Nissan Electric Car: Price, Release Dates & Upcoming Nissan EV Models in Australia

Robert F smith

For a rather long period of time, Japanese car brand Nissan (now a member of the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance – essentially a less-exciting version of The Avengers made up of global car manufacturers) was the number one Electric Vehicle (EV) manufacturer in the world – and then along came a little […]

For a rather long period of time, Japanese car brand Nissan (now a member of the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance – essentially a less-exciting version of The Avengers made up of global car manufacturers) was the number one Electric Vehicle (EV) manufacturer in the world – and then along came a little upstart named Tesla to upset the apple cart.

As of December 2020, the full-electric Nissan Leaf had sold a whopping 500,000 units globally – a mighty accomplishment that was only slightly dampened when the Tesla Model 3 surpassed it earlier that year to become the new all-time top-selling EV globally.

It’s no huge surprise that Nissan had the jump on most other car manufacturers for so long in regards to EVs, since it had produced its first Nissan EV all the way back in 1974 (the Laurel C130-EV, which had a top speed of 85km/h and a range of 65km).

Nissan took the environmental theme perhaps a step too far with 2009’s full-electric Nuvu concept city car.

A further 24 years passed before there was another Nissan electric car: the Nissan Altra, a mongrel mix of sedan, SUV and minivan used as a fleet vehicle that has the distinction of being the first ever production EV to use a lithium-ion battery.

Although it boasted a decent maximum range of 190km – decent for 1998, anyway – only around 200 Altras were produced before Nissan gave the model the axe in 2002.

A year after the Altra was unveiled, Nissan released an even more niche EV: the Nissan Hypermini, a tiny two-seat, three-door lithium-ion battery-powered hatchback with an electric motor capable of 24kW maximum power and 130Nm of maximum torque.

Boasting an approximate range of 115km and the body of a car you’d see in a sci-fi film like Blade Runner, the Hypermini also wasn’t long for this world and was put to bed in 2001 after only about 300 were produced.

Looking like a robo-shoe next to Nuvu's robo-egg, the Land Glider concept car also arrived in 2009. Looking like a robo-shoe next to Nuvu’s robo-egg, the Land Glider concept car also arrived in 2009.

The next flurry of activity from Nissan involving EVs came between 2009 and 2011, with a number of models revealed (although most were concept cars destined to be put back in the great garage in the sky, never heard from again).

Nissan took the environmental theme perhaps a step too far with 2009’s full-electric Nuvu concept city car, which featured solar panels on the roof that looked like tree leaves, the solar energy travelling down a “tree trunk” conduit that ran through the centre of the car.

Looking like a robo-shoe next to Nuvu’s robo-egg, the Land Glider concept car also arrived in 2009 like the unholy love-child of a car, motorcycle, airplane (a yoke replaced the steering wheel) and a Star Wars stormtrooper.

The Leaf was Nissan's first series production, mass-market all-electric vehicle, arriving in the US in 2010 and other markets in 2011. The Leaf was Nissan’s first series production, mass-market all-electric vehicle, arriving in the US in 2010 and other markets in 2011.

Lest you think Nissan was all about concept-car tomfoolery in the late-aughts, 2009 also saw Nissan announce its game-changing ace in the hole: the Nissan Leaf.

Going into production in 2009, the Leaf was Nissan’s first series production, mass-market all-electric vehicle, arriving in the US in 2010 and other markets in 2011, and going on to win a slew of international awards.

A compact five-door hatchback, the Leaf arrived fitted with a 24kWh lithium-ion battery (later increased to 30kWh) and a maximum range of 117km, and the ability to reach speeds of over 150 km/h.

Perhaps afraid that people would begin to believe they were incapable of producing something truly sexy, Nissan unveiled a couple of EV sports car concepts at the Geneva Motor Show in 2011 (the Nissan Esflow) and 2012 (the Infiniti Emerg-e, based on the Lotus Evora platform and coming with twin electric motors).

A sharp turn back to practicality came in 2014 with the arrival of the Nissan e-NV200, a commercial van based on the Nissan Leaf, and thus coming with an initial range of 117km.

Nissan EVs available in Australia

The top of the range e+ model comes with a 62kW battery and a much beefier 385kw range. The top of the range e+ model comes with a 62kW battery and a much beefier 385kw range.

Nissan Leaf

Price: $49,990 – $60,490, plus on road costs 

The Nissan Leaf has been available to fuel-dodging Australians since 2012, and during that time it has seen improvements such as a bigger battery (and thus increased range), improved technology and better safety features.

The current base model comes with a 40kW battery that offers around 270km range, while the top of the range e+ model comes with a 62kW battery and a much beefier 385kw range.

Charging the Leaf’s lithium-ion battery pack, of course, require plugging it into a domestic socket, wall charger or public charging station.

The future of Nissan EVs

Considering the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance invested a cool US$5.2 billion in EV and battery development in 2010, it’s safe to say it’s not mucking around when it comes to EV technology.

It’s already announced plans to make 12 EVs in China for the Chinese market, and the Nissan Ariya – a midsize electric SUV – is set for release in Japan in 2021, with other territories, including Australia, receiving it at some stage in 2022.

The Nissan Ariya - a midsize electric SUV - is set for release in Japan in 2021. The Nissan Ariya – a midsize electric SUV – is set for release in Japan in 2021.

Nissan has also been developing its own hybrid system called ePower, which solely uses the engine to charge the on-board battery, with the electric motor used to drive the wheels.

No announcement on when ePower Nissan tech will arrive in Australia, but the smart money is on seeing it debut with the 2022 Nissan X-Trail.

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