• The Tama Electric, released in 1947, is Nissan's first-ever electric vehicle.
• The Prairie Joy, Pivo and New Mobility Concept are some of the other examples.
• The Ariya is the brand's latest 100% electric crossover.
• For more motoring stories, visit Wheels24.
It seems as though with every passing week, a new electric vehicle is being launched, and another one seemingly on the horizon. Electro-mobility is the future, and it has become a question of when and no longer "what if".
Nissan is one of the automakers at the forefront of cleaner and emissions-free driving - though their journey with electric vehicles goes all the way back to 1947 with the launch of the Tama Electric.
Besides emitting virtually no dirty gases into the atmosphere, EVs are also incredibly fast with instant power and torque delivered by motors often found on both axles.
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The Ariya is the brand's latest 100% electric crossover, while the Prairie Joy, Pivo, and New Mobility Concept are some of the other older examples.
Maybe you've seen or heard of them before but these models built the foundation on which Nissan's EV blueprint follows:
1947 Tama Electric Vehicle
Released in 1947, the Tama was Nissan's very first electric car. Used mainly by taxi companies, it had replaceable lead–acid batteries that gave it a top speed of 35.2km/h and a range of 96.3km.
1996 Prairie Joy
It was the world's first electric vehicle equipped with cylindrical-type lithium-ion battery power. Under normal driving conditions, the Prairie Joy EV's batteries delivered 200km of range and a top speed of 120km/h. Thirty models were sold in all, to corporate and fleet customers in Japan.
It's source of power was a neodymium magnet synchronous traction motor delivered a zippy 100km/h at top speed and up to 115km of range on a single charge. It also appeared in Hollywood movies like 'Sleepover' and 'The Princess Diaries 2.'
One of its most-notable features is the bubble-like cabin, and also the first vehicle to be powered by light, compact laminate lithium-ion batteries. Built for three, the cabin could rotate in either direction so that instead of backing up, the driver simply turned the cabin around and drove the other way. Typical Nissan touches included the ability to control the sound system and GPS with fingers on the steering wheel.
2007 Pivo 2
It featured an onboard Robotic Agent system that monitored driving conditions and used speech and motion to help the driver stay cheerful. Independent control of all four wheels helped the vehicle minimise lean during acceleration or turning, for added safety. The wheels could even turn 90 degrees to let it drive sideways into parking spots.
It is the brand's first mass-produced electric vehicle, with more than 500 000 units built to date. It also had a range of 200km per charge which made it a practical option for many first-time electric vehicle buyers.
The LEAF was also the very first electric vehicle to be sold locally in South Africa when it arrived here in 2013, three years after its global launch.
2010 New Mobility Concept
Nissan developed the New Mobility Concept: a user-friendly, ultra-compact, emissions-free 100% electric vehicle with the maneuverability of a motorcycle and the stability of a car.
Available in Europe and Japan, the e-NV200 made use of a quiet, powerful electric drivetrain. The hydraulic, regenerative braking system gave it a range of up to 190km per charge.
It featured a range of 400km per charge and supported drivers with features like ProPILOT advanced driver assistance; ProPILOT Park, which handles parallel parking; and e-Pedal, which lets the driver accelerate, decelerate and stop using a single pedal.
2018 Sylphy Zero Emission
It was the first Nissan-branded EV specifically for the Chinese consumers, manufactured in China. The midsize sedan came with a full-sized wheelbase for even more stability and reliability, as well as a spacious cabin. Its range on a single charge is 338km by Chinese government standards.
With a 'kei car' body size and all-new EV platform, the IMk offered a powerful, smooth and quiet drive augmented by driver support systems for environments ranging from city streets to major expressways.
It comes with a maximum range of 610km and with a host of cutting-edge features like Omnidirectional monitoring, ProPILOT 2.0, e-Pedal and e-4ORCE complete with driver support.