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In November 2009, the Leaf was unveiled by Nissan (see the slideshow from the unveiling event and the public showing at the Irvine Spectrum a few days later). We had hoped to have a chance to actually drive one, but at the time of the unveiling, the vehicle shown was the only one existing, and much of the detailing is subject to change before it is in production.

We were very disappointed at the unveiling event to not be able to at least sit in one. In addition, there was no organization to the event except static displays with few people standing around apparently qualified to give us much information on the car. At the outdoor public showing at the Irvine Spectrum a few days later, the car was even roped off to prevent people from opening the doors or touching the car. The car was also shut off so that the displays and external lights were not operating as they were at the unveiling event in Los Angeles.

Details still seem to be difficult to come by but below is a list of what we were able to find from various sources. Most of the features look like they paid attention to important things like aerodynamic efficiency, easy monitoring of the charge state (both with and without a cell phone for status), nice placement of the charging port, and future potential for quick charging.. However, a bit disappointing was that the home 240V charger is apparently operating at a 3KW rate (6KW was possible with the EV1, RAV4 EV, and Mini E), and the range of 100 miles seems low compared to what we have been seeing in older EV's. Typically, we have been de-rating the EPA estimated range by 20% to get a realistic estimate for our type of commute. In this case, a de-rated value of 80 miles would be marginal for our use. Nevertheless, we're very interested in the car and very happy to see more companies with consumer EV's entering the market.

  • Range: 100 miles
  • Passengers: 5
  • Doors: 4 + rear hatch
  • Motor: 80KW
  • Top speed: 90 mph
  • All-LED lighting
  • Backup camera
  • Cell phone accessible for checking charge state, programming charge cycle, etc.
  • Navigation system is standard equipment
  • Batteries (24KWH Li-ion) manufactured by Nissan
  • Batteries will be leased in markets outside the U.S. but may be available for purchase in the U.S.
  • 8-hour charge time with standard 240V home charger (conductive)
  • Less than 30-minute charge time with Nissan fast charger (440/480 VDC)
  • Charge port(s): front/center under Nissan badge plate
  • Regenerative braking upon releasing accelerator (i.e. AC Propulsion style)
  • 12VDC auxiliary electronics with separate battery (solar charger backup on rear of car roof)
  • Spare tire - undetermined
  • Availability: 2010 in some states (signups in Feb. 2010), 2012 planned mass production in U.S.
  • Price: undetermined, but targeted at under $35K for vehicle + purchased battery pack

At this time, both charging ports have proprietary Nissan connectors, with the possibility of switching to a standardized connector once an EV standard have been developed.

Additional web links:


  • Leaf in action - "Silent" version of a Japanese video including segments showing charging with the quick charger and home charger connectors. Note that the connectors have positive locking levers and LED's on the dashboard indicate charging progress.
  • Leaf promo video by Nissan
  • Leaf Unveiling in Japan (speech by Carlos Ghosn), followed by shots of wind tunnel testing and an animation showing charging completion notification by email, control of A/C by cell phone, and timed charging setup in the car.
  • Leaf feature review by IDG News Service including shots showing battery details, experimental inductive charging with drive-over charging pads, and iPhone remote control app.