Finally! Nissan Unveils First Electric Car Design and It's a Keeper

Nissan’s EV revolution now has a face — you may call it LEAF. Available for purchase in late 2010.


You’ve got to hand it to Nissan: they’ve been burning the midnight oil with their EV information blitz recently. I’m sure there are many blurry eyed and bedazzled marketing and engineering folks behind the Nissan EV scenes right now who are starting to wonder if they get paid enough.

From Nissan’s humble start last year with the rather non-bedazzling first generation EV test mule, to their wireless electric car charging plans, to their computer- and mobile phone-linked car communication system, to their preproduction runs of the final battery design, to, yes, even their recently announced advanced forest-scented air conditioning research, each step along the path has brought Nissan closer to the goal of introducing a mass-produced and mass-market priced EV to the world next year.

Well, now we know what their first EV model is actually going to look like — and it’s a damn sight better than the mercilessly ugly test mule, don’t you say? I’d even say the Nissan LEAF is gorgeous. I think I was the first one to publicly declare that Nissan was stealthily on track to EV world domination and as we get closer to the release date, my belief in that statement gets stronger and stronger.

Nissan says the LEAF will go 100 miles under real world conditions on a 24 kWh, 120 HP motor that can propel the bugger to a top speed of over 90 mph and carry 4-5 people. Nissan hasn’t released any official acceleration times yet, but claims that it will provide “stimulating acceleration.”

According to Nissan, when using a 50kW DC quick charger, the LEAF battery could be charged to 80% capacity in less than 30 minutes. However, charging to 100% at home using a standard 200V AC outlet will take about 8 hours.

You’ll also be able to converse with the car through your mobile device to control and monitor such things as:

  • Turning on the A/C a few minutes before you’re about to leave that unbelievably boring meeting to drive home on a *wonderfully* climate-changed 110°F day
  • Check the charge status of the vehicle
  • Calculate the cost to charge the battery

I bet we’ll see many more such remote features added as time goes on. Nissan’s press kit conveniently illustrates the remote access with an iPhone and it looks like we’ll even see a dedicated iPhone app.

So, I don’t know about you all, but I’m salivating with anticipation. Now, let’s see about getting a test drive, no?

Nick Chambers

Not your traditional car guy.