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Summary:

Want to know how the Nissan LEAF will look and feel on the road when it launches later this year? The first shots of a pre-production LEAF have been snapped in Arizona, and Nissan is kicking off a week of test drives.

Want to know how the Nissan LEAF electric sedan will look, feel and sound on the road when it launches later this year? Well, some of the first shots of a pre-production LEAF have been snapped in Arizona (and posted here on the fan site Nissan-Leaf.net). At the same time the automaker kicked off a week of test drives today in Japan for media, shareholders, government officials and a select group of customers with early reservations for the vehicle.

Thinly disguised with some duct tape, the car spotted in the wilds of Arizona (where Nissan is working with Scottsdale-based ECOtality on an electric vehicle charging network) looks very similar to the show model unveiled last summer.

With a week’s worth of test drives coming up, we’re hoping some folks will have a chance to push the LEAF to the limits of its range. The car has a 24 kWh battery pack that Nissan says will give drivers up to 100 miles of range on a full charge. But as we’ve laid out in this chart comparing a dozen plug-in models, batteries, charge times and range claims, the distance you can eke out in an electric car will depend on a lot of factors. That’s one thing that will remain unchanged from the world of gas-powered cars: Your mileage will vary.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user cliff1066

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