Nissan turns over a green Leaf


JAPANESE car giant Nissan yesterday unveiled in Japan its first production-ready electric car, called the “Leaf’”, and it’s set to head our way.

Simply plug the car into a regular power point, or a special high-voltage ‘‘rapid charge’’ station, and off you go, for up to 160 kilometres and at speeds of up to 140 km/h. It runs on electricity stored in batteries and, unlike hybrids, does not use any petrol or diesel fuel.

An electric motor drives the front wheels, drawing electricity from 48 batteries sandwiched in the car’s floor.

Under Nissan’s bonnet badge is a flap hiding two electrical sockets: one trickle charges the batteries from an ordinary power point; the other, larger socket is for rapid-charging at high-voltage outlets Nissan envisages for shopping centres, fast food outlets and at dealerships.

It takes eight hours to recharge the car from a normal power point, 30 minutes by rapid charge, or five minutes rapid charging to the 80 per cent mark – said to be good for about 100 kilometres.

The car goes on sale in Japan and the US next year, and is slated for release in Australia in 2012.

Nissan chose the name Leaf to signify cleaner air. ‘”Just as leaves purify the air in nature, so Nissan Leaf purifies mobility,” Nissan said.

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