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 |  Aug 10 2009, 11:54 AM

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The fully-electric Nissan LEAF, which is set to go on sale in the U.S. next year, will be priced from $25,000 to $33,000. Word comes from Nissan North America product VP Larry Dominique.

“Competitive pricing is going to allow mass-market appeal, which is going to set Nissan apart,” said Dominique, commenting that the LEAF will be less expensive to own and operate than a gasoline car, even if gas cost just $1.10 a gallon.

Importantly, this price comes before any government tax incentives, which are certain to reduce the total cost by several thousand dollars.

Comparatively, the 2010 Toyota Prius starts at just $22,000.

The LEAF is powered by an electric motor and lithium-ion battery packs. Nissan says it will be able to drive 100 miles on a single charge. The batteries will be able to be charged up to 80 percent in less than 30 minutes with a special quick charger, or in roughly eight hours through a standard 200V outlet. Nissan says that through extensive research the 100 mile range will be suitable for 70 percent of car buyers.

Output from the lithium-ion battery packs is rated at 80kW/280Nm, (107-hp and 207 ft-lbs of torque), which should make this sub-compact a sporty little car.

Sales of the LEAF will begin next year with 5,000 vehicles available in five U.S. markets: the Phoenix-Tucson region of Arizona, Oregon, San Diego, Seattle and Tennessee. Fleet sales will also be offered in 2010, while full retails sales are planned for 2012.

[Source: Automotive News]

Report: Nissan Bringing LEAF EV to Five U.S. Markets First

Automaker reveals infrastructure plans for electric car recharging stations

 |  Aug 06 2009, 9:27 AM

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Before sales of Nissan’s new electric car go full-tilt in the U.S., the Japanese automaker will start with 5,000 units in five different markets. The targeted areas include the Phoenix-Tucson region of Arizona, Oregon, San Diego, Seattle and Tennessee.

Nissan’s product planning boss Mark Perry says that this is just the first step in a larger plan.“This is not a test to determine whether or not it’s going to work. This is the beginning of mass marketing,” he said.

Full retail sales are planned for 2012, but Perry says they will begin sooner if a market has the infrastructure ready to support the vehicles. Nissan also plans to offer the LEAF for fleet sales in 2010.

An infrastructure network of 12,500 recharging stations will be built throughout the five markets by Phoenix-based Electric Transportation Engineering Corp., which has received a $99.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. An additional $199.6 million necessary to built the infrastructure will come from the individual cities and states.

Owners of the first 5,000 cars will be able to purchase the at Nissan dealers but will have to sign on to allow Nissan to monitor the car’s performance over the first two years. Nissan says it wants to see how electric vehicle recharging habits play out in the real world. Owners will also be “chosen” by Nissan as the automaker wants to make sure the information it obtains is relevant. “We don’t want these first cars going to somebody who commutes 150 miles a day or who lives a great distance from a recharging station,” he said.

As for the price, Nissan hasn’t release specifics but did say that it would be comparable to a fully-loaded compact car.

[Source: Automotive News]

Breaking: Nissan Launches ‘LEAF’ Electric Car

Zero emissions vehicle to go on sale in U.S., Japan and Europe next year.

 |  Aug 01 2009, 9:04 PM

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Nissan has just unveiled a new zero emissions vehicle that is slated to go on sale in Japan, Europe and the United States next year. Called the LEAF, this C-segment (sub-compact) car is powered by an electric motor and lithium-ion battery packs. Nissan says it will be able to drive 100 miles on a single charge. The batteries will be able to be charged up to 80 percent in less than 30 minutes with a special quick charger, or in roughly eight hours through a standard 200V outlet. Nissan says that through extensive research the 100 mile range will be suitable for 70 percent of car buyers.

Output from the lithium-ion battery packs is rated at 80kW/280Nm, (107-hp and 207 ft-lbs of torque), which should make this sub-compact a sporty little car.

Pricing has yet to be released but Nissan aims to give the LEAF an MSRP competitive with well-equipped C-segment cars. That should put it near the $20,000 mark. The car will also qualify for government rebates and tax incentives desigend to help promote the sale of fuel-efficient cars.

“Our car had to be the world’s first, medium-sized, practical EV that motorists could afford and would want to use every day. And that’s what we’ve created. The styling will identify not only Nissan LEAF but also the owner as a participant in the new era of zero-emission mobility,” said the LEAF product boss Masato Inoue.

The first LEAFs will be built at Nissan’s plant in Oppama, Japan with plans to also start production soon at the company’s Smyrna, Tennessee plant. The LEAF is the first of three electric vehicles that Nissan plans to launch in the next few years.

 ”The Nissan LEAF is a tremendous accomplishment – one in with all Nissan employees can take great pride,” said Nissan President Carlos Ghosn. “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.

GALLERY: 2010 Nissan LEAF

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Official release after the jump:

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