Nissan is now looking to put its name
up near the top of the list when it comes to zero emissions vehicles
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
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".