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Nissan shows off Leaf; Can electric cars leapfrog hybrids?

Nissan shows off Leaf; Can electric cars leapfrog hybrids?

Posting in Sustainability

Nissan Motors is getting a nice pop out of the debut of its Leaf, a battery-powered hatchback. The question for the Leaf---the same one that hangs for all electric car---is this: Can this pup can go mainstream and leapfrog hybrids?

Nissan Motors is getting a nice pop out of the debut of its Leaf, a battery-powered hatchback. The question for the Leaf---the same one that hangs for all electric car---is this: Can this pup can go mainstream and leapfrog hybrids?

The first public viewing of the Leaf certainly generated some buzz (Twitter). The car (right) is set to go on sale in Japan, Europe and the U.S. in 2012. The Leaf will run you about the same as a regular small car.

Sounds good right? The problem is there's a lot of education that needs to happen judging from consumer comments. The car has a range of 100 million on a single battery charge. What happens if you push that range and aren't near an outlet?

Gallery: Nissan Leaf, Nissan's Leaf site

Other questions on the Nissan site revolves around leg room (it's ample) and top speed (more than 85 mph).

The challenge here for Nissan will revolve around educating consumers. The Toyota Prius worked for many reasons, but a biggy was that it wasn't completely unknown. There was still a gas engine for power.

Overall, the Leaf is a smart piece of engineering. Nissan has about two years to get consumers to agree.

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Larry Dignan

Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-Chief Larry Dignan is editor-in-chief of SmartPlanet and ZDNet. He is also editorial director of TechRepublic. Previously, he was an editor at eWeek, Baseline and CNET News. He has written for WallStreetWeek.com, Inter@ctive Week, New York Times and Financial Planning. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Delaware. He is based in New York but resides in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure