Nissan's New LEAF
By EV World
Renault Nissan Alliance Chairman Carlos Ghosn promised his joint-companies would produce a 'real world' electric car. The new LEAF, lithium ion-powered electric car is the fulfillment of that daring pledge. With seating for five adults, the five-door hatchback promises a range of 160 km (100 mi) in the USA LA4 driving cycle. Its 25kWh battery pack has the capability of being recharged using 110V, 220V, both common household currents, as well as 30-minute quick charging up to 80% of battery capacity using commercial fast chargers. Top speed is quoted at 87 mph.
The introduction of an all-electric sedan represents a risky departure for Ghosn and his Alliance from the more cautious approaches being adapted Toyota and Honda who have committed more strongly to a gasoline-electric hybrid pathway. While Toyota recently announced it too would be offering an battery electric commuter car, theirs will based on the small, iQ platform. Among the major Japanese OEM's, only Mitsubishi has made similar commitments to deliver all-electric cars. They began taking retail customer orders for the i-MiEV electric car last week.
The LEAF officially debuted at the grand opening of Nissan's new corporate headquarters in Yokohama where the original company was founded in 1933. Its first electric vehicle -- built in 1947 by Tokyo Electric Car Company -- was a small electric truck called the Tama. It incorporated swappable battery trays, a feature that might see application again in the LEAF, though the company hasn't confirmed this. Earlier collaboration with Better Place had demonstrated a robotic battery exchange system utilizing Nissan vehicles.
Early demonstration vehicles will begin to arrive in North America in late 2010, with retail sales planned to follow in 2012.
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