Photo courtesy of www.NissanUSA.com, The electric, zero-emission Nissan LEAF was unveiled in Tucson last week. The company plans to market the vehicle in Southern Arizona during late 2010, with charging stations to be developed and with home charging stations distributed. PR NEWSWIRE

The truly electric car is here — at least it was in Tucson for a short time, before heading up the road to Glendale.

Nissan debuted its LEAF all-electric zero-emission vehicle in Tucson last week, unveiling the car on the roof of the Pennington Street Garage. It was the LEAF's first appearance in Arizona, and Tucson was the first stop in the LEAF's introductory 22-city Zero Emissions Tour.

In an event hosted by Tucson Clean Cities, a program of the Pima Association of Governments, and co-sponsored by Tucson Electric Power Corp. and Nissan North America, the LEAF was rolled out and test driven on the top two floors of Tucson's Pennington Street Garage.

The LEAF is a five-passenger sedan with bucket seats up front and a hatch in back. It can reach a speed of up to 90 mph. The vehicle is powered by a front drive electric motor, and when its laminated lithium ion battery is fully charged, has a range of 100 miles. Overall length is 175 inches, width is 69.7 inches, and height is 61 inches. The LEAF's wheelbase is 106.3 inches.

Tim Gallagher, Nissan's director of corporate communications for the West region, said the LEAF is ideal for people who drive less than 100 miles a day and have a secondary vehicle for out-of-town driving.

Nissan noted that beginning next year, electric transportation innovators ECOtality of Scottsdale, working through a $99 million grant from the U.Ss Department of Energy, will begin implementing electric vehicle infrastructure in the cities initially receiving the LEAF, including Tucson. As part of the DOE grant, Nissan also will provide initial LEAF owners in its launch markets with a home EV charging station, including installation, which allows easy overnight charging.

The LEAF has three charging options built into a panel underneath the badge in the front of the vehicle — female outlet plugs for 110-, 220- and 440-volt connections.

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