Nissan EV-02 prototype at speedEnlarge Photo
Here at Green Car Reports, the growing group of electric-vehicle prototypes we've driven now includes the Nissan EV--or at least its "production intent" powertrain, meaning the final battery pack, electric drive motor, and inverter.
Like the 2012 Ford Focus EV mule and the 2011 Chevrolet Volt prototype, our Nissan "EV" was a future electric powertrain mounted in a body with little resemblance to the production car. In this case, the company used a right-hand-drive model of the last-generation Nissan Cube (never sold in North America).
The actual electric car Nissan plans to launch will be unveiled "soon," perhaps at the Frankfurt Motor Show this fall. Hundreds of early production models will be provided to fleets and utilities late in 2010, and global retail sales start in 2012.
It will be a dedicated EV, meaning it won't share any body panels with gasoline vehicles. And like the Volt, it's sure to be highly aerodynamic for maximum battery range.
Driving: Just like any other car, but quieter
Based on a few loops around a large parking lot, the driving quality was good. The car accelerated quietly and smoothly, and its performance seemed more than adequate to keep up with traffic.
We didn't do any timing runs, but Mark Perry, director of product planning strategy, said Nissan will match its components to the needs of each individual market. We interpret that to mean that the US may get a more powerful electric drive motor than regions (Asia and Europe) used to smaller cars with a bit less acceleration.