|Class||Electric car, Zero-emissions vehicle|
|Body style(s)||5-door hatchback|
|Wheelbase||106.3 in (2700 mm)|
|Length||175.0 in (4445 mm)|
|Width||69.7 in (1770 mm)|
|Height||61.0 in (1549.4 mm)|
|Fuel capacity||24 kW·h (Li-ion battery)|
|Electric range||100 mi (160 km) on the US LA-4 driving cycle (aka UDDS or "city").|
The Nissan Leaf (sometimes formatted as "LEAF": Leading, Environmentally Friendly, Affordable, Family Car) is an electric car announced by Nissan in 2009. It is expected to be marketed in North America, Europe, and Japan, beginning in late 2010.
The EV-11 prototype electric car was based on the Nissan Tiida (Versa in US) platform, but uses an all-electric drive train including an 80 kW (110 hp)/280 N·m (210 lb·ft) electric motor, 24kWh lithium-ion battery pack rated to have a range of 100 miles (160 km) on the EPA LA-4 or "city" driving cycle, navigation system, and remote control & monitoring using a cellphone connection through Nissan's secure data center to the car.
The prototype was on display July 26, 2009. A week later, on August 2, 2009, the production version was unveiled at Nissan's Yokohama headquarters and is set to begin selling in both the North American market and Japan at end of 2010.
The Leaf uses a front-mounted electric motor driving the wheels, powered by a 24kW·h/90 kW lithium ion battery pack. The expected cruising range is the same as the EV-11 prototype, as is the motor. The battery pack is made of air-cooled stacked modules.
Nissan claims that the car has a top speed of over 140 km/h (87 mph).
The battery can be charged with 480 Volt, 220 Volt and 110 Volt sources. With 480 Volts, it can be charged to 80% capacity in about 30 minutes with a special quick charger that sends 480 volt 125 amp direct current to the battery. With 220 Volt, it can be charged in 4 hours, and in North America and Japan using standard household 110 Volt outlets it can be charged in 16 hours. 
Nissan Leaf will employ an advanced IT system. Connected to a global data center, the system provides support, information, and entertainment for drivers 24 hours a day. The dash-mounted monitor displays the Leaf's remaining power, in addition to showing a selection of nearby charging stations.
Users' mobile phones can be used to turn on air-conditioning, the heater and re-set charging functions even when the vehicle is powered down. An on-board remote-controlled timer can also be pre-programmed to recharge batteries.
Although an exact price has not been announced, the car is expected to cost US$25,000–33,000. The Leaf's pricing will be announced in April 2010, and Nissan will sell or lease the Leaf only with batteries included, forgoing the initial idea of leasing batteries to reduce the price of the car.
In mid-February 2010 Nissan announced that around 50,000 people have already registered in the U.S. to have first priority. The reservation process will begin in April, and after paying a fully refundable US$100 reservation fee, customers will be among the first in line able to order a Nissan Leaf. Orders are expected to begin in August and deliveries will start in select markets as early as December 2010.
Renault-Nissan has partnered with governments, public utilities, and private entities to produce the global infrastructure necessary to make the LEAF a viable concept. The Leaf, however, will not contain Renault-Nissan's QuickDrop battery switch feature. Countries already signed up to this electric vehicle network include Portugal, the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Israel, Ireland, France, China, Singapore, Switzerland, Canada (British Columbia) and Monaco.
The U.S. Department of Energy has granted $99.8 million to Electric Transportation Engineering Corporation (eTec) for the EV Project, involving the installation of up to 11,210 charging stations in strategic markets: Phoenix (AZ), Tucson (AZ), San Diego (CA), Portland (OR), Eugene (OR), Corvallis (OR), Seattle (WA), Nashville (TN), Knoxville (TN) and Chattanooga (TN). Nissan has partnered with eTec on this project, and will supply 4,700 vehicles to individual and fleet customers in these areas beginning in the fall of 2010.
The EV Project will collect and analyze data to characterize vehicle use in diverse topographic and climatic conditions, evaluate the effectiveness of charge infrastructure, and conduct trials of various revenue systems for commercial and public charge infrastructure. The ultimate goal of The EV Project is to take the lessons learned from the deployment of these first 4,700 EVs, and the charging infrastructure supporting them, to assist in the streamlined deployment of the full production number of Leafs and other EVs.
The first vehicles to be sold in the U.S. will be produced at Nissan’s plant in Oppama, Japan. Commercial US production would begin in late 2012 at Nissan's manufacturing facility in Smyrna, Tennessee. This U.S. plant will be modified with a $1.4 billion loan granted by the U.S. Department of Energy to allow the manufacturing plant to produce the Nissan Leaf and its advanced batteries. The retooled plant is expected to create 1,300 jobs. The Smyrna plant is expected to produce up to 150,000 vehicles and 200,000 battery packs annually.
Following General Motors' announcement that they anticipate the Chevy Volt's city fuel economy will reach 230 mpg plus 25kWh/100mi (85mpgge combined), Nissan announced on August 11, 2009, via its NissanEVs Twitter account, that they anticipate the Nissan Leaf can reach 367 mpg plug-to-wheel using the Department of Energy's formula (22.5 kWh/100mi, 150mpgge).
On October 22, 2009, Nissan announced The Zero Emission Tour, with stops in 22 North American cities. At each stop on the tour, visitors were able to view the car and learn about the benefits of zero-emission driving. The first stop of the tour was in Los Angeles on November 13, 2009, marking the unveiling of the LEAF in North America. Other stops on the tour included Berkeley, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver, Las Vegas, Houston, Washington, D.C. and Orlando.
The tour ended in February 2010 in New York City after visiting 24 cities, including two (Atlanta and Boston) that were added to the original itinerary due to requests. Nissan estimates that 100,000 people saw the company’s lithium-ion battery car.
Since the initial series of announcements, a number of commenters criticized Nissan for what was seen as misleading emphasis on the 100 mile range that was computed using LA-4 or "city" mode.Skeptics point out that electric cars, unlike gasoline-powered vehicles, tend to achieve optimal efficiency at low speeds, and, furthermore, Leaf's bulky shape and its relatively large size (20% taller than the GM EV1 and almost 40% taller than Tesla Roadster) imply poor aerodynamics, making it perform poorly on freeways. As of February 2010, Nissan has not yet released the expected highway range of the Leaf. Its coefficient of drag (a parameter that's crucial to its highway efficiency) has not been stated explicitly either; its designer went on record saying "...it is very good -- without making it the typical one motion aeroform", but stopped short of proclaiming it to have the lowest coefficient of drag among mass-produced cars (this title is currently claimed by Mercedes-Benz E-class, at 0.24).
|Nissan road car timeline, United States and Canadian markets, 1980s–present|
|Sport compact||Pulsar NX||Pulsar NX||NX||200SX|