The Nissan Leaf is a technological leap in that it is a mass-produced electric vehicle with a range of up to 100 miles on a single charge. Unfortunately for Nissan, its quirky EV hit the market at the same time as the prize-hungry Chevy Volt, which has already taken home the North American Car of the Year and Motor TrendCOTY awards.
But while the Volt has taken the hardware here in the United States, the Leaf can now sport its own prestigious award: the 2011 European Car Of The Year. The 58 voters gave the Leaf the nod over more conventional offerings like the Volvo S60 and the Opel Meriva. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn is quick to point out the fact that the Leaf is the first EV to win the Europe COTY award, but he also stresses that the Leaf “is an appealing, competitive car, with no compromise on style, features, safety, performance or handling.” Hit the jump to read over Nissan’s brag-tastic press release.
Nissan has kicked off production of its all-new 2012 NV commercial truck. Scheduled to go on sale this spring, the NV will be available in three variants; NV1500, NV2500 HD and NV3500 HD. Two different configurations will also be offered: a standard roof or high roof that offers more interior work and/or cargo space.
Power comes from a choice of familiar six or eight-cylinder engines. The 4.0-liter V6 produces 261 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque while the 5.6-liter V8 delivers 317 hp and 385 lb-ft of torque. Both engines drive the rear wheels via a five-speed automatic transmission.
Body-on-frame construction should help the NV go a long way in the rugged work truck category. Inside, a few trick features will help further set it apart from competitors like the Ford Transit Connect. The passenger seat folds flat to offer up its backside as a workspace. The large, lockable center console offers plenty of storage and 120V outlets are installed front and rear.
The 2012 Nissan NV starts at an MSRP of $24,950. Once the NV configurator comes online, we (and tradesmen in need of a new ride) should be able to elevate that sticker price significantly.
Back in October, General Motors began airing a series of commercials based around the Chevrolet Volt‘s then-new tagline: “More Car Than Electric.” The choice of this slogan immediately generated some controversy. The commercials that later aired for Chevy’s plug-in took a subtle dig at pure electric cars like the Nissan Leaf, while attempting to explain the benefits of range-extended technology.
Well, Nissan never really reacted to GM’s slightly misleading advertising campaign. That is, until Carlos Tavares, the automaker’s executive vice-president of the Americas, spoke at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit last week. Tavares held a muffler and tailpipe in the air and uttered these words:
As automakers, we have a duty to communicate with clarity to help customers understand today’s technology. If you’re calling your car electric, and it has one of these, you’re only muddling the message.
Of course, the Volt is equipped with a gasoline-burning engine and thus is fitted with a muffler and a tailpipe, so Tavares, through his not-so-subtle tailpipe lifting approach, is implying that GM has misled customers by combining the words Volt and electric in its communications to the public. We’re sure GM is fine with this.
READ ON, AND A GALLERY ===>
AutoBlog: When responding to an emergency situation involving an electric vehicle, trained personnel are urged to take special precautions. For instance, if emergency responders have to rescue a person from a battery-powered vehicle, they are told to first ensure that the car’s high-voltage system has been properly disabled. It should happen automatically, but one needs to make sure, and that task may seem simple, but it’s a multi-step process (outlined by the flowchart above) that can become exceedingly complicated.
Nissan and, for that matter, most other automakers readying plug-ins for launch, have gone to great lengths to ensure that first responders are adequately trained to deal with the complexities of rescuing potential victims from battery-powered autos. Whereas Nissan’s First Responder’s Guide (PDF) tells rescuers to wait ten minutes to allow the Leaf‘s high-voltage system to fully discharge before entering the vehicle or cutting it open with the “jaws of life,” we believe that those arriving on the scene will ignore many of the warnings and throw caution to the wind, as they so often do, and simply act upon instinct to save lives.
Here is the whole PDF===>
The Nissan Leaf is powered by a system generating 107 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. Unlike a conventional internal combustion engine, the Nissan Leaf delivers maximum torque from start, providing smooth, consistent acceleration. Nissan also says the system provides the responsiveness of a V6 engine.
The new GT-R with 530HP twin turbo-charged v6 gets to 100 km/h in 3 seconds….
Nissan of Europe has released the specs on the Leaf. They are as follows:
We don’t envy the hordes of product planners working in the auto world. America’s concept of quality transportation seems to shift with the seasons, leaving analysts scrambling to anticipate amorphous market demands while automakers fill barely justifiable voids in their product line. If you need proof, look no further than the scorching hot CUV segment. Buyers have developed a seemingly unquenchable thirst for small, car-based high riders, and nearly every automaker sports at least one tall hatch in their lineup.
Nissan hopped on the small crossover train belately in 2007 when it introduced the Rogue as a 2008 model. The pint-sized ‘ute borrowed plenty of styling cues from the likes of the larger Murano and came equipped with an efficient and capable drivetrain built to suit a variety of tastes. But that was three years ago. In order to keep the Rogue as fresh as possible until a full-on next-generation model arrives, the company has rolled out a mildly updated version for 2011. It may not be the front-runner in its class, but the refreshed 2011 Rogue promises to hit all of the same notes that American buyers are singing right now. We spent a week with one to find out.
Gallery:2011 Nissan Rogue: Review
Photos copyright ©2010 Zach Bowman / AOL
At first blush, it’s clear that the Rogue isn’t going to be shattering any boundaries. If you’re looking for rule-bending design, you best head across the Nissan showroom to give the Juke a good once over. Instead of trying to rile controversy with its lines, the Rogue simply takes the generic CUV shape and spreads on a light Nissan flavor. While the overall design is slightly rounded, tricks like an upkicked C-Pillar and slightly wrapped headlights give the Rogue a familial flair.
Instead of going hog wild on a completely redesigned fascia for 2011, Nissan’s designers simply opted for slight tweaks to the existing mold. Along with a massaged grille, the fascia now wears a subtle crease just below the headlights that’s supposed to convey a touch of attitude. Down low, larger fog light openings now wear similar detail work as well.
Nissan is planning to market the Rogue as a more mature alternative to the rash of youth-oriented CUVs currently infiltrating the market, and the company has underscored that commitment by decorating the sides of the vehicle with new chrome strips. We aren’t typically huge fans of sticking shiny stuff to the exterior of a vehicle, and this instance doesn’t do much to change opinions. The new trim simply doesn’t do anything for us, especially given that the rest of the Rogue is largely bling-free with the exception of some similarly tacked-on looking door handles. Fortunately, Nissan has also thrown in a new set of stylish 17-inch, bifurcated five-spoke alloys that give the Rogue’s design a pulse. It’s amazing what a new set of shoes will do.
Of course, if buyers in this segment really craved unique design, something tells us we’d see more attractive European sport wagons being driven off of the lot instead of gangly high-riders. Our guess is that the buyer who wanders onto a Nissan lot in search of a Rogue is there for a few reasons: massive amounts of cargo, a tall seating position and a reasonable price. Particularly on the spacial front, the Rogue delivers admirably. There’s a total of 58 cubic feet of storage capacity with the rear seats folded flat and Nissan says you can stow something 8.5 feet long out back.
Up front, the Rogue delivers the same quasi-commanding view of the road as most of the small utility cruisers, and Nissan has made sure to throw in plenty of standard convenience options as well. Our tester came in SV trim, which means the cabin was packed with goodies like power mirrors, a rear-view camera system, satellite radio and six-way power adjustable seats as standard equipment. Bluetooth hands-free calling also comes along for the ride, making for a decently well-rounded tech package given what the Rogue costs.
Unfortunately, the interior pleasantries end there. Thanks to bolts of dark cloth and plenty of soulless black hard plastics throughout, light enters the cabin, never to return again. The Rogue could seriously benefit from an infusion of lighter colors, let alone higher quality materials. Even with the optional sunroof in our tester, the Rogue simply felt dreary from behind the wheel.
The good news is the various switches and knobs have a heavy, solid action seemingly at odds with the inexpensive materials scattered elsewhere. This is particularly true when it comes to the steering wheel – a smallish piece that feels good in your hands, despite being nothing fancy to look at. The wheel is loaded with various switches for controlling everything from cruise control to the hands-free calling system, but their locations are easy to memorize in short order.
Each Rogue ships with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine putting out 170 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. The four-pot is bolted to a CVT complete with an overdrive function and the buyer’s choice of either front- or all-wheel drive. Our tester came with its engine kicking at the front tires only, and while a high-riding, low-horsepower CVT machine sounds like a perfect recipe for motoring brain damage, the truth is that Rogue is a decently capable little machine. It handles city traffic, dispatches interstate jaunts and lugs around groceries and a couple of passengers without complaint.
Nissan has the benefit of utilizing one of the better CVT units available, and the ‘box feels right at home behind the thrifty little four-cylinder in the Rogue. By putting the engine at the right RPM for whatever situation is at hand, cabin noise is kept to a minimum and there always seems to be more power available than the spec sheet would suggest. Throw in the fact that the EPA says that it’s good for 22 mpg city and 28 mpg highway and the Rogue begins to look a little more appetizing.
The 2011 Rogue also benefits from a fully-independent suspension, which helps give the CUV a more planted feel while tackling interstate clovers or slaloming the light poles at the local mall parking lot. Buyers are more likely to interpret the setup as feeling like a heavier version of their kid’s Sentra, but it’s nice to know that riding high doesn’t necessarily mean giving up behind-the-wheel tomfoolery.
Perhaps the most surprising part about the Rogue is its price tag. Our mid-range SV model came riding fairly close to the vehicle’s $23,220 MSRP, though if you’re really on a budget, the Rogue is also available in S trim at $20,810. That’s not a lot of coin for what you’re getting, but unfortunately for Nissan, this segment is loaded with absolute bargain buys. Vehicles like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage are all excellent choices, many of which carry top-notch warranties and slimmer price tags than Nissan’s offering.
While the 2011 Rogue manages to cover all of the crossover bases, there’s very little to differentiate this compact utility from the rest of the crowd. It’s nicely sorted suspension and competitive fuel economy are nice selling points to be sure, but they simply aren’t enough to give the Rogue an edge over the competition. If Nissan were to give the Rogue a slightly livelier exterior and an interior that doesn’t feel like it was designed by someone with photophobia, the 2011 Rogue might be able to carve out a bigger niche for itself. Until then, this high-rider is likely to remain as a backup singer in the CUV rock opera.
Nissan Motor Introduces “Health & Well-Being” Concept -
Designed to Enhance Cabin Comfort
YOKOHAMA (July 22, 2010) – Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. today announced its new “Health & Well-Being” concept, which is designed to create a comfortable in-car environment for both driver and passengers. Three new technologies based on this concept are being introduced: Comfortable Captain Seat, Advanced Climate Control System and Quick Comfort Seat Heater.
The basic aim of the “Health & Well-Being” concept is to help reduce stress and fatigue of drives and passengers, providing body and mind with the necessary comfort for a optimum driving experience. Toward that end, Nissan is developing innovative ideas and technologies to provide 1) a comfortable posture and thermal environment to help improve blood circulation, and 2) good cabin air quality for improved health.
The “Health & Well-Being” concept is part of Nissan’s larger “Life on Board” strategic technology focus. “Life on Board” is the term Nissan uses to describe the whole process of getting into the vehicle, preparing to drive, driving, arriving at the destination and getting out. Its goal is to create an ideal in-car environment by pursuing innovations in three main areas: “a cockpit designed for easy driving,” “cabin comfort” and “a well-made interior.”
A wide range of initiatives are being implemented around “Life on Board.” They include the new “Intelligent Control Display,” an easy-to-use versatile multi-function information system introduced on the Nissan Juke; the “Forest AC” air conditioning system used on the Nissan FUGA, which is designed to recreate the refreshing breezes, temperature, humidity and aroma of natural forests; improvements to the quality and texture of interior materials; and other new technologies based on human studies.
Comfortable Captain Seat
The new Comfortable Captain Seat design incorporates three new technologies: “seat cushion-integrated leg rest,” “articulated seatback,” and “three-layered cushion pads.” Nissan is the only automaker adopting all three technologies at the same time.
With the seat’s all-in-one seat cushion and leg rest seat design, the body is supported as a whole, helping maintain a posture that can be relaxed and stress-free. The seat cushion-integrated leg rest, supports the lower legs over a large area and helps spread the body weight to help avoid leg swelling.
The articulated seatback helps maintain the balance of the muscular force around the backbone at close to “zero gravity,” which is said to be the least stressful posture for the human body, helping reduce physical strain.
The three-layered cushion pads optimally combine upholstery of different characteristics and can be adjusted for greater comfort in various seating postures and vehicle types.
Advanced Climate Control System
The new Advanced Climate Control System allows three related devices to be controlled with a single switch – the Plasmacluster Ions generator, the inside/outside air control, and the grape polyphenol clean air filter*1.
The latest version is equipped with highly concentrated Plasmacluster Ions that have been proven to help keep the skin naturally moisturized*2. Plasmacluster Ions help reduce airborne bacteria and mold levels, help to deactivate ticks and microbe allergens in the air, and control odors. In addition to the conventional emission gas sensor, the system detects various other odors – such as from animals and factories – and automatically switches the ventilation flow as needed. These functions provide a more comfortable environment inside the vehicle.
Quick Comfort Seat Heater
The Quick Comfort Seat Heater optimizes heating density and control, based on human temperature sensitivity studies (world-first) conducted in a joint research program with Professor Yutaka Tochihara of Kyushu University Faculty of Design. The studies showed that heat transfer efficiency and sense of comfort vary according to the region of the body.
In the first stage of operation, the Quick Comfort Seat Heater warms the area of the thighs and buttocks. Once the heat becomes stable, warming of the lower back and the thighs shortens the time it takes for a person to feel warm by 35% (compared to a conventional system), and creates a longer sense of comfort.
These technologies not only have a relaxing effect, but also help to improve blood circulation, thereby reducing driving fatigue.
In order to provide a more comfortable and pleasurable ride, Nissan continues to research and develop technologies based on the concept of “Health & Well-Being.”
Interesting article about the new Nissan Leaf. (Via NissanUSA).
” The Nissan LEAF is unlike any car on the road. and buying one is unique too. it starts with a $99 reservation fee. it’s not a down payment – it’s a placeholder that saves your spot in line to get a LEAF. availability is limited* and not everyone is guaranteed to get one, but don’t worry – the fee is fully refundable. when you’re ready to begin, let’s get started” – NissanUSA
(pic via the autochannel)