Electric Vehicles

Turning Over a New Leaf

June 2010, Green Fleet Magazine - Feature

by Lauren Fletcher - Also by this author

Designed specifically for a lithium-ion battery-powered chassis, the all-new Nissan LEAF is a medium-size hatchback that comfortably seats five adults with a driving range of 100 miles.

Key characteristics of the LEAF include its zero-emission powertrain and platform, distinctive design, and advanced intelligent transportation (IT) system.

Nissan opened a dialogue on the local level by conducting two city-by-city tours of LEAF and a LEAF drivable prototype vehicle.

"In total, about 25 cities and municipalities participated in events and sample driving opportunities, in addition to media representations, educational institutions, and private businesses," said Tim Gallagher, senior manager with Nissan Corporate Communications.

Offers Eco-Friendly & Intelligent Communications

The first in Nissan's forthcoming line of electric vehicles (EVs), the LEAF is powered by laminated compact lithium-ion batteries, which generate power output of more than 90kW, while its electric motor delivers 80kW. Unlike internal-combustion engine-equipped vehicles, Nissan LEAF's power train has no tail pipe, resulting in zero CO2 emissions or other greenhouse gases. 

The vehicle can be charged up to 80 percent of its full capacity in just under 30 minutes with a quick charger. Charging through a 220v is estimated to take eight hours.

Nissan LEAF employs an exclusive advanced IT system. Connected to a global data center, the system can provide driver support, information, and entertainment 24 hours a day.  The dash-mounted monitor displays Nissan LEAF's remaining power - or "reachable area" - in addition to listing a selection of nearby charging stations.

With another state-of-the-art feature, mobile phones can be used to remotely turn on air-conditioning and set charging functions - even when Nissan LEAF is powered down. An on-board remote-controlled timer can also be pre-programmed to recharge batteries.

A Public Sector Contender

"The LEAF's performance, quality, and flexibility" make it a strong contender for public sector fleets, said Gallagher. The LEAF will be the world's first mass-market electric vehicle to offer car-like features, according to Nissan.

"It won't require traditional fueling and will have more manageable maintenance needs, both factors that will cut down on lifecycle costs," said Gallagher. "With up to a 100-mile full-charge range, it can be used for a variety of public sector needs, such as meter reading and inspection, general administration, motor pool, and others uses. As an added benefit, public entities can visibly show a commitment to future mobility and environmental sensitivity while still responsibly achieving their internal fleet needs."

The manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) for the LEAF is $32,780. The vehicle will also be fully eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit, according to Nissan.  

"As we move toward market launch in December, we are planning other, more extensive outreach efforts on local levels," said Gallagher. "In addition to meetings with local entities, we'll also conduct another tour that will include multiple LEAF units, range and performance demonstrations, and information on additional specs, features, and launch support."

Beginning in August, Nissan will take firm orders for deliveries when sales begin in a particular market. The vehicle's rollout begins in select markets in December, with vehicles available in all major launch markets quickly thereafter. 

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