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On the cusp of the next-generation Nissan LEAF that arrives later this year, we look back at the company’s early EV roots
During the 1940s’ switch to a peacetime economy, Tachikawa Aircraft (later Tama Cars Co.) embarked on the development of electric vehicles. One reason for this was the extreme shortage of gasoline at the time. In 1947, the company succeeded in creating a prototype 2-seater truck (500-kg load capacity) with a 4.5-horsepower motor and a new body design. It was named "Tama" after the area where it was produced.
Its top speed was 34 km/h (21 mph). Next, the company created its first passenger car. With two doors and seating for four, it boasted a top speed of 35 km/h (22 mph) and a cruising range of 65 km (40 miles) on a single charge. The former aircraft maker employed many unique ideas in the design and construction of the Tama, such as its battery compartments.
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