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Nissan Leaf gets 99 MPG with no gas tank
Giving a vehicle that uses no gas a MPG rating is less confusing?

EVs are big news today and there are two high-profile vehicles that use electricity coming to the market in the U.S. very soon. The Nissan Leaf is a pure EV with no emissions and no tail pipe. The Chevy Volt is a more confusing animal with a gasoline engine that charges the battery pack in the car when the electric motor can no longer run alone.

The Leaf has been granted its EPA fuel efficiency label and that's where things get confusing. The EPA was looking for a way to allow consumers to compare EVs to traditional vehicles that use the miles per gallon rating so they concocted a formula that applies a MPG rating to vehicles like the Leaf that use no gasoline.

The EPA figures that 33.7 kilowatt hours of electricity is equal to a gallon of gasoline and bases their formula off that number. The official EPA number for the Leaf is 99 miles to a gallon. That number is reached by combining the 106 MPG rating in city driving with the 92 MPG on the highway rating. That is impressive and may be perfect for some drivers. However, many drivers will be concerned about the low driving range for the vehicle. Nissan has long touted that the Leaf will go for 100 miles on a single charge. The EPA put the Leaf through five different tests to simulate different driving situations to arrive at its driving range.

The EPA pegs the Leaf for 73 miles on a fully charged battery. Many factors could change that driving distance though from temperature to how much the AC and other accessories are used. To confuse things even more, on the window of the Leaf the FTC will have a sticker that displays the driving range of the car at 96 to 110 miles on a full charge. 

That means that the Leaf will wear stickers that show an EPA rating for 99 MPG despite the fact it has no fuel, an FTC sticker showing 96 to 110 miles per charge, Nissan's long-touted 100-mile driving range, and the EPA 73 miles per charge number. Oddly, all of these stickers claim the common goal of making it easier for EV shoppers to tell how they equate to other EVs and traditional vehicles as well as hybrids. The EPA figures the Leaf will cost about $561 in electricity yearly.

"We're pleased the label clearly demonstrates the Nissan LEAF to be a best-in-class option, reflecting that it's a pure electric vehicle, uses no gas, has no tailpipe and has zero emissions," said Scott Becker, senior vice president, Finance and Administration, Nissan Americas. "The label provides consumers with a tool to compare alternative-fuel vehicles to those with a traditional internal combustion engine and allows them to make an informed purchase decision."

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By tng on 11/23/2010 10:17:20 AM , Rating: 2
You can drive 400 miles on just one tank.

Oops, no you can't.

RE: And...
By tng on 11/23/2010 10:20:48 AM , Rating: 1
The label provides consumers with a tool to compare alternative-fuel vehicles to those with a traditional internal combustion engine and allows them to make an informed purchase decision.
Except it really doesn't since about 99 miles is all it will run on a charge. Until the range of these vehicles is extended such comparisons are useless.

RE: And...
By 91TTZ on 11/23/2010 10:58:38 AM , Rating: 2
It's eco-friendly, like a Prius with a 2 gallon gas tank!

RE: And...
By therealnickdanger on 11/23/2010 11:09:14 AM , Rating: 1
Somebody wake me up when this car is under $10,000 without incentives, rebates, or government subsidies. Also, make it look like a Ferrari, at the very least don't make it look like a douchemobile. Then I would probably buy one for my commute. :)

RE: And...
By Hiawa23 on 11/23/2010 12:50:34 PM , Rating: 2
I know I am missing something here, but the whole electricty vs gas argument is interesting. So, it doesn't use gas but aren't you trading one evil for another, I mean it costs to make electricity, or is the idea solely to reduce foreign oil dependancy, or look like we are. I am curious, can you make these green vehicles look alittle more sportier, cause this one reminds me of the design for the Prius? The Volt atleast looks appealing. Looks like the only segment that will be buying these out of the gates are the rich, too. Seems useless to compare it to fuel based vehicles mpg scale, but I guess they have to sell the vehicle.

RE: And...
By CharonPDX on 11/23/2010 2:00:20 PM , Rating: 2
Basically all studies have shown that an EV, even if 100% of the electricity used to charge it comes from coal, is still cleaner per mile (in terms of both CO2 output and soot pollutants) than even a hybrid.

What we really need is a "miles per KWh" or similar. Show the ENERGY used, not a goofy comparison to gasoline. That would also be a 100% accurate assessment for electric, plug-in hybrid, conventional hybrid, or any other alternative fuel, as well as gasoline.

Here's a good PDF showing costs per efficiencies:

RE: And...
By MrTeal on 11/23/2010 2:36:54 PM , Rating: 4
That's basically what this is trying to do. Since 1 gallon of gasoline contains 115,400BTU (121MJ, 33.7kWh), they're saying that 1 gallon of gas can be used interchangeably with 33.7kWh of electricity. You can convert to get the miles per kWh if you'd like.

I agree with you though, it's a silly way to do it. They should just say it gets 3 mi/kWh. I was unable to find if the number they use for electricity consumed is the energy from the batteries, or the energy entering the charger and taking into account charging losses.

RE: And...
By Sharpie on 11/23/2010 4:30:27 PM , Rating: 5
They should just say it gets 3 mi/kWh

Problem is most people are not smart enough to understand what that means and to compare it to what they are familiar with.

RE: And...
By wavetrex on 11/24/2010 2:13:17 AM , Rating: 1
They should just say it gets 3 mi/kWh

My electric scooter gets about 45 mi/kWh. Cars are horribly inefficient.
If I stuff it with good-enough quality LiFePO4 batteries it could easily go 200 miles/charge. There is a downside however, it doesn't go very fast...

And it's air conditioning is free! :)

RE: And...
By Rasterman on 11/24/2010 12:17:16 PM , Rating: 3
I'm surprised they used this conversion as it doesn't really tell you the true MPG. ICE are only 30-40% efficient, where power plant to wheels in an all electric are 80-90% efficient, meaning even though 1 gallon of gas has 121MJ, an ICE car will only be able to use 40-60MJ of it, where an electric car will be able to use 100MJ of it. So the 99MPG number should be multiplied by 2 at least making it 180MPG.

Another metric is cost, use the average national price per KWH, calculate how much it costs to drive 1 mile in energy, use the 5 year average cost of gas to determine your MPG, this actually make the most sense to me since that is what consumers should care about. How much they are giving to Saudi Arabia every year in fuel dollars.

24kWh battery * $0.10/kWh = $2.40 to fill up the car to drive 100 miles, works out to 2.4 cents per mile

a 20MPG car would take $9 in gas to go 100 miles, or 9/cents per mile, 3.75X the cost

so the yearly cost in fuel at 12,000 miles
20MPG car $1080
leaf $288

over 10 years

That is $8,000 that is going directly into your pocket instead of sending it to OPEC and mainly Saudi Arabia, multiply that by a million people or so and suddenly it is easy to see why the government helping us to drive more fuel efficient cards is such a good idea for not only the environment, but the also economy.

RE: And...
By Mint on 11/27/2010 9:37:35 AM , Rating: 2
Efficiency of energy use is not very useful for the consumer. Actual cost is.

Assuming that Mr Teal is right about how they calculated the 33.7 kWh = 1 gal gas figure, we have ourselves a nice coincidence: 33.7 kWh @ $0.10/kWh = $3.37, or roughly the cost of one gallon of gasoline.

So the EPA rating makes sense for the consumer.

If 3 miles per kWh was equated to 180 MPG, then that would mean you could get 60 kWh of electricity for the cost of 1 gallon of gas. That is not the case for the vast majority of Americans.

RE: And...
By mindless1 on 11/23/2010 10:56:20 PM , Rating: 2
That's not entirely accurate.

I propose that we do not need mi/KWh but rather cost/mile that includes the additional selling price of the EV over an equivalent ICE vehicle (in size) and the cost of a 2nd battery pack since ICE vehicles tend to last longer than one battery pack would.

There's no such thing as a 100% accurate assessment though, especially when you consider that repair costs for the first few generations of hybrids will tend to be highest of any type, then the first generation of an EV till all design quirks are worked out, then ICE vehicles.

What I am really wondering is if it costs less to drive the EV once you make the investment to buy it, might it simply result in people driving more miles since they aren't paying per mile but rather the initial expense of the car itself is wasted if they don't?

Right now I schedule and combine trips when I go out in my ICE to not waste as much gas, but if the cost per mile goes down a lot then I'd make more trips out.

RE: And...
By goku on 11/24/2010 3:02:52 AM , Rating: 3
Basically all studies have shown that an EV, even if 100% of the electricity used to charge it comes from coal, is still cleaner per mile (in terms of both CO2 output and soot pollutants) than even a hybrid.

Prove it.. Most data I've seen actually states that a Prius is cleaner than most electric vehicles if the electric vehicle is charged primarily by coal. Otherwise they're in dead heat for most of the time due to the mix of coal and other power sources, and then doing better than the Prius when charged with renewables and or natural gas. This 99mpg of the leaf is useless when it comes to figuring out CO2 emissions. You can't just take the aggregate power production of the U.S and figure out your emission from there, you really have to figure out where you're getting your power from in order to have any sort of realistic comparison.

If you're charging your car in northern california, Washington or in Texas, the electric car is for you if you care about CO2 emissions, otherwise in other states like Ohio, you'd be better off with a Prius.

RE: And...
By Keeir on 11/24/2010 5:03:30 PM , Rating: 2
Hello goku,

The problem with most studies is that the tend to make questionable assumptions.

For example, some will argue "99 MPG" is not acceptable for comparison to a Prius like hybrid because we don't know the efficiency/type of the power supply, while ignoring that the Prius's "50 MPG" claim ignores the real cost of refining and transporting the gasoline!

There are many ways to look at the situation. But looking forward into the future, the Leaf is a first swing at an electric car, whereas the Prius is the 4th generation Hybrid. If we see similar improvements in technology in successive car generations, it won't be long until the Electric is the better choice everywhere. (It is already the clearly better choice if your local power mix is more than 30% Nuclear/Hydro/Renewable or less than 60% Coal)

RE: And...
By monkeyman1140 on 11/24/2010 10:52:46 AM , Rating: 2
If we had just gone metric in the 1980s we wouldn't be scared of KwH, Newtons, Joules, etc...

RE: And...
By Golgatha on 11/23/2010 10:25:20 AM , Rating: 2
Besides the price premium for electrics, I really have to say the range of these vehicles is a deal breaker. Gas and electric hybrids make much more sense to me. For a pure electric, it would have to range around 300 miles, and be able to recharge on 110V in 3 hours or less.

RE: And...
By superPC on 11/23/2010 10:40:11 AM , Rating: 1
that would be imposible. at present EV uses 20-25KWH per 100 miles and EV is really efficient. to have a range of 300 miles it need to have a 75 KWH of battery. it's possible (there are already design that comes close to this ), but to recharge it in 3 hours with 110 volt means using close to 250 amps current (remember that watt = volt * current). no house have a wiring that can handle that. i'm not even sure the grid in front of the house can handle that.

RE: And...
By TheBaker on 11/23/2010 10:53:32 AM , Rating: 3
I'm pretty sure that's his point. Purely electric vehicles will only ever be viable for an extremely small segment of the populace. The vast majority of us don't want to pay through the nose for a grocery-getter. Most of us would rather have an old-fashioned internal combustion engine that leaves you with the option of long-distance travel if you choose. If all you need is a short-range vehicle, the internal combustion vehicle will do that too.

Electric vehicles are for people who don't mind severely limiting their options and paying a premium in order to use less gas. The average American doesn't see that as a good trade.

RE: And...
By superPC on 11/23/2010 10:59:17 AM , Rating: 2
until we have a battery replacement station that can exchange our depleted battery with a fully charge one in less than 5 minutes.

we won't have battery replacement station without an electric car on the road. it's the old chicken or the egg problem.

RE: And...
By Nutzo on 11/23/2010 11:17:14 AM , Rating: 3
Sure, take out my 1 month old battery that holds a 100% charge, and replace it with a 7 year old battery that is down to 70%. And let me pay extra to have the battery swapped. Sounds like a good deal to me :(

RE: And...
By mead drinker on 11/23/2010 1:40:20 PM , Rating: 3
Sure. Battery exchange is a very feasible concept and one that could be the answer for issues regarding range. Quite simple model really.

Electric stations could purchase lots of batteries and amortize their cost against the expected life expectancy of them and include this with the cost of the energy being delivered in them. Currently, Toyota claims that the current gen. Prius battery has a life expectancy of 150,000 miles with a replacement cost of around 5-6k so about 4 cents per mile + energy.

Manufacturers would not sell vehicles with batteries and so the issue of ownership and comparable exchange is answered. The stations own the batteries and therefore the responsibility of service and liability resides with them, albeit at a cost to be forwarded to the consumer. If a battery is faulty well then you exchange for a new one and voila, operable battery. Batteries could be used in circuits with each cell removable and therefore not all batteries have to be swapped during a fill up. Those that have not been used before remain and the depleted ones are replaced.

The real issue is that of standardization and regulation. A gov. body would have to require inspection of the batteries to ensure that the consumer is not being provided with batteries that do not discharge properly and efficiently against standard metrics. Batteries that do not adhere to this criteria are disposed of. Battery packs would have to be a standard model. etc. etc. etc.

The point is we do pretty much the same thing with our current gas infrastructure, meter regulation, octane standardization, etc. The only problem is we don't have an energy distribution infrastructure to feed the stations with.

RE: And...
By Spuke on 11/23/2010 4:01:36 PM , Rating: 3
Manufacturers would not sell vehicles with batteries and so the issue of ownership and comparable exchange is answered.
Which creates a problem with getting the cars off the lots. No one's going to go with not being able to take their new car home with them when purchased. Also, this removes liability from the dealership on whether or not the car is functional when it's sold. A dealer would almost have to partner with a third party, and I don't know about you, but if I was selling cars, the last thing I want is someone else muddying up the waters with my sale. Manufacturers should make, and be responsible for, the entire vehicle. Standardized batteries are an idea but there poses the problem with packaging. Not everyone wants a car shaped like the Leaf. Safety regulations are bad enough, designers would also be hampered by battery size and design.

RE: And...
By dani31 on 11/23/2010 11:36:46 AM , Rating: 2
I challenge the battery replacement stations concept. In a station you get a commodity and batteries are far from being that.

I would even go and assimilate, form the engineering challenges point of view:
- the electricity with the gasoline
- the battery with the combustion engine
- the electric motor(s) with the gearbox

Batteries will be a key area of development and the diferentiation factor. The commodity that we'll get in the stations will be the electricity (probably of the 250 amps variety).

What we need is a leap in battery tech and energy recovery.

RE: And...
By foolsgambit11 on 11/23/2010 3:58:38 PM , Rating: 3
I would equate:
- the electricity with the gasoline
- the battery with the gas tank
- the electric motor with the internal combustion engine
- the gearbox with the gearbox.

The gearbox on electric vehicles is often only a single gear, but it is there. Either way, though, batteries are the place where the most improvement is required to make EVs viable for the majority of people. The two main problems are capacity and recharge rate. The rest of the system is pretty efficient - the Tesla Roadster is probably somewhere between 70% and 85% efficient (wall to wheels, not just battery to wheels), depending on the driving done, while an ICE vehicle averages around 15% efficiency.

I agree, in principle, with another poster in this thread who said that battery packs could be swappable if you didn't purchase them with the car, but were essentially rented from the gas station. The big problems I see with this system is that you are essentially locked to one gas station franchise (are you going to return batteries to a different company? What if they aren't as valuable as the ones you get in exchange?) and the fact that packing a sufficient number of batteries into a car frequently requires placing them in out of the way places, which complicates swapping. The former problem might be solved by business agreements between fill-up stations, and the latter may one day be solved if energy densities in batteries can increase several-fold. At the moment and in the near future, though, battery exchange doesn't seem viable.

RE: And...
By serkol on 11/23/2010 1:41:59 PM , Rating: 2
A battery replacement station is impossible with the current technology. Current batteries are too large and too heavy. Car manufacturers put them under seats and in other locations, to spread the weight. You just cannot swap them.

Could super-capacitors be used here? I envision something like this:
- a car has lots of batteries in unaccessible places (like now), but it also has an easily accessible compartment for a swappable super-capacitor
- a charging station swaps the super-capacitor
- the super-capacitor immediately starts charging the batteries, and the car can leave the station right away
- it takes the same 3 hours or so to fully transfer the charge from the super-capacitor to the batteries, but who cares now, the car is moving

This is just my uneducated guess...

RE: And...
By YerMomma on 11/23/2010 4:35:31 PM , Rating: 2
Absolutely not true, in California the gov already bought a fleet of cars with "swappable" batteries.

The car simply drives up to the "pump" and a machine simply pulls out the current battery pack from underneath and pops in a new one. The driver never even gets out of the car. Similar to an automated car wash.

Takes about the same amount of time as filling your tank with fuel, now imagine for a second that the gov subsidized these battery swapping stations and they were everywhere gas stations are... what would you ever need a gasoline car for again? Overnight electric cars would be the norm.

Altho I think I'd rather see Hydrogen stations for cars like the Honda FXC subsidized everywhere, that way we wouldn't have all these harmful chemicals from batteries polluting our environment in 10 years when they get thrown out.

RE: And...
By 91TTZ on 11/23/2010 5:19:00 PM , Rating: 3
You speak a lot of subsidies as if it's a good thing. Really that's just another way of saying that the government needs to artificially pump money into that system to make it competitive.

It's the same thing with the Chevy Volt. It's a $40,000 car that's competing with a $23,000 car (Prius), so it needs government subsidies to remain competitive. While some people may think that's a good thing, why should I pay more taxes so that someone can buy a non-competitive car?

RE: And...
By Etsp on 11/23/2010 7:39:09 PM , Rating: 2
In this case its more like the government needs to pump money into it to get it off the ground, to combat the chicken/egg scenario.

Perhaps something to be considered 5-10 years from now, but not at the present time. Everything is too bleeding edge at the moment.

RE: And...
By Kurz on 11/24/2010 12:04:56 AM , Rating: 3
So what happened when we had the same situation all those years ago with Gasoline cars?

It managed and out competed the horse.
If Electric cars can't beat in either cost or utility its not worth it!!!

RE: And...
By SunTzu on 11/24/2010 5:05:04 AM , Rating: 2
You really dont think the US government has subsidized cars? Who do you think built all those nice, paved roads you drive on? Changing batteries is just another cost, just like bridges, roads and tunnels are. Theres an inherent value in reducing the need for importing vast amounts of oil, that of national safety. If you government can subsidize farming (and LOTS of it, which the republicans love) so that the country cant be cut off from the foodsupply, why cant they make sure that the country can run without (as much) oil?

RE: And...
By 91TTZ on 11/24/2010 9:22:15 AM , Rating: 2
No, changing batteries would be like subsidizing the cost of gasoline so consumers can get it for $1 a gallon. And the bridges, roads, and tunnels are not subsidized for gasoline cars since diesel vehicles, electric vehicles, and other vehicles are able to use those same bridges, roads, and tunnels. Subsidizing batteries would be yet another subsidy that's not needed.

RE: And...
By Ichinisan on 12/12/2010 7:46:29 PM , Rating: 2
I accidentally downrated this post so I'm replying to have it automatically removed. :)

RE: And...
By lolmuly on 11/23/2010 11:58:12 PM , Rating: 2
people have rehashed this argument a thousand times, gas stations were subsidized too.... should we assume that all forms of infrastructure need no help at all? How about we just stop subsidizing roads too... how about electricity and water? infrastructure is infrastructure plain and simple. Nobody says you have to buy water, or internet, but the rest of us like it so we are going to continue subsidizing it. Try thinking like a utilitarian for once and get with the program.

RE: And...
By 91TTZ on 11/24/2010 9:23:57 AM , Rating: 1
Try thinking like a socialist for once and get with the program.


RE: And...
By mindless1 on 11/23/2010 11:03:34 PM , Rating: 2
It's not current tech that is the limitation, it is design philosophy. Battery packs could indeed be on rails under the car, a bit like a cassette tape arrangement but they are not designed that way because there is no infrastructure to make it worthwhile to build.

It need not be smaller or lighter, it would be a trivial thing to build a hydraulic lift-'n-swap machine that could do it.

Super capacitors do not have the energy density per volume to accomplish this and they are very costly per storage capacity compared even to the high expense of EV battery packs.

Even if the idea would work to recharge the batteries from a supercap that is beyond our capability there would be no point to transfer the energy to the battery pack, the car could just run from the supercapacitor.

What we really need is simpler. Electric rails in roads as the new power grid. Not every road, just the larger ones where pedestrians aren't allowed (for safety factors) so we can greatly reduce the size of the battery pack and have it recharging instead of powering the car most of the time the car is being driven.

That wouldn't handle all possible scenarios but neither do EVs right now.

RE: And...
By lolmuly on 11/23/2010 11:48:06 PM , Rating: 2
We might as well dump all of the money an electrified highway would cost into researching wireless energy transfer and achieve the same goal plus added benefits.

RE: And...
By mindless1 on 11/24/2010 4:08:39 AM , Rating: 2
Ridiculous, electrified highways we can have now using existing tech while wireless energy transfer enough to drive all vehicles on the road is NOT SOMETHING YOU COULD EVER HOPE TO SEE IN YOUR LIFETIME IF IT IS EVEN PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE.

Remember the difference between scientists showing some demo and what is possible at any meaningful scale.

For example, I could demonstrate that I can thread macaroni on a string, but that is no evidence I could do so at a rate or quantity to build a space ship out of macaroni that would transport you to the magical land where what you imagine is possible, really is.

RE: And...
By monkeyman1140 on 11/24/2010 10:42:24 AM , Rating: 2
Its just cheaper for private industry to wire up a charging station in the parking lot. They don't WANT you to leave, they want you to stay and shop, have coffee, eat, hang out in there store.

A charging station just makes better economic sense. Give it a few years, those things will sprout up like weeds everywhere, and will be as ubiquitous as cellphone towers.

RE: And...
By lolmuly on 11/23/2010 11:43:54 PM , Rating: 3
Let's keep this simple

Assume the following:
1. gallon stays at $3.00
2. kWh stays at $0.15
3. both the $15,000 commuter and the $23,000 leaf last exactly 100,000 miles
4. repair costs are the same on both

And lets say the commuter car gets 25 mpg and the leaf gets 3 mpkWh

25 mpg * 100,000 miles = 12,000
+ vehicle cost = 27,000

3 mpkWh * 100,000 miles = 5,000
+ vehicle cost = 28,000

now that's assuming a lot since we don't really know if these things are going to break down after 10k miles or not, or if there will be insurance premiums on these. The fact is we don't have all the info yet, and this is really crude guesstimate math, but if the government keeps funding battery research, and the cost goes down while the range goes up, I am confident this will be a viable choice for many families considering a second car, or a grocery-getter as you call them.

RE: And...
By Nutzo on 11/23/2010 11:26:13 AM , Rating: 2
Even with a 240 volt charger, it's going to take more than 3 hours.
Most newer homes have a 100 or 150 amp service @ 240 volts, while some older home it may be as little as 50 amps.

You would have to use 30 amps @ 240 volts of your 100 amp service to charge a 25KWH battery in 3 hours to go 100 miles. This is about the same power draw as a central airconditioner, so don't try this on a hot day while your air is running.

This is why, even with an expensive 240V charging station, it still takes several hours to charge one of these cars.

RE: And...
By mindless1 on 11/23/2010 11:13:39 PM , Rating: 2
I suspect you may be confused about power consumption of a central air conditioner.

The circuit may have 30 amp fuzes but it's not pulling 30A. You might be thinking of LRA, locked rotor amps when it starts but a typical figure for avg. current would be closer to 15A.

If you have 100A service, it should be no problem charging a car at 30A and running air even if it were 30A... you're still only at 60% of capacity, what else did you plan on running simultaneously that would use 40 more amps @ 220V? A few stoves? I like pizza too but too much of a good thing...

RE: And...
By monkeyman1140 on 11/24/2010 11:13:12 AM , Rating: 2
Most houses with 100A service are either very old or use gas stoves anyway.

The trick is to just not run your dryer, your A/C, your car charger, and your quad core intel i7 PC at the same time.

RE: And...
By mindless1 on 11/26/2010 12:54:43 AM , Rating: 2
Actually no, 100A is typical while 50A is old.

However, in a typical environment, running your A/C, car charger, etc, is not a problem, the problem is when multiple people in your vicinity try to do it on the same grid subnet.

RE: And...
By Schugy on 11/23/2010 2:33:55 PM , Rating: 3
A normal cooker in the E.U. uses 400 V power current.

RE: And...
By Enoch2001 on 11/23/2010 10:47:01 AM , Rating: 3
Besides the price premium for electrics, I really have to say the range of these vehicles is a deal breaker.

I really have to say that a massive amount of potential customers will disagree with you. The Leaf would make a great "second" car to many families (mine included), where we will always have a gas or hybrid for the long trips. This car would serve great as a daily driver though, getting both my wife or myself to work and back plus having plenty left over for errands and shopping.

And the price? After tax rebates this thing costs about the same as a Prius, so I'd say it's priced pretty damn competitively for a vehicle that can be considered quite revolutionary.

RE: And...
By 91TTZ on 11/23/2010 11:24:33 AM , Rating: 2
And the price? After tax rebates this thing costs about the same as a Prius, so I'd say it's priced pretty damn competitively for a vehicle that can be considered quite revolutionary.

How is this vehicle revolutionary in any way? The concept of electric cars is very old, and even the performance of them has evolved minimally compared to gasoline powered cars.

For comparison, in 1908 electric cars had a range of around 50-100 miles, while 102 years later you're calling an electric car with a range of 70-100 miles "revolutionary"

There is nothing revolutionary about this. It's merely the re-marketing of an old idea. Economic conditions in 2010 are allowing an old idea to re-establish a niche market, but it's definitely not revolutionary, and definitely isn't going to have a "massive" customer base.

RE: And...
By Motoman on 11/23/2010 11:38:42 AM , Rating: 3
Economic conditions in 2010 are allowing an old idea to re-establish a niche market

It's not the economic's the political conditions.

RE: And...
By FITCamaro on 11/23/2010 12:33:28 PM , Rating: 4
Seriously. If not for the government push of this stuff, it wouldn't even be on the table.

It's only because of the massive amount of tax payer money thrown at this stuff that its even remotely feasible.

I think if the market had been left alone to decide on alternate forms of fuel/energy, bio-fuel diesel would be farther along. Especially when gas went up to $4+ a gallon. But instead ethanol was pushed by the government.

And we'd have the nuclear plants capable of actually running these cars if they were around instead of billions wasted on solar and wind energy.

RE: And...
By cruisin3style on 11/23/2010 2:53:30 PM , Rating: 2
Seriously. If not for the government push of this stuff, it wouldn't even be on the table.

Oh jesushchrist the gubment took over Nissan too!! WHEN DOES IT END??

RE: And...
By Einy0 on 11/23/2010 3:15:57 PM , Rating: 2
Really I disagree with that final statement. Government is in no way trying to stop nuclear power plants form being built. Instead it's the bleeding heart hippies. Seriously the uneducated are still convinced that nuclear power is not safe. At the same time diversification of our power production is the answer to not becoming dependent on one technology or resource.

RE: And...
By Spuke on 11/23/2010 4:07:43 PM , Rating: 2
At the same time diversification of our power production is the answer to not becoming dependent on one technology or resource.
You don't need diversification of power production when nuclear works all day, everyday. Anything else is a waste of money. Although, for those that wish to not depend on the power companies, solar and wind are totally viable along with a big battery bank.

RE: And...
By YerMomma on 11/23/2010 4:59:40 PM , Rating: 1
The problem with nuclear is everyone still remembers 3 mile island, and how close we came nuking one of our own cities.

RE: And...
By monkeyman1140 on 11/24/2010 10:50:04 AM , Rating: 2
Nuclear seems cool until you have to find a place to put all the high level, medium level, and low-level radioactive waste.
Then ya gotta pay for security because every muslim with a favorite jihadist mullah considers it a truck bomb target, and then if you have an accident the taxpayer has to pay billions for cleanup, then it costs more to dismantle a nuclear reactor than to build one.

Yep, they're economically feasible all right.

RE: And...
By monkeyman1140 on 11/24/2010 11:00:42 AM , Rating: 2
Oh wait I left out nuclear fuel...guess what, it doesn't come out of the ground in purified pellets, its in rock form, which has to be processed in factories, producing more waste. And you need TONS of nuclear fuel for a reactor core.

Right now our spent core fuel is sitting in water pools. Lord help us if those cores ever get exposed to the air for extended periods of time. Think...worldwide radioactive disaster.

RE: And...
By rett448 on 11/25/2010 11:20:53 PM , Rating: 2
Spent fuel rods only need to be stored in fuel pools for the first several years. After that they have cooled enough they can be stored in concrete caskets.

RE: And...
By Maroon on 11/23/2010 1:02:46 PM , Rating: 2
Really? What was the 1908 vehicle's top speed? Did it have A/C, cruise, or even a trunk? Could it comply with today's safety regs? That's not even an apples and oranges comparison it's so far off.

RE: And...
By 91TTZ on 11/23/2010 4:57:49 PM , Rating: 2
You seem to be a bit dim so I'll spell it out for you in terms that hopefully you can understand.

As I clearly said, the electric car's evolution has not kept up with the gasoline car's evolution.

In 1908, even a gasoline car was slow, had no air conditioning, and no cruise control. As you can imagine, the electric car was mostly the same, except it had a motor and batteries instead of an engine and fuel. The 1908 electric vehicle's performance was more similar to the gasoline powered cars of the time than the Leaf is to the gasoline powered cars of today. If you were to graph out the performance capabilities of electric cars vs. gasoline cars, you'd see that over the years the gasoline car greatly increased in capability with while the electric car largely has stagnated. In fact, the electric car from the early 1900's was able to actually outperform gasoline powered cars and still had a long range.

Sure, the Leaf has air conditioning, cruise control, and complies with safety standards of today. That has absolutely nothing to do with the type of powertrain in it, and adding that established technology to an electric car is not anything worthy of mention; it's to be expected.

RE: And...
By Maroon on 11/24/2010 11:35:03 AM , Rating: 2
I guess it all depends on your definition of "revolutionary". But just look at the cost of electricity back then vs. gas to explain why the electric car ceased being seriously developed.

Some would say today's IC engines are revolutionary compared to those that existed in 1908. After all, the basic premise hasn't changed, just the technology that surrounds it.


The Dimwit

RE: And...
By monkeyman1140 on 11/24/2010 10:56:40 AM , Rating: 2
Don't forget the costs of maintaining a gasoline engine car, which is quite significant.
Tune-ups, oil changes, coolant changes, spark plugs, alternator, water pump, ignition parts, fuel pump, transmission fluid, various filters (air, oil, transmission), emission controls.

RE: And...
By gregpet on 11/23/2010 11:55:15 AM , Rating: 2
That would be the Volt!

RE: And...
By Samus on 11/23/2010 1:59:34 PM , Rating: 1
Right...this thing is a joke. For $10,000 more you can get a volt with the same benefits plus a larger car and 360+ mile range.

I wouldn't have either though. The minimum range for an EV should be 150 miles, factoring in heat, windshield wipers, headlights and heated seats just for shits and giggles.

RE: And...
By squezy on 11/23/2010 2:49:51 PM , Rating: 2
You need to drive 400 miles on just one tank all the time .

Oops, no you don't .

RE: And...
By tng on 11/23/2010 3:12:40 PM , Rating: 2
OK so maybe not 400 miles, but let me give you my day today.

Home to work, 49 miles
Work to customer site (2 times, had to get a part for a down machine) 48 miles
Work to home 49 miles

I have to fill up every 3 days, well I could stretch it to 4 days, but 3 is safe in case something unexpected comes up.

Sometimes the customer is about 25 miles one way from the office, so it is even more. Of course there are the times I just go from the office to the airport....

More rating nonsense
By torpor on 11/23/2010 10:37:04 AM , Rating: 1
And the Chevy Volt gets a 230MPG rating, even though it does burn gas?

Clearly, the US government's MPG rating has become a game. Although I'm not entirely convinced that this 99MPG rating doesn't have a political source. After all, who would trust Chrysler to issue a fair rating of a Toyota?

RE: More rating nonsense
By 91TTZ on 11/23/2010 11:38:49 AM , Rating: 2
The Volt doesn't get 230 mpg. That was complete BS marketing by GM. I think they were using some really bad math coupled with the idea that you can start the test with a fully charged battery, end the test with a dead battery, and not count the energy that would be required to charge it back up.

RE: More rating nonsense
By torpor on 11/23/2010 11:56:23 AM , Rating: 4
I would accept your "BS marketing" claim if GM ran the test.

It didn't.

GM's majority shareholder ran the tests, and set the ratings score, for both cars.

RE: More rating nonsense
By gregpet on 11/23/2010 11:57:32 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, we get hate GOVT MOTORS, blah, blah, blah...Get over it!

RE: More rating nonsense
By torpor on 11/23/2010 12:05:50 PM , Rating: 2
My feelings on the matter of the US government owning a private manufacturer aren't important to this conversation, and I certainly didn't mention what I thought of the arrangement.

This is simply a clear and obvious conflict of interest.

And now you've gone from being obtuse to being a troll. Buh-bye.

RE: More rating nonsense
By FITCamaro on 11/23/2010 12:35:46 PM , Rating: 2
Well they claimed they based it on the Volts average driving situation in a back and forth to work environment. If you drove the average commute you'd use x amount of gas. Then factor in how long it'd take to actually use the tank. Then look at actual mileage driven.

But yes you're right.

RE: More rating nonsense
By gregpet on 11/23/2010 11:54:48 AM , Rating: 2
The 230 MPG was before the final release of the official rating formula. The Volt's rating will come down - as it should.

RE: More rating nonsense
By torpor on 11/23/2010 12:03:27 PM , Rating: 2
The rating would have to drop by more than 80% to get to what Popular Mechanics claims the Volt ran in their testing: 32 miles per gallon city, 36 miles per gallon highway.

I'll make you a promise - go ahead and hold me to it.

GM's majority shareholder will never allow the rating for their flagship eco car to go below the arbitrary number they assigned this direct competitor.

RE: More rating nonsense
By gregpet on 11/23/2010 12:17:53 PM , Rating: 2
Now your just being Intellectuality dishonest (maybe obtuse?). You can't put a MPG on an EV Leaf (99 MPG) and then compare it to the charge sustaining mode of the Volt (32-36 MPG). You have to blend the 40 mile pure EV range of the Volt with the 32-36 MPG charge sustaining.

This is a difficult problem to solve which is why the 230MPG was preliminary and will come down.

RE: More rating nonsense
By gregpet on 11/23/2010 12:25:11 PM , Rating: 2
And by the way...The Volt is not a direct competitor of the Leaf. The Leaf is a 100% pure EV vehicle. Some purist want this - they don't want to burn any gas. The downside of course is range anxiety (may get stuck on the side of the road). And long recharge cycles.

The Volt blends EV with a range extender - more of a hybrid but still different from the Prius since the Prius burns gas the second you go above (I think) 15 miles/hour. The Volt is PURE EV for 25-50 miles (depending on other factors) and the goes in to charge sustaining mode for another 400ish miles. No range anxiety.

By bug77 on 11/23/2010 10:47:43 AM , Rating: 2
Wake me up when I can buy an EV that can get me from LA to SF and costs about the same as any other car.

RE: Yawn
By Gyres01 on 11/23/2010 11:16:20 AM , Rating: 2
The only tail you will be getting is that gem is cougar.

RE: Yawn
By Flunk on 11/23/2010 11:39:03 AM , Rating: 2
Any woman you can get with a car isn't worth having anyway.

RE: Yawn
By thrust2night on 11/23/2010 12:06:53 PM , Rating: 2
Worth having for one night at least I would say.

RE: Yawn
By mead drinker on 11/23/2010 2:00:51 PM , Rating: 2
Depends on the car. A lambo reventon yes, a winnebago not so much.

RE: Yawn
By 91TTZ on 11/24/2010 9:28:55 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but I'd like to see her try to make you breakfast in the morning in the lambo.

That's really confusing. And what about diesels?
By 91TTZ on 11/23/2010 10:23:43 AM , Rating: 2
If the EPA is calculating its "mpg" estimates based on the energy content of 1 gallon of gasoline, then what about the claimed mpg of diesel cars?

1 gallon of gasoline has 114,000 BTU/gal, but 1 gallon of diesel has 129,500 BTU/gal.

If a diesel car got 45 mpg, then the gasoline equivalent would only be about 40 mpg, since diesel has a higher energy density and the EPA feels the need to standardize mpg ratings based on the energy content of a gallon of gasoline.

RE: That's really confusing. And what about diesels?
By superPC on 11/23/2010 10:44:40 AM , Rating: 2
it is confusing. a better indicator of fuel efficiency would be to use KWH per mile (or mile per KWH). BTU, calorie, joule, KWH, all are units of energy. why can't we just use that (units of energy per mile) instead of miles per gallon?

By thrust2night on 11/23/2010 12:10:30 PM , Rating: 2
And how would you help the layman understand what a KWH or mile per KWH means? How would they compare the two cars when they want to buy one that gives better mileage without having to go or call a dealership?

By mead drinker on 11/23/2010 1:53:16 PM , Rating: 2
The same way you read your electric bill.

All cars would be reported the same way and comparing them would be quite easy. Joules of fuel inputted per mile.

So doing the math.
By spamreader1 on 11/23/2010 11:18:10 AM , Rating: 2
33.7 kwh * $0.37/kwh = $12.47/99miles

I know I pay an insane rate for eletricity (the joys of electric co-ops, I get no choice...stupid Texas energy deregultion..) so looks like a good deal for the majority of Americans that pay what for kwh now? (not sure what the average is, I know a few people who only pay $0.08/kwh in town)

So would be 33.7 kwh * $0.08 = $2.70/99miles

RE: So doing the math.
By cknobman on 11/23/2010 12:09:08 PM , Rating: 2
Wow I live in Texas and Im on a co-op and my rate is only $0.10/kwh which makes a charge for me cost $3.37.

Take a 33(for mathematical sake) mpg car @2.60 per gallon which makes the same 99 mile range cost $7.8.

So if all things stayed consistent it would cut my fuel/energy cost of travel a little more than half.

Not bad if you can live with the short range.

FTR I live in DFW.

RE: So doing the math.
By Nutzo on 11/23/2010 1:35:48 PM , Rating: 2
Out here in California we have a stepped rate. $.10 to start and rising to as high as $.38 for most people.

Since an electric car will be in addition to what I'm currently using, I'd be paying $.28-$.38 per kwh which kills most the savings over my current gas power car that gets 35MPG @ 75MPH on the highway.

By MrTeal on 11/23/2010 10:42:51 AM , Rating: 3
This formula is moronic. They are simply saying that 1 gallon of gas contains 115,000 BTU of energy, which is 33.7kWhrs.

Electric motors and drives are very efficient, gasoline engines are not. HOWEVER, the coal-fired plant producing the electricity, while not ICU-engine bad is not anywhere nearly as efficient as an electric motor. This completely ignores the efficiency lost in converting the principle fuel source to electricity and the transmission and distribution losses.

RE: Retarded
By 91TTZ on 11/23/2010 11:32:42 AM , Rating: 2
That's a very good point.

But I'm sure they'd market it like this:

"This car can be recharged with electricity generated by environmentally-friendly wind turbines"

Good for starters
By spkay on 11/23/2010 10:57:33 AM , Rating: 3
I'm impressed by the Leaf as a 'first viable all electric vehicle' and think there is a decent sized market for a ZEV w/ a 100 mi range. For me personally though I will be waiting for the generation that provides about double the range, min of 200 mi and has a rapid recharge time (1/2 capacity) of less than 1 hour. That would allow me my 280 mi round trip to my family's home in NJ with a single stop to eat, restroom break etc. without too much delay. Currently the Leaf would only work for me as a commute vehicle. But it's a great start by Nissan IMO.

RE: Good for starters
By FITCamaro on 11/23/2010 12:40:43 PM , Rating: 2
Other than the fact that its absolutely hideous? Sure why not....

Note to automakers: stop designing cars with faces
By 91TTZ on 11/23/2010 11:47:30 AM , Rating: 2
I think one problem with some of these new cars is that you have overly-emotional artsy people designing cars, and they have really weird tastes. Lots of these new cars look like they were intentionally designed to have faces, which just looks awkward and stupid as hell. And it's not just a face, it's a really queer, dopey looking face. The look alone would keep me from buying some of these cars.

By monkeyman1140 on 11/24/2010 11:07:31 AM , Rating: 2
I think one problem with some of these new cars is that you have overly-emotional artsy people designing cars, and they have really weird tastes. Lots of these new cars look like they were intentionally designed to have faces, which just looks awkward and stupid as hell. And it's not just a face, it's a really queer, dopey looking face. The look alone would keep me from buying some of these cars.

Men with small penises wouldn't buy these cars anyway. That's why the corvette still is for sale.

73 miles is absolutely horrible
By jimbojimbo on 11/23/2010 11:50:57 AM , Rating: 2
If it was 150 it would actually be more acceptable but 73? If someone lives 25-30 miles from their destination which is completely common it would just get them there and back safely if they weren't using their A/C or heater or stereo or headlights. Now account for what happens when they hit traffic. That 73 is teetering on getting stranded on the road now with the only option you have if you run out of juice is calling in a tow truck.
Nissan should give away free AAA memberships with this car because people are going to need it.

RE: 73 miles is absolutely horrible
By gregpet on 11/23/2010 12:02:44 PM , Rating: 2
And that's why GM built the Volt...Range Anxiety! You can still do 95% of your driving on EV and still not have to worry about getting stuck on the side of the road.

And by the way the Plug-in Prius that all of you can't stop wanking off to will be priced at $36,000 (released by Toyota last week) and have an EV range of around 15 miles. So spare me all the Volt is too expensive and I can by a Prius for $20,000...

Just a transitional technology
By bitterman0 on 11/23/2010 1:12:30 PM , Rating: 2
IMO, this is just a transitional technology, and will remain confined to a niche market for its lifetime (e.g. a "hip and cool" second or even third, but never first car).

Whatever happened to hydrogen-powered (AKA "fuel cell") vehicles, though? That's your 1:1 replacement of ICU engines in terms of range on a single tank of fuel and speed of refueling. Surely, current designs are not very efficient, but the whole research into this area seems to be stifled to the point of never making it to production.

If the infrastructure needs to change to accommodate "alternative" fuels and cars, let it be hydrogen fuel refilling stations rather than spent battery swapping stations.

Spending "spare" electricity (that is, unclaimed electricity during off-peak hours) to generate hydrogen fuel suddenly becomes a viable way to solve the problem of storing excess energy.

And, best of all, it reduces our dependency on rare metals from the well-known communist nation.

By monkeyman1140 on 11/24/2010 10:46:00 AM , Rating: 2
That's because hydrogen fuel cell cars are a FRAUD, perpetrated by the oil industry.
Fuel cells will never be cheap, the storage and transfer of hydrogen is expensive and impractical, the range of a fuel cell car is barely 50 miles, and they are quite inefficient in colder weather.

HFC cars sound appealing and futuristic, and the oil industry lobbied congress to ditch funding of battery cars in favor of hydrogen because THEY KNOW IT DOESN'T WORK. Its just a cynical delaying tactic to try and keep us from the inevitiability that we will be driving battery powered cars.

Hydrogen cars are electric too BTW.

Volt will fail. Leaf will succeed.
By SimpleLance on 11/23/2010 1:51:38 PM , Rating: 2
The Volt was tested, and it was determined that it is cheaper to run it on gas than on electricity.

The Leaf on the other hand is always cheaper to run than any gas engine car.

I have several friends who pre-ordered, and will soon be receiving their Leaf.

By gregpet on 11/23/2010 2:15:52 PM , Rating: 2
You, sir, are an idiot.

The Volt is cheaper to run on gas than electricity? At 35ish MPG in charge sustaining mode (running on gas) that's a pretty stupid thing to say.

And I hope your friends don't travel beyond a 40 mile radius of their house or they will be walking home.

The EPA needs new metric
By KIAman on 11/23/2010 2:04:03 PM , Rating: 2
You would think all this time, the EPA would have the time to start thinking of a new metric to determine vehicle efficiency.

Here's my proposal.

$/distance or distance/$

Display average cost of electricity, gas, diesel, hydrogen, ethenol, french fry oil, human feces, etc. Then calculate the cost per mile or mile per fixed cost and be done with it.

RE: The EPA needs new metric
By mindless1 on 11/23/2010 11:18:47 PM , Rating: 2
I would like the same info on quarter pounders with cheese.

In Theory
By Shadowmaster625 on 11/23/2010 3:06:57 PM , Rating: 2
If a car does not have a gas engine and all the accompanying baggage, you are theoretically saving around $5000, if not much more. Solution: buy the cheapest possible ZEV with its limited range, and then rent a car for longer trips. The question is, how many times a year could you rent a car from the money you saved by buying a car with no gas engine or other extended range option? And would that be enough? Assuming you saved $5000 by nixing the gas engine, then over the course of 10 years you could rent a car about 10 days a year. Or more if you get weekend specials.

RE: In Theory
By 91TTZ on 11/23/2010 4:21:31 PM , Rating: 2
Why do you think that you'd save $5000 if you left out the engine? You'd still have to propel the car with something and I don't think that an electric motor + batteries + electricity will be as cheap as the gasoline engine + gasoline.

Disney or Pixar Badge?
By sorry dog on 11/24/2010 10:56:42 AM , Rating: 2
I swear the car looks like life sized merchandise for Cars.

Surprisingly, I've barely seen anyone here talk about the driving experience for theses cars. I've never driven one, but I'd bet my current car that it sucks.

My last 3 cars.
MR2 - economical, small, quick,go kart handling, fun
Landcruiser - Hummer like MPG, takes kids through mud and trail, can run over small trees, fun
Mazda 6 V6 Manual - kinda fast, wife lets kids ride, OK mpg, fun

Leaf/Prius - cheap to operate, screams I'm green, might have 2 seconds of fun if traction control lets me pull a handbrake I having fun yet?

Sorry folks but if I actually have 25 grrr to spend on a car (which I don't right now) the cost of electricity is about number 103 on my priority list.

RE: Disney or Pixar Badge?
By monkeyman1140 on 11/24/2010 11:05:25 AM , Rating: 2
You just aren't the target market apparently. It doesn't mean there isn't a demand.

Lots of people thought that buying a retarded-looking army jeep for $75,000 made sense. The market can be very fickle.

People have always believed that pure electric cars have poor performance. That just shows basic ignorance about electric motors. These cars have electronic governors on them to keep them from going too FAST. They can be remarkably dangerous without a speed governor. The EV-1 could go 150mph without its speed limiter. Problem was its low rolling resistance tires would explode at that speed, so GM limited the top speed to 80mph.

The leaf should have significant torque and acceleration, even though it isn't meant to be "sporty".

Anyone else think
By FITCamaro on 11/23/2010 12:41:28 PM , Rating: 2
The front end looks like a retarded puppy?

More crap
By andrinoaa on 11/25/2010 2:24:32 AM , Rating: 1
I agree it looks like a FORD TAURUS, hahahahah the japs have cought the yankie desease- shite looking cars.
Seriously, how much gas do you put in the tank? What, non? So how many mpg you say? Am I missing something? Whats the agenda here? It looks like some one is trying to compare apples with oranges and getting orapples, hahahahah

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