nissan zev prototype 002

nissan zev prototype 002

Promises about electric vehicles are a dime a dozen, and so far no one - not even Tesla - has managed to deliver a real daily-driving production car in volume. That didn't stop Nissan's product planning director Mark Perry from confirming a 2010 U.S. launch for a five-seat electric car back in February, and this week more details on the upcoming car have emerged, including what appears to be a leaked drawing.

Not even the terrible economy has put a damper on the company's plans - in part because Nissan is pitching the EV as a way to save cash. Between maintenance costs that Perry told the Chattanooga Free Times Press will be $1,350 lower annually and a $7,500 tax credit that the car will be eligible for, the $28,000-$30,000 EV could be a way to stretch budgets. It will be available to commercial fleets first, going to retail sales after a couple years, around the 2012 mark.

To get the cars on the road Nissan is working with its several planned launch locations to help build a charging network. That network is there to help combat what Perry calls "range anxiety", though with the 100mi (160km) range expected of the car, city drivers shouldn't be too worried about not making it home on a charge.

Nissan hasn't released any official details on the car, but piecing together claims made over the last several years, we expect the car to feature a leased 35kWh battery pack to help keep initial prices down and make replacement easier. Fragments of the plan were revealed last November when launch markets in Sonoma, CA and Portland, WA revealed their involvement. Chattanooga, TN is also one of the launch locations since it's the company's U.S. HQ. The photo above, sourced from Motor Trend, shows a car that looks sort of like a half-Mixim, half-Versa five-seat hatchback, though early reports say the car will be larger than the Versa, and smaller than the Sentra. The photo also hints at the layout of the car, with a front-mounted motor and a longitudinal, sub-floor battery pack.

The motor will drive the front wheels through a single gear, delivering approximately 367mpg equivalent, or mpg-e, as measured by the U.S. government's CAFE regulations.

The Mixim electric concept was shown at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, and could preview the general design direction of the EV. Styling cues that at the time looked somewhat out of place in Nissan's line now echo the 370Z and GT-R as well as the [url=//www.motorauthority.com/blog/1024765_nissan-denki-cube-ev-concept-official-details Cube concept EV, though the tiny size of the Mixim is a bit smaller than the expected production EV's footprint. The Denki Cube itself isn't expected to be the basis for the production vehicle, in part since the conventional gasoline-powered Cube has now been introduced to the U.S. market. A technology platform called the EV-02, also based around the Cube platform, is the likely mule for the parts that will underpin the new hybrid hatch, but it is most likely just a convenient and modern way to wrap up the development package.

The NuVu concept is another mobile testbed for the EV's underlying technology. For more details on that car, read our original story here.