The zero-emissions Nissan Leaf is a dedicated, mass production electric-vehicle that is slated for launch in late 2010 in Japan. Slightly larger than the Latio, the medium-sized five-door hatchback is based on a unique platform and is equipped with a fully electric drivetrain that consists of a 107HP electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack (positioned underneath the cabin floor to save space) that can be charged through any home outlet providing a driving range of more than 160km.
I guess most readers would agree with me that the exterior styling of the Leaf is nothing inspiring. However, the interior design has an almost concept-feeling to it. For the record, the Leaf is not a prototype and is 99-percent of what you see here when the Leaf hits showrooms in late 2010.
An interesting detail concerns the headlights which have been designed to split and redirect airflow away from the door mirrors, in order to reduce wind noise and drag. According to Nissan, the lights consume just 10 percent of the electricity of conventional lamps. The Leaf's batteries can be charged up to 80% of its full capacity in just under 30 minutes with a quick charger while a full charge at home through a 200V outlet is estimated to take approximately eight hours. This may pose a problem to buyers that live in cities and do not have the luxury of a garage to charge up the car. Nissan said that it is addressing this problem with the development of a comprehensive charging infrastructure through public and private investment with its Zero-emission mobility programmes.
In May 2009, a multi-agency taskforce chaired by the Energy Market Authority (EMA) and Land Transport Authority (LTA) has been set up to study the introduction of electric vehicles (EV's) in Singapore from 2010. EMA CEO Mr Lawrence Wong said Singapore is well-positioned for the deployment of EVs because of its compact urban environment, robust electrical grid and IT infrastructure. Perhaps, we may eventually get to see the Leaf in our lion city some time down the road.