The engineering problems
* Electric car here by 2012 * We drive prototype * Top speed 85mph; range 100 miles...
Engineering restrictions centre on the car's battery packs.
Nissan's vehicle will be powered by three lithium-ion battery units, each carrying 24 battery cells and weighing 100kg.
These will be housed in the car's floor to lower its centre of gravity and ensure handling isn't substantially compromised.
Inevitably, the batteries will impinge on cabin space, though, as safety considerations mean that the must be within the car's wheelbase so that they are protected in the event of a collision.
As electric motors are near-silent, Nissan also admits it will have to install a system that makes an artificial noise to warn pedestrians and other motorists of the car's proximity.
However, engineers are keen that the system will not fully negate the benefits of almost no cabin noise.