On Sunday in Japan, Nissan unveiled what just might be the kick in the pants electric vehicles need to go mainstream.
The company also revealed its potential to yank the carpet out from under GM’s electric Volt debut.
The Nissan Leaf, if it lives up to its promise, will appear in the United States in 2010 as a 2011 model and feature these specs, which are surely making Volt execs cower under their desks: a 90-mph top speed, a range of 100 miles per charge, and 107 horsepower coming from an 80-kilowatt electric motor.
Pricing should come in on either side of the $30K mark, but keep in mind that government subsidies could bring the out-of-pocket cost down to the low-to-mid 20s.
I have to admit I questioned Nissan’s ambitious EV goals earlier this summer. I wasn’t sure if the company could come from so far behind in the gas/electric hybrid game to overtake competitors in the strictly electric game. (While the Nissan Altima Hybrid is a fine car, it uses technology mostly sourced from Toyota.)
My tune is changing now, though, and I’m frankly shocked that it looks like Nissan might be able to turn the auto world upside down if it actually delivers a no-emission EV that’s practical as a daily driver, affordable, and looks like a traditional car. I’m sensing a home run here!
Nissan is brilliant to announce the Leaf’s planned release about a year ahead of time after quietly developing the technology, compared with GM’s endless hype about its Volt. GM’s is a failed strategy that has exposed every setback the Volt has suffered along the way, leaving me and the rest of the world already excited about its competitors.
Is Nissan poised to shock the auto world, or will the Leaf be another hype machine that fizzles out?