Currently reading: Tokyo video: Nissan Leaf
Full details of UK-bound electric car
2 mins read
21 October 2009

This is the Nissan Leaf, the car maker's brand new global, mass-market electric vehicle.

The Leaf will go on sale in the US and Japan next year, and in Europe by 2012. It has an electric motor with 108bhp and 208lb ft of torque, a 100-mile operating range, and will be priced to compete with well-equipped C-segment saloons, at around £20,000.

See the Nissan Leaf picture gallery

The Leaf is based on an entirely new platform designed to accommodate newly developed batteries as and when they come on stream. Positioned underneath its cabin floor is a battery pack containing 48 individual lithium ion battery modules. The pack weighs 270kg and can hold 24kWh of energy – enough to give the car a 100-mile range and also to send it to 62mph in just under 10 sec. Maximum speed is 90mph.

Nissan has been doing research into lithium ion battery technology since 1992, and says its competitive advantage lies in its ability to use manganese to make the positive electrodes of its cells, rather than cobalt or nickel. As a result, they can be made much more cheaply than rival batteries.

However, the battery pack for the Nissan Leaf will be leased by the end user; it will not be sold along with the car.

Charging Nissan’s Leaf takes eight hours from a UK 240v supply, and 16 hours from a 110v socket. From a 400v three-phase charging station, an 80 per cent charge can be carried out in just 15 minutes.

However, the car will not be compatible with the Quickdrop battery swap centres that alliance partner Renault has mooted for its new breed of EVs.

“We don’t think Quickdrop centres are the right business model for Europe,” one Nissan executive told Autocar.

The Nissan Leaf has a cantilevered flap in its bonnet grille behind which is the socket for its charging plug. Otherwise it’s a distinctive but fairly ordinary-looking hatchback with a roomy, leather-clad cabin.

Nissan design chief Shiro Nakamura said at the car's unveiling at September's Frankfurt motor show: "We wanted this car to be distinctive and recognisable as a Nissan, but not too ‘out there’. It should look like a normal, familiar prospect, even if it won’t drive like one."

As a conventional family five door, the Leaf will also be welcomed by British buyers who regretted Nissan’s decision to abandon the European C-segment when it killed the last Almera. And as a completely emissions-free and affordable family car – a rival to Honda’s new Insight, Toyota’s Prius and GM’s forthcoming Ampera and Volt - it promises to be even cheaper to run and wins even greater environmental kudos.


Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

Back to top

Join the debate


2 August 2009

Wow - and to think that many people say the Prius looks odd, this is ugly. Not convinced about the running costs. I, like most people, had hoped that the option of buying an electric car would prove to be a way of genuinely cutting motoring costs and getting away from the extortion of the oil companies who seem to keep prices high even when the cost of crude drops dramatically. This would seem to knock that idea on the head. £20,000 to buy the car seems OK for a well buiult and equiped car of this size, but add in £100 or even £75 a month to lease the battery pack certainly pushes it back up to paying nearly the same as any other car. Also, I thought Renault's idea of battery exchange stations was damn good and sensible, strange that Nissan are now saying they don't think that that is viable in Europe, why not? If two halves of the same company can't agree on the way forward, what hope is there for getting a common decent infrastructure in place.

2 August 2009

that is uglier than the micra which i hadnt thought possible. AVOID

2 August 2009

£1000 a year for the batteries? they have the cheek to ask £19k for a car basically without an engine in it.

their logic doesnt work out, if the pack costs £5k then after 5 years of £1k a year the balance is equal, but these packs should last 10 years, so its half the price if you buy them rather than rent them. but they are not giving the public the choice?

there could be potential drawbacks to ownership with this scheme, what if in 2 years time nissan say "sorry we now have to charge £3k a year for the battery packs due to 'exchange rates' 'production issues' etc." the only way owners will be able to drive is if they pay out the extra money.

anyway its all by the by, electric cars are only for the well off.

battery cars are deader than a dead duracell dated 1984.

2 August 2009

I really like it and battery cars are not DEAD....they are just starting life!.....the battery range will increase and you will stop having to lease batteries.

But this is the first of a tide of electric I have been saying for ages, Prius is DEAD as is the Honda Insight.....sure you will get hybrids on bigger cars, but all the smaller cars will either be electric or Chevy Volt system.

Look at the new Tesla family car...300 miles is it....all electric wiht no battery leasing.....the clever Tesla Motors are leaps ahead of the Japanese....I love America.

And to think all those on here slagging off the US....sham on you...they have the best electric cars and the best hybrids i.e. the Chevy Volt.....and at MIT they have all the best battery technology.....all of which is coming out into the market place soon.

You see instead of maoning liek some people on hear, the Americas where developing and perfecting; now they hold all the aces.....shows its better to go build the dream rather than (like some that use this site) moan about it and or stick your head in the sand.....

Chevy Volt (as I have been banging on for ages) Tesla all electric is the tech. to follow for the majority of the market...Prius and Insight.....DEAD (stone cold)...Ford Escape type models use hybrid type system sure...but that will change once battery life is increased and or the Chevy Volt type unit is expected for 4x4 motors (which I expect in the next five to seven years)......

Unlucky Toyota and unlucky Honda!...well done Tesla, Nissan, GM (Chevy), Ford, Mitsi...etc.....

2 August 2009

[quote beachland2]they have the cheek to ask £19k for a car basically without an engine in it.[/quote] Not quite, the car has the engine fitted, it's just the "tank" that's empty - like your normal dealer selling a new car but not putting any petrol in it. [quote beachland2]what if in 2 years time nissan say "sorry we now have to charge £3k a year for the battery packs due to 'exchange rates' 'production issues' etc." the only way owners will be able to drive is if they pay out the extra money. [/quote] I am guessing that any sensible buyer would only buy the car if the lease costs were fixed at the start of the term. Maybe it could vary if you had to swap the battery pack over or something like that.

2 August 2009

[quote ordinary bloke]Not quite, the car has the engine fitted, it's just the "tank" that's empty - like your normal dealer selling a new car but not putting any petrol in it. [/quote]

more like selling it without that tank not an empty tank, the car is useless without a tank (battery pack) even if you can get petrol (electricity).

so my analagoy of engine is more correct.

2 August 2009

Looks sort of like a Renault Megane II, weird that Nissan kind of picked up on that styling. The boot seems just as unpractical as on the Megane. Why should the car, without the batterypack, cost 19000? That seems a bit high, since they want to compete with a Golf or so.

2 August 2009

Can any one explain why someone would want this over a regular diesel hatch, like a 115bhp focus or similar Mazda/astra/auris/megane etc? A £100 a month battery rental + some electricity costs is more running costs than my dad's 407 diesel. And he paid a lot less than £19k for it! And gets a much further range too! The sums don't add up on this Nissan. Unless you absolutely MUST have silent running. Very cunning by Nissan though- in one quick move your monthly petrol expenses will end up mostly in nissans pocket for battery rental - a nice little business model. I wonder did they copy it from inkjet printers or from razor blades? :-)

2 August 2009

For my company it is good as we are have an integrated transport policy i.e. only those that need a car get one and you should only use the car to get to place where you cannot get to easily by train and or bus...therefore....say you have a meeting in London....then you would go by train but might use a regular type car to get to the nearest station.

With this type electric car, it serves as an excellent pool car i.e. if you have to nip into town to pick something up or if you have an appointment within the same area etc.....if someone has to pick someone up from the train station etc.....otherwise the pool cars would be petrol or diesel.

But with this car you get 100 miles so you can make several short trips without recharging and or you can make a trip of up to 160 miles (based on the 80% charge up and depending on who you see i.e. if you go to a supplier that has an industrial supply you can use)......and 160 miles is quite a long distance......

and unlike the Prius you burn no fuel petrol/diesel......then when the Chevy Volt comes out you can replace the entire normal fleet (as it were) with Chevy Volts.....thus as a business you are pretty dam clean and can use the Renualt vans for commercial this way you start building these solutions in early and progress in the right way....

....for cost, the cost is fixed....i.e. you know exactly how much each month you are spending i.e. for industry, we do deals with power companies and thus get cheaper than domestic supply and the car is just £100 per month....cheaper than any petrol or diesel..then you do not need to buy it oil, or spark plugs etc and then you do not need to tax it will be cheap insurance (I am sure).....and its genuinely green...its all good!

2 August 2009

Why do they have to make eletric cars so ugly?


Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week