Nissan Turns Over New ‘LEAF’ For Mobility

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    Nissan Motor Co. recently rolled out the Nissan LEAF in Los Angeles – the first stop in a 22- city tour promoting the zero-emission car.

    Designed specifically for a lithium-ion battery-powered chassis, the Nissan LEAF is a medium-size hatchback that seats five adults and has a range of more than 160km (100 miles).

    And it’s pretty impressive.

    I had an opportunity to drive the LEAF on a short route mapped out at Dodger Stadium for the LA event and for an all-electric vehicle it has a lot more pep than you expect and handles well.

    Depending on your size, space might be an issue but that’s the price you have to pay for a practical electrical car. Well, at least for now.

    Slated for launch in late 2010 in the U.S., the Nissan LEAF signals what the carmaker calls “a new era of mobility – the zero-emission era.”

    “Nissan LEAF is a tremendous accomplishment,” 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.”

    The LEAF is powered by laminated compact lithium-ion batteries, which generate power output of over 90kW, while its electric motor delivers 80kW/280Nm.

    Unlike internal-combustion engine (ICE) equipped vehicles, Nissan LEAF’s power train has no tail pipe, thus no emission of CO2 or other greenhouse gases.  A combination of Nissan LEAF’s regenerative braking system and innovative lithium-ion battery packs enables the car to deliver a driving range of more than 100 miles on one full charge.

    Nissan LEAF employs an exclusive advanced IT system.  Connected to a global data center, the system can provide support, information, and entertainment for drivers 24 hours a day.  Another state-of-the-art feature is the ability to use mobile phones to turn on air-conditioning and set charging functions – even when Nissan LEAF is powered down.

    Pricing details will be announced closer to start of sales in late 2010.

    The LEAF will likely qualify for local, regional and national tax breaks and incentives as well, which will help even more when tallying up the cash for the ride.  — M. Amick

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