Car giant turns over a new LEAF

Has Nissan designed the car of the future with its forthcoming all-electric vehicle?

Car giant turns over a new LEAF

Car manufacturer Nissan promises that its new all-electric car, the LEAF, will mark a 'new era in personal mobility'. The first ever purpose-designed all-electric vehicle (EV) to hit the mass market, the LEAF is a family-friendly five-seater hatchback that offers all the space, practicality and performance of its C-segment competitors, but with one very significant difference – zero emissions – making this the first fully eco-friendly car to motor onto our roads.

The LEAF uses an advanced litium-ion battery for power, which the boffins at Nissan have been developing since 1992. Unlike other eco-friendly cars, such as the Toyota Prius, the LEAF is not a hybrid; its electric motor is driven by a 90kw battery, which Nissan promises will deliver a potential range of 100 miles when fully charged.

Due for release in the UK in March 2011, the Nissan LEAF could revolutionise the motor industry. We asked David Jackson, category manager for electric vehicles at Nissan Motor (GB) why, and how, the LEAF could shape the future…

Why should we be excited about the Nissan LEAF?
The Nissan LEAF is the world's first purpose-built, affordable, mass-produced electric vehicle. Its conventional hatchback design can carry up to five passengers and their luggage for up to 100 miles on a full charge, with zero tailpipe emissions. It will be the first in a range of new Nissan electric vehicles.

How much will it cost?
The Nissan LEAF is priced at £28,350, however, government incentives of £5,000 for electric vehicle buyers in the UK will bring the cost down to £23,350. Running costs are expected to be significantly lower than conventionally fuelled vehicles, as a full overnight charge using ordinary domestic electricity will cost approximately £2. Owners of electric vehicles also pay no road fund licence, and fewer mechanical parts should ensure service costs are lower, too.

What are the car's key features?
The Nissan LEAF is a pure electric vehicle that can be recharged overnight using ordinary domestic electricity, in around eight hours. Alternatively, it can be charged to 80 per cent of its full capacity in just 30 minutes, using fast-charge technology. Nissan research suggests the car's range is suited to 95 per cent of European car users' daily needs.

Is this car going to change the future?
Public awareness regarding global warming is a fact. The automotive industry is part of the problem (responsible for about 10 per cent of total CO2 emissions globally), so it must also be part of the solution. The LEAF is a first step on the road towards a sustainable mobility solution, and will play an important role in leading behavioural change – encouraging the switch away from transport reliant on fossil fuels. However, it also requires cooperation from governments, energy providers and local authorities, in establishing the necessary charging infrastructure. Finally, it also needs motorists themselves to adapt to and embrace the idea of electric vehicles.

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