Nissan starts production of zero-emission Leaf electric car

Nissan said Friday it had started producing its Leaf electric car in Japan as it prepares to put it on sale at home and in the United States in December.

Nissan, which is part-owned by Renault of France, has billed the Leaf - short for Leading Environmentally-friendly Affordable Family car - as the world's first mass-produced electric vehicle (EV).

"This is a significant milestone, not only for Nissan and the Renault-Nissan alliance, but also for the entire automotive industry," said Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn at a ceremony in Japan.

"Consumers are clear. They want sustainable and affordable mobility... and the alliance is leading the way with cars that deliver exactly that, with the reliability, excitement and performance that consumers demand."

He pledged the Leaf "will radically transform what consumers expect from automobile manufacturers worldwide".

Nissan has gambled that its EVs will take off globally and overcome consumer concerns such as "range-anxiety", or the fear that their cars will run out of juice between electric charging points.

To promote its EVs and set up charging stations, Nissan says it has signed 80 partnerships worldwide with governments, municipalities and companies.

The five-seater hatchback, with a top speed above 140 kilometres (90 miles) per hour, has a range of 160 kilometres and can be recharged in eight hours, or rapid-charged to 80 percent of capacity in 30 minutes.

Its lithium-ion batteries are manufactured in a joint-venture between Nissan and Japanese electronics giant NEC Corporation.

Having kicked off Leaf production at its plant in Yokosuka southwest of Tokyo, Nissan plans to also start rolling out the EVs from a US plant in Tennessee in late 2012 and a factory in Sunderland, England, from early 2013.

The Leaf is due to go on sale in December in Japan and the United States, and from early 2011 in several European markets.

Ghosn said in May that the first year of production had already sold out. Nissan has reported receiving 20,000 orders for the Leaf in the US alone.

Nissan, which is about 45 percent owned by Renault, predicts electric cars will account for 10 percent of global sales by 2020.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

    £18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

    Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

    £40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

    £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

    £20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

    Day In a Page

    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory