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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 12:53:14 PM , Rating: 5
Nissan says that the battery pack alone is $10,000. Now add that to the cost of a well equipped Versa (b/c you know that an electric vehicle isn't not going to come stripped) and you're looking at at least $25,000 -- about the price of a fully loaded Mazda3s Hatchback or a nicely loaded VW GTI.

I'm sorry, but even in 2012, it is impossible to deliver a FULLY electric vehicle with a lithium-ion battery pack for $10,000 to $15,000. Hell, an Insight only has a relatively small NiMH battery pack and it STARTS at $19,000.

Just using some common sense debunks the Yahoo Finance article :-)

By joeindian1551 on 8/2/2009 1:22:18 PM , Rating: 3
But common sense takes time and we all know FIRST! is what really matters on the interwebs and in journalism.

RE: Price known on Yahoo Finance article
By imaheadcase on 8/2/2009 4:40:26 PM , Rating: 3
Common sense would tell a car maker to develop a car that cost $10k, instead we get car that cost the same as a new model gas car that out performs it in every way.

Fact is, these cars will only cater to the hippy environmental person and the rest would say "FARK PLANET EARTH" and get a gas powered car when it comes down to money.

By Spuke on 8/2/2009 7:05:00 PM , Rating: 2
and the rest would say "FARK PLANET EARTH" and get a gas powered car when it comes down to money.
People would not say that. Sure, the hippie and the trendy crowds would probably buy one but anyone else would do the math and see if it works for them.

RE: Price known on Yahoo Finance article
By GaryJohnson on 8/2/2009 4:46:25 PM , Rating: 2
Another article suggest that you'll buy the car but only lease the battery pack. It sounds like they might have figured out that the batteries, and replacement batteries, is where the revenue stream is.

RE: Price known on Yahoo Finance article
By Mint on 8/2/2009 7:33:31 PM , Rating: 2
I've been waiting for a company to figure this out. If people are excessively gawking at the premium that battery packs add, why not take advantage of their mathematical stupidity?

Charge them a little less than gas - e.g $6 per 100 miles - and keep ownership of the battery while removing most of its cost from the sticker price.

Imagine what could happen in Europe for corporate fleets. Electric drivetrains are very simple to maintain, yet right now $20 per 100 miles for maintenance and gas would be a bargain there right now.

By dagamer34 on 8/3/2009 11:23:53 PM , Rating: 2
To be honest, a consumer now owning the battery is a good thing because when it wears out from use, Nissan will be the on replacing it. And 5 years should hopefully make a big difference in advancing battery technology.

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