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2011 Nissan Leaf
Nissan Motor Co. photo
TOKYO (Dec. 3, 2010) — Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. has selected Bridgestone Corp.’s rolling-resistance-optimized Ecopia tire as an OE fitment on its Leaf electric car being introduced this month across North America.
In North America, the Leaf rolls out on the all-season Ecopia EP422 in size P205/55R16 89H. The fitment for Japan and Europe is the Ecopia EP150 in size 205/55R16 91V.
Bridgestone claims the Ecopia line can improve a car’s fuel economy by as much as 5 percent, depending on what tires are being replaced.
Bridgestone first launched the Ecopia line in 1991 for electric vehicles and since then has developed the concept further for both passenger and commercial vehicles. It introduced the line in North America in 2009.
The tire maker has said in the past the Ecopia achieves its rolling-resistance improvement via a tread rubber that uses its NanoPro-Tech materials technology, which draws out the characteristics required to control the microstructure of materials through molecular design.
The Leaf has no spare tire; it is equipped with a tire repair kit instead.
The four-door, five-passenger Leaf hatchback is rated to deliver a range of 100 miles per charge. It’s expected to retail for $32,780, but prices could be as much as $7,000 lower depending on credits offered locally.
Nissan is expected to ship only about 20,000 Leafs to the U.S. in the first year. Production volume is limited by a new Japanese assembly line, and a new plant that is supplying the Leaf´s lithium-ion battery.
Nissan is investing $1.6 billion to construct another lithium-ion battery plant in Smyrna, Tenn., where it eventually will assemble the Leaf as well, but that supply will not come on line until late in 2012.