Nissan unveils zero-emission Leaf at Bellevue Square
December 10, 2009 · 5:39 PM
The Nissan motor company offered a sneak peak at the world's first zero-emission car slated for mass production at a preview event in front of Bellevue Square Thursday.
The Nissan Leaf, scheduled for release December 2010, is a fully electric four-door compact car that can travel 100 miles between charges.
The car cruises at speeds up to 90 miles per hour, running on a lithium-ion battery that generates 90 kilowatts of power, according to the automaker.
"You never have to fill it up, and you never have to pollute," said Nissan spokesman Mark Perry.
The Leaf seats four to five adults, and features an upright, v-shaped design, as well as up-slanting light-emitting diode (LED) headlights that include internal blue reflectors – much like the headlights of the new Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid that comes out in late 2010.
Leaf owners can charge the car in eight hours with the 200-volt outlets standard in most homes, although a newly developed quick charger will get the job done in 30 minutes.
One drawback: the fast charger will cost around $800, and home installation – which requires special permitting – could run anywhere from $200 to $1,000, according to Perry.
Nissan is promising affordable pricing for the Leaf, but will not provide details about what that means until some time next year.
The car is expected to qualify for a number of Federal tax breaks, as well as incentives that local jurisdictions might create.
The Eastside is one of five regions nationwide where the Leaf will be on sale next year.
"I'm excited to see it on the road," said Bothell resident Elango Ramaiyan. "This is a big step forward."
Nissan chose its five target regions based on partnerships with local governments, utility companies, and interest in "green" initiatives, according to Perry.
The automaker has been working with cities and utilities to set up 50 quick-charge stations throughout the Northwest, and to encourage incentives for buying zero-emission vehicles.
Perry says the going has been tough at times.
"It's easy to say 'public-private partnership,' but it's hard to actually do," he said.
Bellevue is collaborating with Nissan as part of its commitment to the C-7 New Energy Partnership, which fosters collaboration on developing green-energy initiatives and generating funding for them.
Issaquah, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Redmond, Renton, and Sammamish are also involved in the C-7 partnership.