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Bringing the Leaf to life

  • Magazine Feature Article
  • 11EVSD0223_02
Published February 23, 2011 by SAE International in United States
  • English

Chief Engineer Hidetoshi Kadota leveraged 20-plus years of electrification experience in the development of Nissan's new EV.

Electrification is nothing new to Hidetoshi Kadota, Chief Vehicle Engineer of the Nissan Leaf, whose involvement with the subject spans two decades of his 30-year engineering career. For Nissan, it is much longer-the first recorded production electric car dating back to 1947.

Kadota, a seasoned chassis designer, was about to see his latest work materialize in a new compact minivan in 1991 when he was yanked from his forte and promptly assigned to Nissan's electric vehicle (EV) development. Major manufacturers who had larger market shares in California were facing the imminent zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) mandate and were accelerating EV development.