NISSAN LEAF Electric Car.

NISSAN LEAF is the electric-powered car which could be built at Nissan’s Wearside plant – helping to guarantee thousands of jobs for years to come.The LEAF has been unveiled by the manufacturing giant as the world’s first affordable, zero-emissions car. It will be powered by lithium-ion batteries produced from the Washington factory once it starts to produce the power packs in 2012.Bosses at the site are already in negotiations with the Government to try and to bring production of the vehicle itself to Sunderland.It is said to be among three or four top choices to take on the task when construction of the hatchback starts in Europe next year.The firm said it cannot reveal the plants it is up against, but said Sunderland was in a “strong position” because it is already due to make the batteries.

LEAF is due to be launched in Japan, the USA and Europe next year and is said to be the accumulation of decades of investment and research by the company.

Nissan President and Chief Executive Office Carlos Ghosn said: “We have been working tirelessly to make this day a reality – the unveiling of a real-world car that has zero – not simply reduced – emissions.”It’s the first step in what is sure to be an exciting journey -for people all over the world, for Nissan and for the industry.” The car’s name is inspired by its environmentally-friendly credentials, but Nissan has said it will still meet the expectations of drivers have of a traditional, petrol-powered vehicle. The batteries will generate a power output of 90kW, while its electric motor will deliver 80kW or 280Nm.It will have a driving range of 100 miles on one full charge and can be back up to 80per cent of its capacity within 30minutes using a quick charger.It will take up to eight hours to recharge using a 200v connection from home and will have a dash-mounted monitor which will display its remaining power, or reachable area, along with a selection of nearby charging stations.

Other hi-tech features include the ability to control its air-conditioning system and set charging functions using a mobile phone, even when it is powered-down, while its on-board remote controlled timer can be used to pre-programme the recharge of batteries. It is the first in a line of electric vehicles to be produced by Nissan, with the LEAF to be first manufactured in Japan and additional capacity in the USA. The lithium-ion batteries are to be made at another site in Japan, with plans to make them at further plants in the USA, UK and Portugal, and studies being carried out into investment elsewhere.

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