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Nissan gets into the zero emissions game with the 2010 LEAF EV

When it comes to hybrid and electric vehicles, names like Prius, Insight, and Volt manage to grab the bulk of the limelight. The Toyota Prius is the darling of the "green" movement when it comes to fuel efficient vehicles and the Volt hasn't even made it into the hands of the buying public yet -- but it still garners attention from the automotive press (and prospective buyers).

Nissan is now looking to put its name up near the top of the list when it comes to zero emissions vehicles according to Autoblog. The company this weekend announced its new 2010 LEAF EV which melds Nissan/Renault's current design theme with an electric-only vehicle.

As with most next generation electric vehicles, the LEAF uses an advanced lithium-ion battery pack (48 modules, 90kW) and has electric motors which deliver 80kW (107 HP). The combo allows the LEAF to have a driving range of 100 miles and a top speed of 87 mph according to Nissan. By Nissan's estimates, the 100 mile driving range is enough to satisfy the daily commute requirements of 80% of American drivers (Nissan says that the average U.S. driver has a daily commute of less than 62 miles).

When it comes to styling, most would be hard pressed to call the LEAF "another Prius knockoff" which has been a label affixed to the Honda Insight. Instead, the LEAF takes its design direction from a few vehicles already in the Nissan stable including the Murano, Rogue, and Versa -- albeit with more aerodynamic curves and surfaces.

Given that the LEAF is a fully electric vehicle and doesn't have an "extended range" gasoline engine/generator like the Volt, the vehicle will rely heavily on a robust electric charging infrastructure. As a result, Nissan will initially market the vehicle in U.S cities which have taken the initiative to provide charging station for EVs including Phoenix, San Diego, Raleigh, and Seattle.

"Nissan LEAF is a tremendous accomplishment – one in which all Nissan employees can take great pride," said Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn. "We have been working tirelessly to make this day a reality – the unveiling of a real-world car that has zero – not simply reduced – emissions. It's the first step in what is sure to be an exciting journey – for people all over the world, for Nissan and for the industry."

Nissan expects to market the LEAF in the U.S., Europe, and Japan next year. Pricing has not been announced, but Nissan describes the vehicle as "affordable".

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Wait... Gas is still Cheeper
By GruntboyX on 8/2/2009 1:31:06 PM , Rating: 3
Someone Check My Math as i am not trying to be a troll or start a flame war. But..

If this car has 90KW battery back that gets it 100 miles then assuming a $.12 per KWH eletric rate. That means it will cost $.12 X 90 = $10.80 to travel 100 miles.

Consequently, an equivalent sized Nissan Versa gets 34MPG which means 100 miles will use 2.94 gallons (well say 3 not to be anal). National Average for Gasoline today is $2.70. So... 3 X 2.70 equals $8.10.

So as long as gas stays below about $3.00 a gallon electric vehicles are more expensive if not equivalent in price to operate. And that assumes electricity rates do not track the price of oil.

IF i did my math right. Then i don't see the american public accepting electric vehicles because it comes with more limitations than a tried and true gas vehicle.

Doesn't mean we shouldn't still investigate alternative fuels, but i feel it tarnishes the deal a little and hurts adoption.

RE: Wait... Gas is still Cheeper
By kaoken on 8/2/09, Rating: 0
RE: Wait... Gas is still Cheeper
By jhb116 on 8/2/2009 2:42:31 PM , Rating: 3
Assuming many other things are fixed as well. All that electricity has to come from somewhere - its just a matter of time before our electric prices follow oil prices. Why - to upgrade our (US) decrepit energy infrastructure. These types of cars would like force CA into a rolling blackout/brown outs again...

I also wish they'd stop calling these "zero emissions" vehicles - again the electricity came from somewhere, most likely coal in the states, so it isn't exactly zero emissions.

RE: Wait... Gas is still Cheeper
By Solandri on 8/2/2009 11:33:51 PM , Rating: 2
As is pointed out below, 90 kW is the power output - the rate at which the battery can pump out energy. Not its capacity. Power is measured in Watts, energy is measured in watt-hours. They are totally different things, like miles per hour vs. miles.

RE: Wait... Gas is still Cheeper
By walk2k on 8/2/2009 2:07:26 PM , Rating: 1
That looks about right, only the charging process isn't 100% efficient so there is some loss, figure about 10-15% higher electric costs.

It also assumes 34 MPG which is quite optimistic, the 2009 Versa 1.6 Base gets 29 MPG combined, 26 city / 34 hwy. So yes if 100% of your driving is on the highway at 55 mph exactly with no traffic and you keep the windows up and the A/C off...

More likely you'd get closer to the combined 29 MPG which means your costs are now more like (3.5 gal x $2.70) = $9.45

Around town for short trips of course the electric vehicle really shines whereas your gas Versa might see 25 MPG or less, (4 gal x $2.70) = $10.80

All this assumes gas will stay below $3/gal (it won't) and that electric rates won't go down during the night when everyone is charging their cars which would be the plan if the whole world switched over to electric vehicles.

RE: Wait... Gas is still Cheeper
By Alphaman on 8/2/2009 2:32:50 PM , Rating: 5
Sorry, but your math is wrong.

If you check the specs on the car, while the battery pack can output a peak 90KW, it is a 24KWh battery.

24KWh * 12¢/KWh = $2.88

So as long as gas remains above $2.88/gallon, you're getting the equivalent of 100+ MPG with a fraction of the CO2 and other pollutants

Also, check your local utility rates to see if you get a break if you charge overnight. You may actually pay less.

RE: Wait... Gas is still Cheeper
By michael67 on 8/2/09, Rating: 0
RE: Wait... Gas is still Cheeper
By Keeir on 8/2/2009 7:24:04 PM , Rating: 2
No, his math was wrong

He multiple 90 kW by 12 cents per kWh and arrived at a cents only figure. He messed up his units.

Furthermore, 24 kWh is the total capcity of the battery. At most, we are looking at ~20kWh actually usuable or usuage figures around 200 Wh/Mile. A Versa uses .03 gallons/Mile.

If Gasoline costs 3 dollars and electricity .15 cents per kWh. Leaf is approx 3 cents in fuel per mile and Versa is 9 cents in fuel per mile.

By SpaceJumper on 8/3/2009 9:46:25 AM , Rating: 2
The government will eventually put road and misc. taxes on the electricity, and it will be the same as gas. It is not in the government agenda that to give you a better deal in the long run.

RE: Wait... Gas is still Cheeper
By michael67 on 8/3/2009 12:48:29 PM , Rating: 2
Yes his conclusion was wrong, but not his math, because he had taken the Nr's from Dailytech, so he was presented whit wrong Nr's to do his math, so his conclusion was only wrong because he was given the wrong Nr's to work whit.
As with most next generation electric vehicles, the LEAF uses an advanced lithium-ion battery pack (48 modules, 90kW) and has electric motors which deliver 80kW

It should have bin: (48 modules, 24 kWh, Power output over 90kW)

RE: Wait... Gas is still Cheeper
By Keeir on 8/3/2009 2:03:00 PM , Rating: 2
Units are a part of Math.

The correct answer to 90 kW * 0.12 dollars per kWh is 2.80 dollars per hour

BTW, maximum power output of Batteries is also very important. For example, the Mini-E, Tesla Roadster/S, and Chevy Volt need batteries capable for more than 90 kW, since thier motors can run at higher power levels. So I am not sure I would even call it the wrong numbers.

At best, the OP made an honest mistake, which he himself realized. But he would have realized the source of his mistake if he done the math correctly and ended with his actual units, rather than the mistaken ones.

RE: Wait... Gas is still Cheeper
By Keeir on 8/3/2009 2:04:07 PM , Rating: 2
Sigh, no edit button,

10.80 dollar per hour

RE: Wait... Gas is still Cheeper
By gorbush on 8/4/2009 3:39:43 AM , Rating: 2
You're right, but that number is true only for maximum output power.

By michael67 on 8/4/2009 2:10:42 PM , Rating: 2
Yep and unless your a race driver you will never use this mouths power all the time.
when your on your the speed limit and you trotted back you properly using about 10~20KWh

RE: Wait... Gas is still Cheeper
By kaoken on 8/3/2009 3:19:34 PM , Rating: 1
The terms NISSAN uses to describe battery capacity is misleading. NISSAN's "capacity" is the amount of power it can output in an hour, 24kwh. And it's over 90kw which is the max capacity in the traditional sense. So the amount of energy which is in the battery is 90kw.

And also, energy and power are the same thing.

RE: Wait... Gas is still Cheeper
By kaoken on 8/3/2009 3:23:58 PM , Rating: 1
Whoops I take that back, Power is energy per time.

RE: Wait... Gas is still Cheeper
By Ammohunt on 8/3/2009 2:54:10 PM , Rating: 2
And don't forget that there is no such thing as zero emissons. lat time i checked burning coal to generate electricity releases carbon.

RE: Wait... Gas is still Cheeper
By gorbush on 8/4/2009 3:56:44 AM , Rating: 2
To be precise: Carbon Dioxide and many more potentially deadly particles (i.e. SOx, NOx, even U238 and of course some dust). But there are installation that remove most of pollutants. There are even projects to pump CO2 under ground.
On the other hand power plant energy production in much more efficient than ICE (40-50% vs 20-30%). Even if you subtract 7-10% power transmition losses and charger efficiency (about 90%) it isn't that bad (33-43% vs 20-30%). Li-Ion battery can be recharged with 99% efficiency.

But the most desirable solution for power generation is to promote nuclear or even better solar and wind. Also natural gas isn't as bad as coal.

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