Nissan Leaf: An affordable electric car?

On the outside, this electric prototype from Nissan looks fairly conventional. The surprises come when you enter the cabin of the Leaf. The basic concept was to bring an e-model onto the market that would suit the average budget. They haven't named their price yet, but it should be on a par with the cost of a standard compact car – minus battery. A pack with the requisite capacity will cost a prospective purchaser an additional five-figure sum. For this reason, the Japanese carmaker is hopeful of government subsidies in target markets.

There is no external clue to suggest that the Nissan Leaf is one of the first ever cars to have been designed specifically as electrically powered. This five-door vehicle looks just like any other in the compact class. According to the manufacturer's own research, the Leaf's 100-mile range is adequate for the needs of around 70 percent of all drivers on the planet. The initial plan is to construct the new model in Japan and the USA, with an option to expand production to Europe. Rollout for the Leaf is scheduled for the end of 2010.


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