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(first look) nissan leaf


words edward loh

FORD, HONDA, AND TOYOTA have tied their fortunes to gas-electric hybrids. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and VW have been pushing clean diesels for years. Next year, General Motors is going all out on plug-in hybrids. Where is Nissan, Japan's number-three automaker, on the clean, green, alternative-fuel front?

Quietly preparing the Leaf—what could be the most significant vehicle of the century. With plans for a limited, worldwide launch in 2010, Nissan claims the Leaf will be the first affordable, mass-market electric vehicle. For roughly $25,000, Nissan says the Leaf will provide 100 miles of all-electric, zero-emissions driving, which, it claims, covers the needs of 90 percent of the world's drivers. This is a bold assertion, but one Nissan hopes will help secure its status as the world leader in zero-emissions motoring.

How does it work? The Leaf uses a battery and electric-motor powertrain on a modified front-drive, C-segment, hatchback platform. Advances lie primarily in battery packaging and technology as the Leaf runs on a large battery pack composed of 192 lithium-ion cells. These are not typical cylindrical batteries, but flat, laminated cells developed in conjunction with Japanese consumer electronics maker NEC. According to

Electric Car Craze

Electric Car Craze

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