Nissan sells 100,000th LEAF globally

by Ernie Hernandez on January 20, 2014

100,000th LEAF

45 Percent of all EVs globally are Nissan’s LEAF

The mainstream press is quick to point out all of the flaws and shortcomings of electric vehicles (EV). They seem less interested in pointing out the advances that EVs have made, and the ways in which they are suitable for a wide variety of lifestyles and situations.

Let’s take a look at some of the successes of Nissan’s inaugural electric vehicle:

  • It is available in 35 countries on four continents
  • In Norway, LEAF outsold gasoline powered vehicles in October 2013
  • In some US markets, LEAF is the best selling Nissan model

What most LEAF owners don’t know is that the LEAF is not Nissan’s first EV – it is just Nissan’s first mass-market EV. Prince Motor Co, which later merged with Nissan, built the Tama in 1947. While not technically a Nissan, Nissan claims it as their first electric car. Tama was powered by large lead acid batteries that were held underneath the vehicle. The black battery tray can be seen in the photograph below under the door.

1947 Tama

Nissan launched the Prairie EV in 1995. In 2000, Nissan tested the Prairie EV with the Japanese National North Pole Exploratory Team in Norway to undergo cold weather testing. The Prairie EV underwent six years of successful testing in the world’s most northerly settlement. This was Nissan’s first use of the lithium ion battery, and the first car in the world to use a lithium ion battery. In fact the technology was so advanced for its time, it garnered a mention in the Michael Crichton book Jurassic Park, as the power source for the park’s electric cars.

Prarie EV

Other Nissan electric vehicles included the Altra EV developed in the late 90’s, and the Hypermini which debuted in 1999.

Altra EV

Hypermini

The Hypermini, used in Japan and the United States, went on to be seen in the movie The Princess Diaries 2.

With the success of the LEAF, Nissan is poised to introduce an all electric light commercial vehicle this year. The e-NV200 will launch later this year in Europe and Japan (found here). This light duty electric van will offer fleet delivery vehicle owners an alternative to their current petroleum powered choices.

It can be seen that the Nissan LEAF is but the latest in a succession of Nissan EVs – all designed to improve upon what has come before. Other manufacturers are taking existing gas cars and plugging in an electric drivetrain. Nissan started along that same path, but has been building pure EVs for decades starting with the Hypermini in 1999. Look for continued technological improvement as Nissan strives to continue along their path of innovation in the EV segment.

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