The simplest, which Nissan calls "Phase One," is likely to be the most popular. This mode's charger requires only a 120-volt electrical supply, meaning it can be plugged into virtually any existing AC outlet without extensive modifications. That can't be said for Phase Two, which uses a hard-wired 220-volt supply to cut the charge times in half. Both chargers use a connector patterned after a new SAE standard, allowing them to be used on multiple makes and models in the future.
Even more preparation is required to install a Phase Three charger, which is still under development. In this mode, a whopping 400-600 volts are channeled into the vehicle, allowing it to recharge the battery to an 80-percent state (any more would severely tax the battery) in a scant 25 minutes. Given the cost demanded by such a system, Nissan says it thinks it's something municipalities would invest in. We think gas stations interested in playing to the EV crowd could figure out a way to sell access to such a device, allowing drivers to further their range.
Such a charger may incur a slight premium, but the electric car itself won't. Dominique says there will be "no price penalty," as the car will likely sticker between $25,000 and $30,000. Assuming the cost of electricity is approximately $0.14 per kilowatt-hour during peak hours, the car will cost less than a nickel per mile to operate - less, perhaps, if driven more than 15,000 miles annually.
Nissan plans on unveiling the finished product in 2010, offering early examples to fleet customers and development partners the same year. Production units won't make their way into the hands of consumers globally until 2012.
In Short (Circuit)
Price: $25,000 - $30,000. Cars will be sold and leased to consumers in a normal fashion beginning in 2012.
Powertrain: 107-hp AC induction motor powering the front wheels. Power is sourced from a 35-kWh lithium-ion battery packaged beneath the front and rear seats.
Class: Five-passenger compact; most likely a hatchback. Sized between Sentra and Versa, rendering it comparable to the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight.
Body structure: Unitized construction, likely an aluminum-intensive structure.
Performance: Top speed of approximately 85-90 mph.
Nissan estimates a 100-mile range on a single charge. Depending on the voltage, charging can be performed in under a half-hour.