Before the Nissan Leaf, there was the Tama electric vehicle prototype in 1947 developed by the Tachikawa Aircraft Company. This was the forerunner to Prince Motors, which would later on become part of Nissan. The Tama was a two-seater, battery-powered truck which contributed to serving the needs of the then oil-scarce Japan in the post-war era.

Its 4.5 hp electric motor drew power from two 40-volt lead acid batteries that could be quickly exchanged with freshly charged ones, offering a range of 65 km and a top speed of 35 km/h. Languid performance by today’s standards, however it also had its battery located in the floor of the vehicle for a lower centre of gravity, much like how the Tesla Model S and other modern day EVs do too.

Today, one example of the Tama resides within Nissan’s Zama Heritage Collection. In a new video, Nissan brought the Tama alongside the latest Leaf EV, which is propelled by an electric motor with 148 hp and 320 Nm of torque. This is fed by a 40 kWh lithium-ion battery which offers electric range of up to 378 km on the NEDC cycle.

Whereas the Tama was more utilitarian in its build as a truck, accommodating two occupants and 1,000 lb (454 kg) of cargo in the back, the 2018 Nissan Leaf is an altogether more passenger-friendly proposition, with most modern conveniences expected of a new car.

The Leaf also features novelties such as the e-Pedal, a single-pedal operation which is good for 90% of driving needs according to Nissan, and ProPILOT, a single-lane autonomous driving technology which works between 30 km/h and 100 km/h. We’ve been told the Leaf will be launched in seven markets in Asia/Oceania over the course of 2018, with Malaysia scheduled to get the model by the end of Q4 this year.

GALLERY: 2018 Nissan Leaf in Singapore