Nissan branches into EV market with Leaf

Posted on 4 Aug 2009 by The Manufacturer

Nissan has unveiled its first electric vehicle model – the Leaf – which its Sunderland plant is vying to make

The zero emission five passenger car will be able to run for 100 miles and will be capable of speeds up to 90mph. Unveiled in Yokohama, Japan, on Sunday, Nissan says it will be the first mass-market electric car produced in the world.

The five door hatchback is estimated to go on the market from £10k to £15k but the 24 kilowatt-hour battery will have to be either bought separately at a cost of several thousand pounds or rented on a monthly basis.

The Leaf will take eight hours to fully charge from a 240 volt mains connection but can reach 80 per cent of its capacity in just 20 minutes.

Nissan is going to build a new factory at its site in Sunderland to make the batteries and the North East is hoping it will also be selected to produce Europe’s share of the car. The battery plant alone is going to cost £200m and will provide 350 new jobs.

If Sunderland gets the Leaf gig, the UK automotive sector will take another step towards the low carbon leadership role that government is desperate for Britain to take. Last month Toyota announced its Burnaston plant in Derby will be the production home of its new hybrid model, based on its Auris. That will be the first hybrid mass produced in Europe.

The Leaf is due to go on sale in Japan and the US in the back end of 2010 and in Europe thereafter.