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Where your Nissan LEAF came from

The development of the Nissan LEAF has an interesting history that’s more than six decades long, while some of the prototypes we’ve seen more recently are giving a hint as to the future direction for the world’s best-selling all-electric car.

It took over six decades for the Nissan LEAF to be born. During that time, it moved from prototype to limited-production vehicle and back to prototype again, until, finally, the LEAF as we know it was born, becoming destined to dominate the electric vehicle market globally. Now, Nissan is expanding their EV offerings with more battery-driven cars and light vehicles.

It began back in 1947, when Nissan built a limited number of Tama Electric Vehicle cars. At that time, with the war just over, oil was hard to come by and alternatives were being explored everywhere. The new Japanese government promoted EVs as one solution. The Tama was noted by the Japanese as being better than its spec sheet would suggest, giving a cruising range of 96.3km and a top speed of 35.2km/h (60 miles and 22mph). It’s square shape and large doors made it a favorite for taxi companies. In 1959, a personal EV, the Tama Senior, was also made. It was a more contemporary sedan for the period, with the familiar round-headlight and split window look most of us associate with early Nissan vehicles.


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