Nissan promises to build 250,000 Leaf EVs per year to meet the demand

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 16, 2011

Nissan announced today that is on track to build 250,000 Leaf electric cars by early 2013, which means that the Japanese manufacturer will have enough cars in order to satisfy likely demand in Asia, North America and Europe.

Pierre Loing, Nissan Europe's vice-president in charge of product planning and strategy said in a recent interview that production constraints will fade as plants in North America and Europe launch production.

For those who don’t know Nissan currently builds the Leaf electric vehicle in Japan, but the manufacturer announced that it will also start producing this model at Smyrna, Tennessee, USA, in late 2012 and at Sunderland, England, in early 2013.

“As of early 2013, we expect to satisfy European demand with European supply and U.S. demand with U.S. supply,” he said. As you may know already, yesterday we announced you that Nissan will also build a new battery plant in Portugal, which will produce 50,000 batteries a year.

But, according to the manufacturer, most of these batteries will be used in the Renault Fluence EV, which will be built in Bursa, Turkey.

Providing power to Nissan LEAF’s 80kW/280Nm electric motor are laminated compact lithium-ion batteries that generate over 90kW. With this power, the LEAF is able to provide a highly responsive, enjoyable driving experience that customers may expect from conventional cars. In contrast to vehicles powered by internal-combustion engines (ICE), the Nissan LEAF does not need a tail pipe since it does not emit any carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases.

Thanks to Nissan LEAF's regenerative braking system and lithium-ion battery packs, it could travel over 160km (100 miles) with a full single charge. According to consumer research, a vehicle with a range like the Nissan LEAF is able to satisfy the daily driving requirements of over 70 percent of drivers around the world. Interestingly, it is fairly easy and fast to recharge the Nissan LEAF for daily use.

A customer could recharge the battery of the Nissan LEAF up to 80 percent of its full capacity in under 30 minutes using a quick charger. When the recharging is done at home through a conventional 200V outlet, the time needed to achieve full battery capacity is just around eight hours, which is just the same amount of time needed to have ample sleep. Nissan’s engineers and designers aimed to come up with a real-world car that is competitive enough in terms of price and technology to propel Nissan into a leading role in zero-emission mobility.

In terms of comfort, cabin roominess and cargo capacity, Nissan LEAF is also as competitive, thanks to its new chassis and body layout. Masato Inoue, Product Chief Designer, remarked that with Nissan LEAF, they created the first, medium-size, practical electric vehicle that is both affordable and practical for daily use.

He added that the styling of Nissan LEAF will identify the car and its owner as participants in the era of zero-emission mobility. The front end of Nissan LEAF is distinguished by a sharp, erect V-shaped design and long, up-slanting LED (light-emitting diode) headlights.

These LED headlights -- featuring a blue internal reflective design that declares, "This car is special" – have been designed to split and redirect airflow away from the door mirrors, resulting to reduced wind noise and aerodynamic drag.

In addition, these LED headlights consume electricity at a tenth of the amount used up by conventional lamps, thereby allowing Nissan LEAF to achieve its vaunted range autonomy.

Inside, Nissan LEAF is provided with bright trim colors for an enjoyable yet elegant cabin. Its "blue earth" color theme is based on the Aqua Globe body color of Nissan LEAF's introductory model and is conveyed into the interior of the new model through blue dashboard highlights and instrument illumination.

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