Electric cars have long held the public's fascination - that is, until fascination turns to shock and people see the price.
You only need look at the soon-to-be released Chevy Volt for all-electric prices topping over $US60,000. The Tesla Roadster tops out at around $US80,000.
Known as the proverbial 'elephant in the showroom', high prices have reluctantly held back the growth of the electric vehicle market.
But Nissan are looking to change that perception with the all-electric Leaf, an electric reinvention of an old pricing game. It's one strategy that Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn expects will be allow the company to go head to head with the cost of regular petrol powered cars, according to a LA Times Report.
Nissan are aiming to market the Leaf at roughly the same cost of your average petrol loving vehicle. The report didn't mention how Nissan will manage to bring lithium battery costs down.
Nissan's 'Leaf' is the manufacturer's first major attempt at an all-electric car, a diversion from the usual hybrids currently being pushed by Toyota and Honda.
According to the LA Times report, the Leaf will feature a top speed of 140 km/hour and a cruising range of at least 160 km - enough for the daily commute to work and back, figures Nissan.
Nissan Leaf all-electric stats: how they stack up
- 107 Horsepower
- 160km range
- 140km/hour top speed
- Rapid recharge time in 30 mins (80% capacity)
- Nominal recharge time in 4 hours at 240 volts
- Lithium batteries: 24 kWh energy storage and max output of 90kW
Battery charge times are expected to be significantly longer than the Tesla or MIT electric car, both of which employ rapid recharge battery technology.
Nissan is aiming for 30 minutes on a best time basis, or 4-8 hours depending on the voltage supply (120 vs. 240). The Nissan quick charge will depend on the necessary infrastructure to make it work.
Connecting the car to your mobile phone
And though the Leaf doesn't boast Tesla's exceptional torque, range or exotic battery tech (such as the MIT vehicle we reported on recently), it does place much of its tech emphasis on what Nissan are calling 'Connected Mobility'.
The mobility system is part of the company's 'Advanced intelligent transportation (IT) system, which will drivers the ability to change air conditioning and other dash commands using their mobile phone.
In addition to this, the car will be connected to a global information grid,that can provide "additional support, information, and entertainment for drivers 24 hours a day", according to Nissan.
The report states that the Leaf is due to hit global markets in 2012. Hopefully that includes our illustrious Southern shores too.
Australia is already poised to make the most of a rapid recharge grid: the decision to implement the 'Better Place' electric charging model was made early last year in Victoria. The scheme is already in place in Denmark and Israel.