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Nissan gets into the zero emissions game with the 2010 LEAF EV

When it comes to hybrid and electric vehicles, names like Prius, Insight, and Volt manage to grab the bulk of the limelight. The Toyota Prius is the darling of the "green" movement when it comes to fuel efficient vehicles and the Volt hasn't even made it into the hands of the buying public yet -- but it still garners attention from the automotive press (and prospective buyers).

Nissan is now looking to put its name up near the top of the list when it comes to zero emissions vehicles according to Autoblog. The company this weekend announced its new 2010 LEAF EV which melds Nissan/Renault's current design theme with an electric-only vehicle.

As with most next generation electric vehicles, the LEAF uses an advanced lithium-ion battery pack (48 modules, 90kW) and has electric motors which deliver 80kW (107 HP). The combo allows the LEAF to have a driving range of 100 miles and a top speed of 87 mph according to Nissan. By Nissan's estimates, the 100 mile driving range is enough to satisfy the daily commute requirements of 80% of American drivers (Nissan says that the average U.S. driver has a daily commute of less than 62 miles).

When it comes to styling, most would be hard pressed to call the LEAF "another Prius knockoff" which has been a label affixed to the Honda Insight. Instead, the LEAF takes its design direction from a few vehicles already in the Nissan stable including the Murano, Rogue, and Versa -- albeit with more aerodynamic curves and surfaces.

Given that the LEAF is a fully electric vehicle and doesn't have an "extended range" gasoline engine/generator like the Volt, the vehicle will rely heavily on a robust electric charging infrastructure. As a result, Nissan will initially market the vehicle in U.S cities which have taken the initiative to provide charging station for EVs including Phoenix, San Diego, Raleigh, and Seattle.

"Nissan LEAF is a tremendous accomplishment – one in which all Nissan employees can take great pride," said Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn. "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."

Nissan expects to market the LEAF in the U.S., Europe, and Japan next year. Pricing has not been announced, but Nissan describes the vehicle as "affordable".

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Right-hand drive US car?
By 9nails on 8/2/2009 10:28:41 AM , Rating: 2
Nice looking car. I'd consider it if the price were right. Looking at the pictures, I couldn't help but think that those were of a prototype. And especially without the American's left-hand driver's position, I'm really wondering if these pictures reflect images of what will actually be in the showrooms.

RE: Right-hand drive US car?
By SunAngel on 8/2/2009 12:47:46 PM , Rating: 2
in layman terms...can we all expect an american version?

RE: Right-hand drive US car?
By michael67 on 8/2/2009 5:19:40 PM , Rating: 2
Unlike US company's, most other company's build left and right seated cars for almost all there models

And for Nissan was the Skyline the exception that came only for the right seated marked, but after 2001 the new V35 Skyline was also available for the left seated market

RE: Right-hand drive US car?
By Dorkyman on 8/3/2009 9:47:51 PM , Rating: 2
No, it's meant to be that way, even in America. That way, when you run out of juice, you can roll down your window and conveniently ask pedestrians to help push you to the nearest charging station.

RE: Right-hand drive US car?
By Keeir on 8/2/2009 7:25:58 PM , Rating: 2
Supposedly this is the production intent proto-type. There may be minor changes, but the major factors are set and the final car should be more than 90% similar to this proto-type.

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