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Nissan Begins Production On The Leaf

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On: Wed, Oct 27, 2010 at 1:36PM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Begins Production On The Leaf

The Nissan Leaf EV has been one of the biggest ongoing auto stories of the past year as Nissan prepares to bring it to market. One of the final chapters of the story is now underway as production on Nissan's first electric vehicle has officially begun in Japan.

The Leaf is being built at Nissan's Oppama plant, which also builds the Cube and Juke models. The Leaf will be shipping to the U.S. market within about a month or so and arrivals are expected sometime in December. European deliveries will commence early next year.

Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn said of the occassion: “This is a significant milestone, not only for Nissan and the Renault-Nissan Alliance, but also for the entire automotive industry. Consumers are clear. They want sustainable and affordable mobility...and the Alliance is leading the way with cars that deliver exactly that, with the reliability, excitement and performance that consumers demand. The high-quality, innovative Nissan LEAF will radically transform what consumers expect from automobile manufacturers worldwide.”

The Nissan Leaf drives up to 100 miles on pure-electric motivation derived from an 80 kW motor and 24 kWh lithium ion battery. The retail price for the car prior to tax breaks is $33,000. Initial launch markets include California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Tennesse.

Early indications are that there is significant demand for the 100-mile EV. Earlier this month, Nissan announced that it was closing the first round of U.S. reservations after meeting its 20,000 model goal three months earlier than originally planned. It will re-open the books next year.

To help meet the demand and grow the market for the Leaf, Nissan plans to open Leaf production in two other facilities: the Smyrna, Tennesse plant in 2012 and the Sunderland, England plant in 2013. All three plants working at full capacity will boost production to around 250,000 units per year.

Those hoping to get a sneak peak at the Leaf should take a look at the schedule for Nissan's "Drive Electric Tour," which got underway earlier this month. The tour began in Santa Monica, California and travels to launch markets around the country ending in Nashville, Tennessee on March 27.

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