Despite lower-than-predicted sales of its Leaf battery electric hatchback, Nissan is pushing ahead with its aggressive electric-car program.

At the Guangzhou Auto Show yesterday, its Chinese partner unveiled its own plug-in electric car, the Venucia E30.

And, surprise, surprise, it looks just like a Nissan Leaf--with a garish plastic "grille" over the charging port on the nose.

As seen in China Auto Web, the electric Venucia E30 has the same bodywork, dimensions and specifications, floor-mounted lithium-ion battery pack, and 80-kilowatt electric motor as the current Nissan Leaf.

The E30 is the production version of a concept car shown at the Beijing Auto Show earlier this year and deemed the Venucia E-Concept.

As far as we can tell, the change from the concept car to the production version appear to consist largely of a name change.

To be fair, the production model also has standard Leaf alloy wheels replacing the flashier ones on the concept, and a standard Leaf front bumper shield rather than the chrome-trimmed one of the concept.

The Venucia E30 is not expected to go into volume production in China until 2015.

It's built by Dongfeng Nissan, a joint venture with Chinese carmaker Dongfeng, which now builds several different models of Nissan gasoline vehicles for sale in China.

Western auto companies that wish to build cars in China are required to set up such joint ventures with local carmakers as a way of establishing a local auto industry.

The Venucia brand was established in 2010 specifically for the Chinese market.


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