Tony O'Kane | Feb 18, 2009

We're amazed it's taken this long for a major manufacturer to commit to a decently-sized electric car for the masses. Fortunately, it appears that after years of empty promises from big automakers and garden-shed startups alike, Nissan will be the first marque to offer such a vehicle.

Nissan's European product executive Pierre Loing hinted earlier that a production car featuring the electric powertrain from the Mixim Concept (above) could debut in the Japanese market by 2010 and head to Europe a year later. Now, Nissan USA's product planning director Mark Perry has come out in the open and declared that a 5-seat small electric car will launch sometime in late 2010.

Nissan Mixim EV concept

Aside from a supposed 160km range, not much is known about Nissan's upcoming EV. Sticker price is expected to be between $28,000-30,000 USD (over $43,000 AUD) - a lot of money for a small car, but annual costs are estimated to be $1350 USD ($2100 AUD) less than a comparable petrol-powered vehicle. Battery packs will also be leased rather than bought, a strategy that should reduce the car's purchase price and help with the cost of battery replacement.

So, when can we see Nissan's small EV on Aussie roads? Be prepared for a wait. The EV will be slowly rolled out across a number of US cities as charging infrastructure is gradually introduced, with cities in California, Oregon, Washington and Tennessee signed up to be the first to receive the car.

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