The Nissan LEAF is an all-electric five-door family hatchback introduced by the Japanese automaker in 2010 as an environmentally friendly Zero Emissions vehicle.  Introduced as the world’s first mass marketed electric vehicle, the Leaf is powered by a 110 HP electric motor that returns the equivalent of 99 MPG and is fed electrons from Nissan’s own lithium ion battery pack.  The new NEC unit produces nearly twice the energy density of traditional packs, so they last longer and retain a much more potent charge.  This gives the Leaf a range of around 100 gas free miles with the batteries topped off, a process that can take up to 8 hours to replenish with a 220V outlet.

Inside, the Leaf has more than enough room for five adults and lots of cargo thanks to the lack of a gas tank and the ultra low cargo shelf hidden behind the large hatch.  The green theme continues past the power train, as the seats were made from recycled plastic bottles and even the tire supplier was chosen because of their diminutive carbon footprint.  The Nissan Leaf retails for $35,200; but thanks to a hefty government incentive of up to $7,500 in federal tax savings, the Leaf can be purchased for as low as $27,700.

The 2011 World Car of the Year award winner has also been named as a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and the Leaf is the first fully electric vehicle to earn a 5 star overall vehicle rating for safety as part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's New Car Assessment Program.

Learn more about the 2012 Nissan Leaf.