Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

Nissan turns over a new Leaf with eco-friendly car carrier

The Nissan Leaf electric is seen charging during the press day of the LA Auto Show in Los Angeles, California.
The Nissan Leaf electric is seen charging during the press day of the LA Auto Show in Los Angeles, California. Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

With the rollout of their car the Leaf, Japanese automaker Nissan has charged confidently into the burgeoning new world of electric vehicles (it’s an initiative the company first explored with the Altra back in 1997). Now they’ve furthered their commitment to eco-responsibility by employing energy-efficient car carriers to bring the Leaf to America.

“As Nissan went to the effort to launch the Nissan Leaf at that time, in terms of the logistical flow, we thought there would be a way for us to contribute using state-of-the-art technologies,” said Tomohiko Uchiyama, president of Nitto Kaiun Corporation, the company that produces the boat.

The Nichioh Maru is a solar-powered car carrier with a special low-friction hull for more efficient movement through the water. About the size of a football field and a half, the carrier can haul up to 1380 cars at a time. Featuring LED lighting and an electronically controlled diesel engine, Nissan claims that the Nichioh Maru reduces carbon emissions by about 18 percent, saving 1400 tons of fuel a year.

"Something that's gentle to the environment — that's the most important thing, considering the current system on the ship," adds the ship's captain, Tamotsu Sato. "I have no doubt that this ship will be a front runner in this industry."

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