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The new Nissan LeafRecently Steve Fisk from Nissan of Keene traveled to the Boston Museum of Science for a sneak peek at the new Nissan LEAF, Nissan’s forthcoming 100% electric car. “The LEAF is due to arrive at Nissan dealerships later this year”, says Fisk, “and Nissan of Keene will start taking orders for them in April, when Nissan releases the final pricing. So I was very happy to see this exiting new car in person. This is not some crazy concept car- it’s real and it will be in our showroom very soon.”

According to Nissan, the all-electric LEAF will have a top speed of 90 M.P.H, and have the ability to travel up to 100 miles on a single charge. Charging can be archived using a separate charging station, either at charging station at the customer’s home or work- or at one of the public charging stations that Nissan and local governments are entering into agreements to install right now.

The LEAF can be charged at three different rates, depending upon the type of charger. Charging from complete discharge to full charge with 120v AC will take up to 16 hours, while charging with a 240v charger will take only 8 hours. In the near future chargers will be offered which operate at 440v DC and will be able to charge 0-80% in about 27 minutes according to  Nissan.

The Nissan LEAF in Boston last week was one of only two actual cars Nissan has produced thus far. It cost Nissan $2.5 million per copy for these prototypes. Nissan expects to build around 40,000 LEAFs for the 2011 model year. Purchasers will be eligible for a $7500 federal tax credit for the car itself, as well up to an additional $2,000 tax credit for a charging unit. While final pricing has not yet been announced, it is expected that it should be in the $25,000-$35,000 price range, depending upon the level of equipment. This price will include the cost of the battery.

“The car itself is larger than I expected”, says Fisk. “It is a four-door hatchback with navigation system standard- and believe it or not it has no transmission, as it doesn’t need one. The one I saw was a silver-green with a white leather interior. I thought it was pretty sharp looking. It looks to me as if navigation is standard. The display can be set to tell you how much juice you have left in one of three ways: miles left, percent of charge left, or a circle of approximate range remaining- highlighted on the navigation screen. As a precaution against getting stranded, once the car gets to low charge (about 10% remaining), it goes into “limp-home mode”. Yet even in limp-home mode it can travel at up to 55 miles per hour.”

He went on to say that the LEAF will connect to your smart phone, so you can tell it when to charge or to tell it to start up the air conditioning before you drive home from work. He then added, “Or your car can call YOU, and let you know when it’s fully charged.”

Fisk pointed out that he is intrigued with the idea that the car doesn’t have a gas tank or an exhaust system. “They had a mock-up available for invitees to drive, and it’s very quick off the line. Without an internal combustion engine, it was almost entirely silent too. Well, except for the tires chirping off the line. The mock up was a Nissan Versa with a LEAF engine in it.” He said the mock-up in lieu of an actual LEAF to drive was because there are only two actual cars in existence, both traveling around the country on a pre-release tour. “Nissan tells us we will have cars to deliver to our customers later this year though”, he says.

More information and exlcusive new photos  are available at our website devoted solely to the Nissan LEAF at NissanLEAF.us .

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