Nissan’s electrifying news: The ‘Leaf’ lives!

Nissan announced today in Japan the launch of the first all-electric production model vehicle to be produced and distributed in the U.S.

The Nissan “Leaf” will begin sales in the U.S., Japan and Europe by the end of 2010, followed closely by two more zero-emission models.

Here’s the report from Reuters:

YOKOHAMA, Japan – Nissan Motor Co took the wraps off its much-awaited electric car on Sunday, naming the hatchback “Leaf” and taking a step toward its goal of leading the industry in the zero-emissions field.

Japan’s No.3 automaker and its French partner, Renault SA, have been the most aggressive proponents of pure electric vehicles in the auto industry, announcing plans to mass-market the clean but expensive cars globally in 2012.

Nissan will begin selling the first Leaf cars in the United States, Japan and Europe toward the end of 2010, adding two more models soon after. It expects production to start with around 200,000 units a year at the global roll-out in 2012.

Read the rest here.

The hatchback will have a cruising range of just 100 miles and a top speed of just under 80 mph. But because there are no gears to engage, Nissan says the Leaf will be quick off the block. If it’s anything like GM’s all-electric vehicle the EV1 (that was scrapped for political purposes in the late ’90s) we can assure you that it will be fast.

Nissan hasn’t released pricing on the Leaf, but promises that it will be comparable to the price of a similar gasoline-engine car.

The autumn launch of the Leaf  is significant  because that’s also the target date for the Chevrolet Volt, another all-electric vehicle that is getting positive reviews from those lucky enough to drive a test version.

Let’s hear it for this electrifying news!

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