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Preview: Cars Of The Future, Coming Sooner Than You Think Page 5

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2011 Nissan LEAF prototype

2011 Nissan LEAF prototype

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2012 Nissan Leaf

  • What is it? All-electric compact five-door hatchback from Nissan
  • The basics: 80-kW motor, driving front wheels, powered by 24-kWh lithium-ion battery pack
  • Driving Impressions: Preview Drive: 2012 Nissan Leaf EV Prototype
  • On sale: Will be rolled out regionally; first deliveries to a few selected consumers by end of 2010
  • Price: car will be priced competitively with other competitors; battery pack will be leased separately

Nissan is barely a player in hybrid-electric vehicles, licensing an older version of the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive system to produce a few thousand Altima Hybrids every year that are sold in only a handful of U.S. states. Instead, the company has staked its green future on pure electric vehicles.

The five-door Leaf, which will go on sale in small numbers by the end of next year, demonstrates the advantage of dispensing with a gasoline engine altogether (unlike extended-range EVs like the 2010 Volt). While it occupies no more volume than a compact hatchback, Nissan claims it offers the interior space of a midsize car.

Nissan says the Leaf will offer 100 miles of electric range, which covers far more than 90 percent of average U.S. daily driving needs. And it says the car will be price-competitive with compact cars when running costs are taken into account, since electric power is far cheaper per mile than gasoline.

But given the high cost of early lithium-ion cell technology, Nissan has chosen to lease the Leaf battery packs separately. It is looking for 20,000 potential buyers to volunteer before the car actually goes on sale.


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Comments (2)
  1. The Tesla Roadster is a nice car. I wish I could only afford one. As for more cars of the future I am seeing smaller cars due to the gas prices.
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  2. So why is it that these auto reviews never seem to mention the fact that since 1999 you could drive an American made, fully electric, car at 75 mph? These reviewers need to get their head out of the sand and do some research before they write such stuff! Visit their site for the history and details. The single seater is called the NmG (for "No more Gas!"). I have been following this particular auto since the days it was launched back in California (as the "Sparrow"). I used to drive by their lot on Auburn Blvd in Sacramento everyday. I am patiently waiting for them to launch their 2-seater version (Called the DUO for "Doesn't Use Oil".) which is about to happen. The future, as mentioned in this article, has been here since 1999!
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