I don't want to wait until late next year for this - I want it now! 5 seats, 4 doors, neat design that doesn't look like it belongs in a panto, top speed of 90mph and a claimed range of 100 miles. Nissan are being coy about the price of their new electric hatchback, the Leaf, but pundits reckon it'll be in the £10-£15K bracket plus the battery that you can buy or lease. And this is just the first in a family of electric cars that we can expect to see from Nissan in quick succession so they say.
For those of us in Europe with 220 volt power sockets the Leaf will charge up fully in four hours and has a quick-charge capability to let you get up to 80% in less than 30 minutes.
The Wired report commented that 'the prototype we drove was snappy off the line, so the Leaf should be no slouch in traffic.' What on earth did they expect? With an EV the torque comes in right away, so of course it's no slouch - that's one of the immediate delights of driving an electric car, guaranteed to get you smiling every time you pull away.
As for its looks, this comment from Nissan's styling chief makes a lot of sense: 'We did not want to make the car very strange, because one of the perceptions of the EV (is) people think that EVs are toys, or cheap ... that you cannot drive high-speed, that EV means ‘not (a) real car.’ He's definitely on the right lines there.
Here's an interesting point I hadn't really thought of before. While the design is dictated in large part by the drivetrain, a silent-running car also needs aerodynamic efficiency to minimise wind noise and I noted a blogger earlier pointing out that the LED headlights are designed to stream the wind past the wing mirrors to reduce wind noise.
The Leaf will also have a system called EV-IT to keep the driver aware of driving range and help calculate if you're in range of a pre-set destination like home or office. It'll even text you when the battery has charged up. How long, I wonder, until the car sends you a message via Twitter???