Nissan Unveils Its All-electric Leaf

Scott Benjamin

The all-electric Nissan Leaf is displayed during the opening ceremony of the company's new headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, on Sunday, Aug. 2, 2009. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

Here's a car that you may not have heard about until now: an electric vehicle (EV) from Nissan called the Leaf. And why is Nissan's Leaf a big deal, you may ask? Well, it's the first zero-emissions, 100 percent electric car from Nissan, that's why. The Leaf, a medium-size hatchback, was unveiled just yesterday, and as Dan Neil reported in the Los Angeles Times, "Depending on how you define your terms, the Leaf will be the first mass-market EV sold in the U.S. since the 1920s."

Nissan has stated that the Leaf will have seating for five, a top speed of about 90 miles per hour, a fully rechargeable, laminated lithium-ion battery that's half the size of a conventional lithium-ion battery, a quick-charge option (80 percent charge) that will only take about 30 minutes and a range of more than 100 miles on a full-charge. Oh, and don't forget that bit about the Leaf producing zero tailpipe emissions, too. That's kind of important. Of course, there's a lot more to the all-new Nissan Leaf than I just mentioned; however, rather than overwhelming you with long list of facts, figures and features, why don't you just head on over to Nissan's official Leaf site and check it out for yourself?

According to Nissan's official press release, the company plans to sell the first Leaf cars in the United States, Japan and Europe by late 2010. And the Leaf won't be the only EV that Nissan intends to sell. Apparently, it has more zero-emission vehicle production planned, too, as the press release held this giveaway line: "Nissan Leaf is the first in the company's forthcoming line of EVs and is a major milestone in the realization of the Renault-Nissan Alliance's vision for zero-emission mobility."

The New York Times is reporting that the Leaf production numbers are expected to start around 200,000 units per year, and as of right now, Nissan isn't promising an exact price. However, the company will say that the plan (at this time) is to price the Leaf in the same range as a well-equipped, typical family sedan. Let's hope they stick to it.

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