There’s been a bit of a tease running up to the reveal of the Nissan Electric Car – The Nissan LEAF EV – and today Nissan has released details and images.
Update 18/3/2010: Nissan has announced that the Nissan LEAF will be built at its plant in Sunderland UK, starting 2013.
The Nissan LEAF is trumpeted as Nissan’s Zero Emissions Electric Car. The LEAF will go on sale in Japan, America and Europe in late 2010, and as we already knoew, Nissan is working on battery production and charging infrastructure in the UK, Portugal and other countries.
The Nissan LEAF is a mid-sized (C-Sector) family hatchback which claims to offer affordable, zero emission transport. Designed specifically as a lithium ion, battery-powered chassis, the LEAF will have a range of around 100 miles from an 8 hour charge from a domestic supply in the UK. Up to 80% charge can be achieved from a re-charging station offering 400 volt supply in just 15 minutes.
The electric motor in the LEAF delivers 108bhp and 208lb/ft of torque, which should translate in to half decent performance, particularly mid-range. And, despite the electric drivetrain, this will be perceived as a traditional Nissan family car. Similar in size to the old Almera, it will offer a traditional environment for the driver, with sector-comparable performance and room for 5 plus luggage. It’s not a compromise, as so many electric cars are, but something built from the ground up to perform as an EV.
But – and I’m sorry to be such an old cynic – does it really offer zero emissions, cheap family motoring? No, of course it doesn’t. In the UK it will probably emit the equivalent of at least 110g/km if you take in to account the carbon cost of the generated electricity. Price-wise, it’s competitive at around £20,000, and the electricity will be much cheaper than petrol or diesel. Or at least it will be until Governments around the world start to slap huge taxes on electricity for transport as they surely will as soon as EVs become prolific.
But what about costs to buy and run, on top of the cost of electricity? Well, if you assume the Nissan LEAF will retain 50% of its value over three years – and assume an interest rate of 5% – then a contract hire/lease will cost you around £350 per month. You will then have to add in the cost of leasing the batteries – Nissan don’t include them in the price of the car – at around £100pm. That gives you a bill of around £450 per month. Far from cheap.
Frankly, unless we start to produce pollution-free electric – which would mean either Nuclear or Hydrogen – then you’re just moving pollution from one place to another. And getting a more expensive car – with a much inferior range – to any of the high-efficiency diesels currently on the market.
But it’s a start.
More details can be found in the Nissan LEAF EV Press Release