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Aug 012009

Automaker promises family car that seats five will be ‘affordable’

From Green Right Now Reports

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. today unveiled the boldest product it has ever launched — the Nissan LEAF. The company is billing it as “the world’s first affordable, zero-emission car.”

Powered entirely by a lithium-ion battery — there is not even a tailpipe –  the Nissan LEAF will be a medium-size hatchback that will seat five adults and has a range of more than 100 miles. It will go on sale in late 2010 in Japan, the United States and Europe.

“Nissan LEAF is a tremendous accomplishment – one in which all Nissan employees can take great pride,” Niss an President and CEO Carlos Ghosn said in a statement at the company’s new global headquarters in Yokohama, Japan. “We have been working tirelessly to make this day a reality – the unveiling of a real-world car that has zero – not simply reduced – emissions. It’s the first step in what is sure to be an exciting journey – for people all over the world, for Nissan and for the industry.”

The carmaker did not reveal pricing, but promised the LEAF will be “affordable.” Pricing will be announced closer to start of sales in late 2010. Nissan expects the LEAF to qualify for an array of significant local, regional and national tax breaks and incentives in markets around the world. The company also said the LEAF has less mechanical complexity than a traditional gasoline-powered car, which will help it hit its price target.

Nissan executives said the “LEAF” is taken from the way leaves purify the air in nature — “so Nissan LEAF purifies mobility by taking emissions out of the driving experience.”

Whatever the name, Nissan hopes the zero-emission car will be at the center of its future. LEAF represents a radical, transformative vision for the car company’s future and repreents the culmination of decades of investment and research.

Nissan said the LEAF will employ a completely new chassis and body layout. And it will be powered by laminated compact lithium-ion batteries. Unlike internal-combustion engines, the LEAF has no tail pipe, and produces no emission of CO2 or other greenhouse gases.

The car can be charged up to 80 percent of its full capacity in just under 30 minutes with a quick charger, Nissan said. Charging at home through a 200V outlet is estimated to take about eight hours.

Its frontal styling is characterized by a sharp, upright V-shaped design featuring long, up-slanting light-emitting diode (LED) headlights that are designed to split and redirect airflow away from the door mirrors, thus reducing wind noise and drag. Nissan said the headlights will consume just 10 percent of the electricity of conventional lamps.

The LEAF also promises an abundance of advanced technology features. It will be connected to a global data center that 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. And the car has 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 be pre-programmed to recharge batteries.

“The IT system is a critical advantage,” Tooru ABE, Chief Product Specialist, said in a statement. “We wanted this vehicle to be a partner for the driver and an enhancement for the passengers. We also wanted this vehicle to help create a zero-emission community, and these IT features will help make that possible.”

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From Nissan