Nissan has released photos and details of the electric car it intends to put into production in 2010. Although it hasn't announced pricing, Nissan said the Leaf, priced as a C-segment car, will be affordable. The company also said the Leaf will cost less to operate than a petrol-powered car, both in terms of fuel and maintenance, as there are fewer moving parts to wear out.
The Leaf uses a laminate lithium-ion battery pack with an output of over 90kW. The car's drive motor puts out 80kW of power, which is substantial enough to give it performance equivalent to that of a petrol-powered car. Nissan claims the Leaf has a range of over 100 miles, which is similar to that of electric-car projects from other manufacturers. The Leaf uses regenerative braking. It takes 30 minutes to recharge the battery pack up to 80 per cent using a quick charger. From a 200V source, the Leaf takes 8 hours to recharge.
One of the car's more innovative elements is its on-board computer. It performs typical functions such as displaying the charge level, but it's also connected to a data centre that receives diagnostic information from the car. It will also keep the driver informed about the location of local recharging stations. Although not specifically mentioned by Nissan, this on-board system could easily display potential routes and traffic conditions. It will also provide entertainment for passengers, according to the company.
The Leaf will initially be built in Japan, and sold in Japan, the US and Europe.