers will be able to use mobile phones, turn on air conditioning or set charging functions even when the car is powered down, while an on-board, remote-controlled timer can be pre-programmed to recharge the batteries.

Nissan Leaf is the first in the company’s upcoming line of electric vehicles. It will be manufactured at Oppama, Japan, with additional capacity planned for Smyrna, Tennessee. Lithium ion batteries are being produced in Zama, Japan, with additional capacity planned for the U.S., the U.K. and Portugal, with other sites under study around the world.

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