2011 Nissan Leaf – Click above for high-res image gallery

Back in May, CBS Evening News reported that the Nissan Leaf could sprint to 60 miles per hour in five seconds. We knew that their report missed the mark, but by how much? Estimates from nine to as much as 12 seconds began to surface, but those seemed a bit out-of-line as well.

Now, thanks to John O'Dell of Green Car Advisor who timed a 0-60 mph dash during a recent drive in the Leaf, we have at least one unofficial result: 0-60 mph in seven seconds flat. To put that number in perspective, 0-60 mph runs in the Chevrolet Volt have been clocked at 8.8 seconds, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV takes nearly 12 seconds and the Tesla Roadster accomplishes the feat in a mere 3.7 seconds. Okay, so the Leaf is reasonably quick, but how fast does it really go?

O'Dell, the senior editor of Green Car Advisor, writes:

On an 82-degree Tennessee afternoon, with another writer in the passenger seat, I hit 92 mph on the highway, going up a slight hill all the way. I still felt as though there was a little bit more to go, but lifted my foot at 92 because I thought I spied a state trooper's patrol car way back down the road.

Mark Perry, Nissan's director of product planning, confirmed that an undisclosed journalist who recently drove the Leaf in Michigan, hit an even more impressive 94 miles per hour, but as far as we know, these are just indicated speeds, not independently verified and repeated. Still, for the sake of comparison, the Smart ED apparently tops out at about 62.5 mph, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV calls it quits at 81 mph and the Volt hits the century mark. So, the Leaf is emissions free, accelerates with (relative) vigor and closes in on 100 before returning to more sane, everyday speeds. Sounds like it can offer livable everyday performance – provided the pure EV's range isn't an issue.

Photos copyright ©2010 Damon Lavrinc / AOL

[Source: Green Car Advisor via Nissan-Leaf]

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