Nissan to launch Leaf as its first electric car

Nissan has unveiled its new electric car model, which it claims will be the first vehicle to crack the mass market.

Nissan

The five-door hatchback called Leaf will be on sale in the US and Japan by the end of next year and in the UK and Europe by 2012.

It is expected to launch a big marketing push behind the vehicle, but details are not known at this stage.

The zero-emission, eco-friendly model will be the Japanese car maker’s first electric powered car and takes on a different strategy from its rivals, with Toyota and Honda unveiling plans to launch hybrid models which will use petrol and electric engines.

Electric cars have struggled to gain widespread uptake due to the cost of running them and limited battery life.

Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn says however that the price of the Leaf will be competitive and the monthly cost of the battery and the electric charge will be less than the cost of gasoline.

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