2010 Nissan LEAF EV on a Freeway Near You

By John Addison (8/3/09). Nissan (NSANY) will be the first to have thousands of affordable freeway-speed electric vehicles on the highways. The new 2010 Nissan LEAF is a comfortable compact hatchback that seats five.

Although Tesla will be the first to have a thousand freeway-speed EV on the roads, the $100,000 price tag is out of reach for most of us. According to Nissan, the LEAF will be “competitively priced in the range of a well-equipped C-segment vehicle.” In late 2010, Nissan will finalize pricing and its sale and/or lease strategy. We expect the LEAF to start around $30,000. Buyers are likely to qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit.

The Nissan LEAF will build on Nissan’s hybrid-electric success with the Altima Hybrid, which is in currently in the #6 position for U.S. cars with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions. The Nissan Altima Hybrid starts at $26,500.

Clean Fleet Report’s test drives of the Nissan EV demonstrated plenty of acceleration. The Nissan LEAF is powered by 24kWh of laminated compact lithium-ion batteries, which generate 90 kW of power, while its electric motor delivers 80kW/280Nm.

The LEAF has a range of about 100 miles. In 8 hours you are good for another 100 miles with a Level 2 AC200V home-use charger; in 26 minutes you can be 80 percent charged with a Level 3 DC 50kW quick charger. The 440v Level 3 chargers are likely to be scare, expensive, and certainly not for home use.

Nissan did not announce that LEAF batteries can be quickly swapped, but Nissan continues to partner with Better Place.

Many drivers will only spend $20 to $40 per month for electricity – a fraction of what they now spend for gas at the pump. Early adopters of electric vehicles, especially fleets, often use their solar power to charge vehicles.

In 2010, the Nissan will first be available in CA, OR, WA, AZ, TN, and NC.

Nissan is working with a number of global partners to accelerate development of a charging infrastructure, early fleet use, and education. For example, when I recently spoke at a San Diego cleantech event (presentation videos) San Diego Gas and Electric (SRE) announced early roll-out of 1,000 Nissan LEAF and an extensive charging infrastructure. Clean Fleet Report predicts that Nissan will be the first to have 10,000 freeway-speed electric vehicles on the road.

Toyota, Chevrolet, Chrysler and others will compete with Nissan by offering plug-in hybrids which will go up to 40 miles in battery electric mode and then engage gasoline engines to provide hundreds of miles of added range until the next gasoline fill-up or electric charge.

Nissan, however, is focused on zero-emission leadership. Longer term, Nissan expects to see many urban centers, such as London, where only ZEV will be exempt from expensive daily congestion fees. The 100-mile range meets the needs of 90 percent of U.S. daily driving and meets the needs of households with two or more cars.

Nissan will also face battery-electric competition next year from Ford (F), Chrysler, Mercedes (DAI) Smart, and dozens of emerging innovators. Electric vehicles are not new to the United States. 40,000 now drive light electric-vehicles on corporate and college campuses, typically with 25 mph speeds and 25 mile ranges.

Nissan LEAF employs an exclusive advanced IT system. Connected to a global data center, the system can provide support, information, and entertainment for drivers 24 hours a day. The dash-mounted monitor displays Nissan LEAF’s remaining power – or “reachable area” – in addition to showing a selection of nearby charging stations. Another state-of-the-art feature is the ability to use mobile phones to 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.

The LEAF has a distinctive aerodynamic design. The “blue earth” color theme of the Aqua Globe body color of Nissan LEAF’s introductory model compliments the blue dashboard and instrumentation.

The first of Nissan’s EV’s will be manufactured at Oppama, Japan, with additional capacity planned for Smyrna, Tennessee, USA. Meanwhile, lithium-ion batteries are being produced in Zama, Japan, by the Nissan-NEC JV with additional capacity planned for the USA, the UK and Portugal, and other locations.

Nissan’s leadership will accelerate the manufacturing of fully-functional electric vehicles in volume. Manufacturing volume will drive down cost, making zero-emission vehicles cost competitive with gasoline counterparts. Electric vehicles will likely be less expensive for people to drive with low-cost nighttime charging. It will be easy for people to save on emissions when they are saving money at the same time.

John Addison publishes the Clean Fleet Report. He is the author of Save Gas, Save the Planet.

6 replies
  1. Evlover
    Evlover says:

    This news is almost too good to be true- an affordable, all-electric car, with lots of bells, whistles, and promises of performance. American car maker shoulds take note, becuase this is something they should have been developing last decade. I just finished the book "Two Cents Per Mile" by Nevres Cefo, and the history of u.s. electric cars are amazing. GM built an all-electric sports car called the EV-1, and toyota built a version of the RAV4 that was electric (RAV4-EV). Then, GM stopped leasing the EV-1s, and crushed them in the desert. Then, they sold the patent to the car's batteries to Chevron Oil, who sued Toyota to stop producing the RAV4. The story goes on- oil companies have systematically suppressed electric cars in this country, and now as national industries, and as individual consumers, we are going to suffer from it. I recommend anyone interested in the economy, jobs, the environment, or automobiles learn more about electric cars and read this book.

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Great idea but nissan leaf needs just a bit more range. 100 miles simply can't cut it for me. I don't wanna be charging my battery every night. If the range was at least 150 miles then i could relax more and charge the car every few nights.Until they make an EV with at least 150 miles range i'm not buying it, simple as that.

  3. 상율
    상율 says:

    1. The range of terrific EVs are sufficient to meet the daily driving needs of 80% of drivers.2. What's more, as for long distance needs, all but Americans have existing automobiles, in this regard, U.S. is one of the best places for EVs until the infrastructure comes into wide use. 3. The fully-electric Nissan LEAF will be priced from $25,000 to $33,000.Importantly, this price comes before any government tax credits.4. Manufacturing volume, innovative battery technology will drive down cost. 5. LITTLE MAINTENANCE FEE.6. MILES PER GALLON : MORE THAN 10 VS 1 compared with combustion engine cars.Even excellent hybrid cars can not be comparable to EVs in light of fuel economy.

  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Well said about all the benefits and 80% of all american commute needs, but if you look at tesla range of 300 miles, or even a new german trabant that is being made with a range of 150 miles that alone tells a message to nissan.Furthermore, there are speculations that the battery might be leased which adds on the cost, so if you're buying the leaf to drive around cheap and clean, the battery lease screws everything up. The bottom line, when something sounds too good to be true the answer is always same…Had a discussion about the nissan leaf with my friends a few nights ago (6 of us buddies) and we all came to conclusion that the range is on a short side and the battery lease is a total turnoff to buy this car. Nissan should offer more range as an option, so whoever wants to pay higher price for the extra few batteries at least they can do it if they need that extra range.

  5. EVBooster
    EVBooster says:

    I think the Leaf is a great idea, but I agree with the other posters that it needs about 50 miles more range (150 miles). A lot of people are going to be happy with the 100 mile range, but I'm not going to be an early adopter. I hope they adopt the concept.If they decide to lease the batteries, you should get the first five years free, and then, when you're re-upping, it shouldn't cost much more than $500 a year, even with the 150 mile upgrade.I read an article about 9 months ago that said the batteries for the first generation of hybrids dropped in price by about $500 over the years. Let's hope that R&D does the same thing for these awesome new cars.If you were to drive 1000 miles a month, or 30 miles a day, it wouldn't cost that much in electricity. They say the full 100 mile charge would only cost $.90, so a nightly 30 mile charge would probably only cost $.30, or about $10 a month. With the cost of batteries, at an average (according to my suggestion) of $40 a month, you could get around every single day, no breaks, for $50 a month, or half what it costs to drive in a 25mpg car when gas is cheap. Slap a few solar panels on your house, add some insulation, plug air leaks with "Great Stuff", add a programmable thermostat, insulate your water heater–you'd be *making* money. And, if I remember the Leaf online brochure correctly, you'd never pay the $120-$200 a year for oil changes, and nothing for transmission flushes, either. Check on the transmission flushes.

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