While their competition was cranking out heralded hybrids like the Prius and Insight, Nissan, it seemed, was content to watch and build monsters like the GT-R. Well, no more. Nissan has finalized plans to create the world’s first affordable electric car, which they will call the Leaf, a nod to its environmental significance. Nissan’s zero-emission vehicle is powered by a set of laminated lithium-ion batteries that send juice to an electric motor, producing 109bhp (figures said to be comparable to a compact turbodiesel). The Leaf also features a regenerative braking system, not uncommon on many high efficiency vehicles these days, which helps to recoup wasted energy and contributes significantly to the small car’s 160km range. Nissan’s groundbreaking E-car is expected to launch in late 2010 and will be competitively priced against cars like the VW Golf, Toyota Corolla, and Ford Focus. Take that, Chevy Volt!
See more images of the Nissan Leaf after the jump.