The Nissan electric car is for now the Nissan Leaf. The Leaf is in pre-production at the present time. The car has been making the rounds for several years now to almost universal positive reviews. LEAF is an acronym for Leading, Environmentally Friendly, Affordable, Family Car.
Nissan has recognized the problems of past electric champions like the ill-fated GM EV1. The EV1 was largely manufactured to meet the requirements of the California zero emissions mandate. The mandate was repealed in 2003 with the help of major auto manufacturers, and the EV1 was literally crushed. Ford recalled its Th!nk cars at the same time, and Toyota was sued for use of so-called proprietary battery technology in its electric cars of about the same vintage. Coincidentally, Chevron Oil Company was involved. Production of the Toyota RAV4 EV (still in demand today) was stopped. The electric car movement pulled off the road.
Nissan has been making cars since 1918. The company is not as traditionally as big as Toyota and GM, but is a major Japanese auto manufacturer with a global Leading presence. More recently the company has merged with French automaker Renault. As such, the companies have undertaken a number of projects aimed at producing cars, information for those cars, and the infrastructure to support electric cars.
The companies are working on battery switching technology along with the US company better place. Several governments are supporting the technology in large scale field trials. Israel with inter-city distances well within the range of the Leaf and charging stations at strategic locations makes an excellent test site for electric cars in general. Successful trials will help plant EV technology elsewhere.
Specifications for the Leaf:
Range – 100miles/160km average
Top Speed – 90mph/145kph
Electric Motor – 80kW/107hp
Energy Storage – 24kWh – around 3 quarts/Liters Gasoline equivalent
Empty Weight – 3400lbs/1545kg
Wt/HP – 32lbs/1hp
Battery Pack Wt – 480lbs/418kg
Charge at home 220V – 8 hours
80% quick charge at Nissan/3-phase charger – 30 minutes
As for sales, Nissan plans to produce 50,000 Leafs (leaves?) in 2011, with an eventual worldwide target of 200,000 annually. People can pay $99 USD to reserve a Leaf now. So far, people are reserving cars at a respectable pace. Hopefully the target production run will be met. About 20,000 orders have been placed as of the end of May, 2010.
Price estimates for the Leaf run from $33,000 – $40,000 USD. The actual sticker prices will be known when the first cars hit the showrooms by 2011.
Go Nissan Leaf!