$48,000 for a Leaf
Nissan leads the charge for electric vehicles, writes Mark Hinchliffe
THE Nissan Leaf has become the first electric vehicle to win the European Car of the Year award.
The first mass-marketed zeroemission vehicle for the global market beat 40 other contenders to win the 47th annual award.
Jury president Hkan Matson says the Nissan Leaf is the first EV that can ‘‘ match conventional cars in many respects’’.
Nissan Australia CEO Dan Thompson says the Leaf will arrive here in 2012 in one trim level. It is expected to cost about $48,000.
The Leaf is powered by an 80kW/ 280Nm electric motor driving the front wheels, with a stack of flat laminated lithium-ion batteries under its floor.
The car weighs 1.6 tonnes but its low and central mass of heavy batter- ies gives it a very balanced feel. On test in Japan in June the car felt very similar to most hatchbacks except for its quietness. It also looks like any normal hatchback, rather than some weird futuristic golf buggy.
Its battery can be charged in about eight hours on 240V or quick-charged to 80 per cent capacity in 30 minutes and has a range of about 160km.
The Leaf will be followed by three more electric vehicles and four EVs from their alliance partner, Renault.
Nissan chief operating officer Toshiyuki Shiga says the EVs will include a small electric van, a luxury car and the Land Glider single-seater city car.
Thompson says they are very interested in the small electric van.
‘‘An electric light commercial vehicle would have market demand but we’re focused right now on the Leaf,’’ he says.
‘‘Once there is market acceptance of EV, we will move to the LCV but that is several years down the track.
‘‘It will be a small delivery van — not a ute.
‘‘We don’t currently have a small van, so we will launch a conventional-powered van first and in the future we will have an EV.’’
Award winner: the Japanese-made, electric-powered Nissan Leaf beat 40 other contenders to win the European Car of the Year award.