Electric vehicles, at the moment, are mostly being produced by niche manufacturers which lack the means to reach a very mainstream crowd with their messages about the benefits of driving an automobile with zero tailpipe emissions. More well know manufacturers are slowly entering this same space as well, though more focus from them continues to be on vehicles with electric-gas hybrid systems. One going all out though is Nissan, with its all new Leaf electric car.
The new Nissan Leaf, which is projected for a late 2010 debut in Japan, the United States and Europe, attempts to be a vehicle with mainstream touches, while at the same time being one which is committed to be as environmentally friendly as Nissan feels it can be. The Leaf, according to its manufacturer, is “powered by laminated compact lithium-ion batteries, which generate power output of over 90kW, while its electric motor delivers 80kW/280Nm.” This translates into what Nissan feels will be a “fun-to-drive” experience similar to that found in traditional autos. More importantly, the all electric experience is estimated to be able to more than 100 miles on one full charge.
While 100 miles may not seem like much, Nissan says studies have shown that “this range satisfies the daily driving requirements of more than 70% of the world’s consumers who drive cars.” If such is true, than the Leaf has potential to find an audience. The car is said to charge quickly, at up to 80 percent in under half-an-hour when using a “quick charger.” A full charge at home, using a standard AC outlet, is said to take around eight hours.
To make this car more mainstream in terms of creature comforts, Nissan says the Leaf is built completely upon a “new chassis and body layout.” It is defined by a V-shaped design, sporting special LED headlights which consume less energy, redirect airflow away from the door mirrors to improve aerodynamics and, for looks, “employ a blue internal reflective design.” The inside cabin is said to sport bright trim colors, along with an “environmentally friendly blue earth color theme” that is reflected in the exterior body paint color and internal dashboard highlights and instrument illumination.
Also of note on the Leaf is what Nissan calls “an exclusive advanced IT system” connected to a global data center. Examples of what this system can do include showing drivers a selection of nearby charging stations and letting owners make use mobile phones to turn on air-conditioning and set charging functions.