Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

August 3, 2009


Tree Hugger - Nissan drew back the curtain on its ambitious all-electric Leaf. . . a compact five-door hatchback with room for four or (with a squeeze) five adults. Below its floor sits a laminated lithium-ion battery pack composed of many rectangular modules, each roughly the size of a notebook, which add up to a 24kWh capacity and an output over 90kW. Under the Leaf's hood lives the engine, a small but powerful synchronous AC 80kW motor.

Nissan is confident that the LEAF will travel 100 miles on a charge. Charging time will vary from 16 hours (on a standard household plug) to 30 minutes (on a fancy 3-phase charging station).

The car goes on sale to select global markets and commercial fleets in late 2010. When it does, Nissan hopes to sell the car itself, but to lease the battery pack. While pricing is yet to be announced, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn told the crowd that the car without its battery will be "very competitive" with comparable internal combustion models. The monthly cost to lease the battery and fill it with electrons, he added, will be less than an average month of fill-ups at the gas station.


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