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by George Skentzos

As promised, Nissan has today officially unveiled the LEAF, the world’s first affordable, zero-emission car.

The Nissan LEAF is a medium-sized hatchback which can comfortably accommodate five adults with a range of more than 160km which should satisfy the daily driving requirements of more than 70 per cent of the world’s consumers who drive cars, according to Nissan.

Designed specifically for a lithium-ion battery-powered chassis, the LEAF is slated for launch in late 2010 in Japan, the US and Europe with Australian sales expected to follow in 2012.

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“Nissan LEAF is a tremendous accomplishment – one in which all Nissan employees can take great pride,” said Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn.

“We have been working tirelessly to make this day a reality – the unveiling of a real-world car that has zero – not simply reduced – emissions.

“It’s the first step in what is sure to be an exciting journey – for people all over the world, for Nissan and for the industry,” he said.

While pricing is yet to be announced, affordability will play a vital role in the LEAF’s success, with Nissan expecting it to be priced in the range of a well-equipped C-segment vehicle.

The price will also vary dramatically in different markets where it may qualify for an array of significant local, regional and national tax breaks and incentives in countries around the world.

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The laminated compact lithium-ion batteries powering the LEAF generate peak output of more than 90kW, while its electric motor delivers 80kW and 280Nm.

The batteries can be charged to 80 per cent of their full capacity in just under 30 minutes with a quick charger, while a conventional 200V socket should take approximately eight hours.

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“Our car had to be the world’s first, medium-size, practical EV that motorists could afford and would want to use every day, and that’s what we’ve created,” said Masato INOUE, Product Chief Designer.

“The styling will identify not only Nissan LEAF but also the owner as a participant in the new era of zero-emission mobility.”

The Nissan LEAF will also employ an exclusive advanced IT system connected to a global data centre to provide continuous support, information, and entertainment for drivers.

A dash-mounted monitor displays the LEAF’s remaining power and “reachable area” as well as showing a selection of nearby charging stations.

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Mobile phone integration also allows the air-conditioning to be activated remotely and set charging functions while an on-board remote-controlled timer can also be pre-programmed to recharge batteries.

Nissan LEAF is a critical first step in establishing the era of zero-emission mobility; however, Nissan recognizes that internal-combustion engine (ICE) technologies will play a vital role in global transportation for decades to come.




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