Sunday, August 2, 2009

Is the Nissan Leaf the answer to our mobility problems?

Nissan just has "presented" the new Nissan Leaf, an electrical car to be sold in the US and Japan in 2010 and in other countries (i.e. Europe) in 2012. It's a new generation electrical car with 160 km reach and roughly 120 hp, so certainly fast and powerful enough, to master shorthaul traffic needs. 160 km is more than enough for commuting traffic, though will not make the car suitable for holidays/vacation. I sort of like the goals (key characteristics) Nissan set themselves:

1) Zero-emission power train and platform
2) Affordable pricing
3) Distinctive design
4) Real-world range autonomy - 160km (100 miles)
5) Connected Mobility: Advanced intelligent transportation (IT) system

But is this really the answer to our mobility problems? Probably not. It's a well engineered combination of today available technologies and perceived needs of the consumers. However it's still heavy, large and full of difficult to reuse materials and components. And it's probably not even that fun to drive, but that's anyway not a key objective for that type of car. At least it's a statement that Nissan tries to get innovative technologies in production and on the street.

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