Nissan rolls out electric car at new headquarters

Aug 02, 2009 By YURI KAGEYAMA , AP Business Writer
Nissan Motor Co. CEO Carlos Ghosn poses with the automaker's new electronic vehicle 'Leaf' during an opening ceremony of the company's new headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, Sunday, Aug. 2, 2009.(AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

(AP) -- Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn drove quietly out of the Japanese automaker's soon-to-open headquarters Sunday in the first public viewing of its new zero-emission vehicle.

It was the first time the external design was shown of Nissan Motor Co.'s environmentally friendly electric automobile, set to go on sale in Japan, the U.S. and Europe next year. The blue hatchback had a sporty design and a recharging opening in the front.

Designer Shiro Nakamura said the vehicle was designed to avoid a stereotypical futuristic design.

"This is not a niche car," he said. "We didn't make it unusual looking. It had to be a real car."

Nissan has promised that the Leaf, which goes into mass-production as a global model in 2012, will be about the same price as a gas-engine car such as the 1.5 million yen ($15,000) Tiida, which sells abroad as the Versa, starting at about $10,000.

Ghosn drove out on stage with former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi sitting next to him, and with a Yokohama governor and mayor in the rear seats.

"This car represents a real breakthrough," Ghosn told reporters and guests at a showroom in the new headquarters.

He said the new car and new office building in Yokohama, southwest of Tokyo, marked two fresh starts for Nissan, which hopes to take the lead in zero-emission vehicles.

Nissan, which has an alliance with Renault SA of France, has fallen behind Japanese rivals Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. in gas-electric hybrids that have become increasingly popular recently.

Nissan said the new 22-story headquarters was designed to be sufficiantly energy efficient to qualify as one of the most ecological buildings in Japan. The company, which is losing money amid the global downturn, is selling its old Tokyo headquarters as part of efforts to cut costs.

Koizumi said environmentally friendly auto technology is key to Japan's economic growth.

"It was so unexpectedly smooth and quiet," he said after getting out of the car. "I am sure this car is going to be popular."

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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User comments : 19

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getgoa
3.3 / 5 (3) Aug 02, 2009
its about time?
Yelmurc
3 / 5 (2) Aug 02, 2009
Why are most electric vehicles the ugliest cars that these companies make.
John_balls
5 / 5 (3) Aug 02, 2009
I'll buy one.
VOR
3.3 / 5 (3) Aug 02, 2009
I think car designers have lost it in general over the last ten years. 'fundamental' asthetic principles thrown out the window. 'Angular'/faceted crap; flattened, two-demensional surfaces. Buncha punks they are.
Newbeak
5 / 5 (1) Aug 02, 2009
What I want to know is how far it goes on a charge,the type of batteries,charge time,etc.
dirk_bruere
1 / 5 (2) Aug 02, 2009
Range? Range? Range? Range? Range? Range? Range? Range? Range? Range? Range? Range? ....
Paradox
5 / 5 (4) Aug 02, 2009
OH, suddenly they can all produce an electric vehicle? They've been dragging their heels for years.

here are the stats as reported by wikipedia:
The Leaf uses a front-mounted motor with front-wheel drive, powered by a 24 kWh (90 kilowatt peak) lithium ion battery. The expected cruising range is 100 miles.[2]

The Leaf has a top speed of about 90mph, and its battery can be charged to 80% capacity in about 30 minutes with a special quick charger.[3]
Ant
1 / 5 (3) Aug 02, 2009
VOR I completely agree what are they using as design tools? A pick and shovel. whose seen the beetle shaped people carrier with the dormer window attached to the back, Just stuck on as an after thought. I drive a Rover streetwise specifically because of its good design.
KCD
3 / 5 (2) Aug 03, 2009
Ewwww....

such an ugly design!
electric powered cars are good but um...the should've come up a better design to level its performance.
nilbud
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 03, 2009
What's the point in putting a tiny nebbish in a joke suit from a 1980s sitcom beside the car? Come back scantily clad chicks with big hooters, all is forgiven.
DGBEACH
1.5 / 5 (2) Aug 03, 2009
Further reading shows that aside from the "quick charger" it can be recharged from a 200V plug with about 8 hrs...but the North American standard is 120V...so will that mean it'll take 16-hrs to recharge it from a regular plug? I hope not!
ea1th
4.3 / 5 (3) Aug 03, 2009
It's not the VOLTS it's the WATTS that will limit you,
i.e. 120V X max AMPS = max power in WATTS. So what's the maximum current of your domestic installation in AMPS ?(assuming everything else is switched off! Oh dear!)
VOR
5 / 5 (3) Aug 03, 2009
FYI North American standard power is actually 240v.

Its just split in two and most circuits use 120v. But of course dryers and ranges typically use 240v. And I THINK you can get 240v out of 2 standard 120v plugs IF there is one from each bus-which there almost always is you just have to find them (2 extension cords running from different places). I'm being creative and silly here but I think it could be made to work so you wouldnt have to run a new 240v line. But running a new 240v line is usually no big deal and is best so there's really no point in whining about it. And there is plenty of amperage(wattage) there. So whatever charging requirements will be readily available. This is pure elec, but Id like to see a plug-in hybrid with the smallest possible gas engine, just able to keep up with the average, not maximum, charge demand. (to keep weight down)
Lord_jag
4.7 / 5 (3) Aug 04, 2009
Places where you draw a lot of current (like the kitchen) are supposed to have both sides of the 240V available. Each outlet is supposed to have it's own circuit. The top is on phase and the bottom on -phase. If your kitchen is wired correctly, the hot of the top outlet to the hot of the bottom outlet shoudl give you 240VAC with a limit of 15A.

Most other circuits in the house are not built this way though. You'll likely need a new 240 drop to the garage. No big deal at all. Just ask anyone who ever installed a hottub. Same power, different place.
DGBEACH
5 / 5 (1) Aug 04, 2009
Unfortunately the standard for exterior plugs (for block heaters) here in Quebec, is 120v, at least outside of most office buildings which have them (which is where the vehicles will be recharging during the day)...thus why I mentioned the 120V previously.
This will most likely be changed over the next 5 yrs or so...not too hard to do, seeing as they could use the same wiring.
I wonder if they have found a solution to the reduced capacity at low temps (-40C) of their LiIon batteries...or will we nordics be left out of the PEV supply?
david_42
5 / 5 (1) Aug 09, 2009
If you are commuting 100 miles each direction every day, this isn't the car for you. So, the lack of 220 volts in your apartment's carport or at work is no big deal. If you are like most people, you would be able to get by plugging this into a 120 volt 20 amp circuit overnight twice a week.



And you should really consider moving in closer if you are commuting 200 miles a day. Just saying.
DGBEACH
not rated yet Aug 09, 2009
If you are commuting 100 miles each direction every day, this isn't the car for you. So, the lack of 220 volts in your apartment's carport or at work is no big deal. If you are like most people, you would be able to get by plugging this into a 120 volt 20 amp circuit overnight twice a week.


I'd be really interested to see what affect running the heater will have on the range. My round trip is 120 kms/day (not miles)...but if it WERE 100 miles there and then another 100 back, this would be the IDEAL car, given the fact that it wouldn't cost a dime in gasoline! I would hope that there would be a little left over however to be able to pick up some milk as well on my way home :)















And you should really consider moving in closer if you are commuting 200 miles a day. Just saying.

lengould100
not rated yet Oct 01, 2009
My understanding is that the LION battery packs need cooling when operating normally (eg. T-Zero runs liquid coolant tubes through their LION battery packs). Chances are the heat available from that should be sufficient for heating a well-insulated cabin in most locations. Use the plug-in power to pre-heat the cabin and defrost the windows before starting though.
lengould100
not rated yet Oct 01, 2009
And you don't need 23 degC cab either. This morning it is zero degC here and I am very comfortable driving to work and walking in from the parking lot with just a long-sleeve cotton shirt. All in the mind.