Introducing the Nissan LEAF Electric Car
Finally! An Electric Car for Consumers
The highly anticipated Nissan LEAF started selling in December 2010. For years, there has been talk of alternative energy vehicles to help wean the U.S. off foreign oil dependence, as well as to clear the air of high levels of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
While electric cars are nothing new, selling them mainstream certainly is. Years ago, GM was accused of "killing" the electric car, and naysayers have flooded the airwaves and chat rooms with talk of gutless, slow cars that can hardly even get you across town, let alone from state to state.
Will this model show us the way to becoming energy independent, or will we choke with range anxiety and continue to forego turning over a new leaf?
About the Nissan Leaf
About the NIssan LEAF Electric Car
Deliveries of the 2011 Nissan LEAF began in mid-December 2010 to customers that had pre-ordered the electric car, and the car hit showrooms in five states in the U.S. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rated the Nissan Leaf as "Best in Class" for energy efficiency and "Best of the Environment" based on its lack of tailpipe emissions.
The Nissan LEAF is the world's first mass-produced 100% electric vehicle. Nissan claims that the LEAF is the most energy efficient vehicle available today with an estimated equivalent of 99 miles per gallon. As stated on the insideline.com review of the Nissan LEAF:
The 2011 Nissan Leaf is not a low-volume slice of automotive exotica like a Tesla Roadster, nor is it an electrified version of a conventional gasoline car like the Mitsubishi i MiEV, and it is certainly not a plug-in hybrid like a Chevrolet Volt or a conventional hybrid like a Toyota Prius. The 2011 Nissan Leaf is a brand-new, purpose-built, mass-produced, battery-powered family car and, as such, the very first of its kind in the world.
- Power: 100% electric, no gasoline - runs on 48 lithium-ion battery modules mounted under floor
- MSRP Cost: $32,780 with starting cost of $25,280 including tax incentives of $7,500
- Seats: 5 adults (2 front, 3 back); the Nissan LEAF has a spacious interior cabin
- Electronic Dashboard includes state-of-the-art graphics that include information on how much power is remaining in the batteries
- Maximum torque is always and instantly available, which means that the LEAF has a mid-range punch on par with a sedan powered by a 2.5-liter V6
How does the Nissan Leaf Drive?
Learn About the 2011 Nissan LEAF Directly
Why not test drive or purchase a new Nissan LEAF for yourself. As of the date of this publication, more than 20,000 people reserved one of these new electric cars, which number even exceeded the expectations of Nissan.
Finally, why not participate directly in the reviews of Nissan LEAF cars? Join the online panel group, and give your feedback through online surveys, or invitations to focus groups and/or interviews about once a month.
Myths About Electric Cars
1. Myth: The range of electric cars will limit my ability to get places I want to go. Fact: New electric vehicles can travel 40-100 miles on a single charge, which is well within the distance of most commutes. Then, the cars can be plugged in and recharged during the day to be ready for the commute home in the evening.
2. Myth: Electric cars lack power and speed. Fact: Even though you won't need to reach speeds of 100 MPH on American roads, you could do so if needed.
3. Myth: Electric cars won't be any cheaper than gas-fueled vehicles. Fact: Consider this information from the Cal-Cars website.
We say above that you can fill up your “electric tank” for less than $1/gallon. How? Using the average U.S. electricity rate of 9 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), 30 miles of electric driving will cost 81 cents. If we optimistically assume the average US fuel economy is 25 miles per gallon, at $3.00 gasoline this equates to 75 cents a gallon for equivalent electricity. Compared to a regular hybrid’s real-world 45 miles per gallon, it’s effectively $1.20/gallon.
PHEVs are meant to plug-in at night. In many areas of the country, overnight power is available at a lower cost. As PHEVs start to enter the marketplace, we’ll see increasing support from electric utilities, as they’ll offer reduced nighttime rates to incentivize off-peak charging. In some areas where wind and hydropower is wasted at night, the rate can be as low as 2-3 cents per kWh. That’s 20-25 cents a gallon.
4. Myth: Electric cars are too expensive to justify the cost. Fact: While it is true that you’ll spend from $2000-$4000 more for an electric car, the cost gap is addressed in part through incentives, subsidies and rebates. In addition, EVs may be allowed to have special access to car-pool lanes. Over the life of the car, you’ll spend far less time at gas stations and can expect lower maintenance costs than with your gas-guzzler.
5. Myth: The hype over electric cars will pass and then I’ll have an obsolete vehicle. Fact: Gas prices have gone up too much, our national debt is too high, and unrest in the Middle East simply is not worth our addiction to oil. Auto manufacturers, government and influential corporations like Microsoftare all working to get EVs on the road, with appropriate infrastructure to ease consumer use. In addition, celebrities like Tom Hanks are also helping to spread the word about how wonderful it is to own and drive an electric car.
6. Myth: I don’t have the right kind of plug for an electric car. Fact: Yes you do! Electric cars are plugged right into ordinary household outlets (220 volts). Most can be re-charged in 30 minutes or less. In addition to home recharging, you can find convenient re-charging stations on streets, in parking garages and at park-and-ride facilities, as well.
7. Myth: Owning an electric car will not improve the environment. Fact: Electric vehicles like the Nissan LEAF emit 67% fewer greenhouse gases than gasoline cars, and this figure climbs even higher when renewable energy sources such as solar power are used to generate electricity.
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