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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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RE: Price known on Yahoo Finance article
By Brandon Hill on 8/2/2009 10:33:00 AM , Rating: 5
Are you sure you're looking in the right place? $10,000 is simply not feasible at all. You sure you're not looking at the price of a Nissan Versa?

By 9nails on 8/2/2009 10:39:49 AM , Rating: 5
Sound too low to be true. I wonder if batteries are not included at that price!

RE: Price known on Yahoo Finance article
By Mint on 8/2/2009 7:08:51 PM , Rating: 2
Googling, it looks like the battery pack is around $10k. However, it's a beefy 24 kWh, which shows real progress in battery pricing.

To me, this is more promising for PHEV. Why even bother making regular hybrids anymore? For $2000, make the all-electric range 20 miles. Then you save half a gallon per day, or ~$400/yr in the US and up to $1000/yr in Europe. Even if the battery only lasts 2,000 cycles, it will more than pay itself back.

While I believe AGW is happening, I also believe it's small potatoes and the real win here is reduction of urban air pollution and dependence on foreign oil. PHEV also means that we don't have to worry about the occasional long trip, which is critical for any technology to be widely accepted in the US. A charging infrastructure for cars has the chicken and egg problem.

RE: Price known on Yahoo Finance article
By Fireshade on 8/3/2009 7:04:30 AM , Rating: 4
Nissan wants to sell the car with leasing the batterypack.
That's how they plan to keep the (major) costs low.
Since the batterypack would be changed every 5-6 years, this would be quite a sensible solution for the buyer.

By 16nm on 8/3/2009 11:31:41 AM , Rating: 2
this would be quite a sensible solution for the buyer.

And Nissan, too.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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