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by Michael Hines
Nissan is attempting to change the image of its bland EV through sportier concepts and unique modifications.
The Nissan Leaf is the white bread of the electric vehicle world. It's bland and boring, but it gets the job done. Nissan's EV has been slowly racking up the sales stateside, but there are still tons of consumers who shun the company's electric offering due to its similarities to the aforementioned bread. Nissan is attempting to change the image of the Leaf by creating sporty concepts designed to look good and go fast. You can see all of Nissan's sporty offerings (and one odd one) below.
The Nissan Esflow is a sporty concept with the electrical components of the Leaf and the styling of the 370Z. Nissan's concept is designed for performance, with two electric motors placed near the rear axle. The Esflow can do 0 to 62 in 5 seconds and it has a max range of 150 miles.
The Nismo RC Leaf has very little in common with the production Leaf, and that's a good thing. Nissan's electric race car loses all of the Leaf's creature comforts, including its backseat, navigation system, rear doors and carpeting. This subtraction cuts the Leaf's weight by 40 percent to an ultra-light 2,068 pounds. The Nismo RC Leaf has an 80kW AC motor that pumps out 107hp and 207 lb-ft of torque, numbers that are good for a top speed of 93 mph and a 0 to 60 time of 6.85 seconds.
Nissan showed a jazzed up version of the Leaf at the 2011 Tokyo Auto Salon. The Aero Style concept was essentially a Leaf with a new body kit and wheels. The sleek new design fit the Leaf surprisingly well and directly influenced the design of the Nismo's electric offering.
The Embassy suites hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, is the proud owner of the world's first and only Leaf limousine. The hotel stretched the Leaf out, adding 400 pounds to the bulky EV in the process. The stretched EV has amenities similar to more conventional limousines, including cedar paneling and full leather seating.