Starting with the Tama, running to the Leaf

Nissan has positioned itself at the forefront of electric vehicle (EV) development, driving the move to e-mobility with cars like the Leaf.

But before electrification was the talk of the town, and before the first-generation Leaf, there was the two-seat Tama, developed by Prince Motors – which eventually became Nissan.

There was room for two passengers and 450kg of cargo on board, with power from a 3kW electric motor and 40V lead-acid battery. With a 35km/h top speed and 65km of range, it's not exactly quick by modern standards, but those numbers were pretty handy in the 1940s.

By way of comparison, the modern Nissan Leaf makes 110kW and 320Nm of torque, for an 8.0-second sprint to 100km/h.

There are a few similarities between the two, though. Both cars have their batteries under the floor, for example, and both offer their torque from standstill.

Check out the video at the top of this article. Be warned, you'll need to hit the 'CC' button for English subtitles on the Japanese narration.