Print 60 comment(s) - last by Keeir.. on Feb 16 at 5:50 PM

Nissan LEAF
Nissan to be aggressive with LEAF pricing

Nissan is revealing a few more details about the buying process and deliveries for its upcoming LEAF fully-electric vehicle. Nissan announced yesterday that potential customers can begin putting down $100 deposits on the LEAF starting in April -- to be the first to get news about when the exact date in April deposits will be taken, Nissan recommends that you sign up at this website.

In August, Nissan will begin taking firm orders for the LEAF. Finally, in December, deliveries of the first LEAF EVs will take place around the same time in the United States, Japan, and Europe.

For inquiring minds, the battery pack will be included in the purchase price of the LEAF contrary to previous reports and speculation on the subject. Speaking of pricing, a Nissan spokesman claims that the official price of the LEAF -- which will also be announced in April -- will be close to that of a base model Toyota Prius. Toyota's Prius currently retails for just under $23,000 in the United States, so that would be an astonishing feat for the Japanese automaker.

We're more inclined to be believe that the "low 20s" price tag is after a $7,500 federal tax credit which is sure to attract quite a few buyers. However, if the price tag is before the $7,500 credit, Nissan dealerships might have trouble keeping up with demand for the compact hatchback.

"The Nissan LEAF purchase process is effortless, transparent and accessible, offering value with a one-stop-shop approach for everything related to the car, including the assessment, permitting and installation of in-home battery charging units," said Carlos Tavares, Chairman, Nissan Americas. "We want everyone to feel good about having a car that is affordable, fun to drive and good for the environment."

The Nissan LEAF uses a 24kWh lithium-ion battery pack and an 80kW electric motor (107hp). The vehicle has a maximum range of 100 miles and can travel at up to 87 mph which should be fast enough for just about every U.S. market save for Atlanta.

Although not a full-electric vehicle like the LEAF, the Chevrolet Volt will also be vying for a place U.S. customers' garages this year. The Volt will hit the streets in the closing months of 2010 and could be priced in the low $30,000 range after a $7,500 federal tax credit. The Volt has a battery-only range of 40 miles, but can use its gasoline engine/generator to travel an additional 300 miles.

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By porkpie on 2/12/2010 5:03:56 PM , Rating: 2
"To replace that much demand would literally require two hundred million cars plus nationwide."

Lol, what?? That would be a signifcant portion of our entire fleet, a level of usage that would nearly double electricity demand. (28% of total energy usage is from transportation, 39% is electric generation).

2 million cars charging in California overnight would generate 48 BILLION kw-h of additional demand. That's more than enough to put their nighttime winter usage into the red zone.

"Most consumers aren't going to be stupid enough to pay 4x the rate "

If a consumer has to pay 4X as much to charge his car during the day, he won't buy the car in the first place. Not unless he's one of the rare fringe minority that never envisions himself as needing to charge except at night. That was my point in the first place.

And you failed to respond to the most significant point, anyway. Once you get a few million cars charging at night, its no longer an off-peak period. It BECOMES the peak period. Then what do you do?

By Keeir on 2/13/2010 12:29:09 PM , Rating: 3
Sorry Porkpie, converting every single passenger car to electricity will not double our electricity demand.

200,000,000 * 15,000 miles per year per car * 1000 Wh/ 3 Miles = 1 * 10^15 Wh of electricity.

Assumption = Tesla Roadster gets approx 4 miles per kWh from wall. Average light duty car and truck will get 3 miles per kWh from the wall.

Last year the US generated ~ 4 * 10 ^15 Wh of electricity.

It gets better. For each gallon of gasoline distilled, approx 1 kWh of electricity + 4 kWh of NG is consumed. Each gallon of gasoline saved could therefore be saving ~3kWh of electricity production.

The fleet average being replaced is somewhere below 25 miles to the gallon. So we can use that to be conservative.

200,000,000 cars * 15,000 miles pre year per car * 1 gallon/25 miles * 3000 Wh/gallon= 3.6 * 10 ^14 Wh

So we end up with less than a 20% increase. Why?

#1. Who says we should convert the entire transportation industry? Clearly liquid fuels still have a place

#2. Electric drive is far more efficient than traditional ICE. It is better the refine fuel oil #2, burn fuel oil #2 in a CC plant and drive the car using that electricity than it is to distill into gasoline, transport to a gas station and fill up a Prius.

48 billion kWh? BTW? Does each car travel 100 miles a day?!? 24 kWh is enough to push most electric cars 100+ miles. Average demand will likely be much much closer to 20 billion kWh a day or less from 2 million electric cars.

We get it, you don't like electric cars, but at least keep your estimates legitimate

By porkpie on 2/13/2010 3:10:17 PM , Rating: 3
Several errors. Let's start here:

"24 kWh is enough to push most electric cars 100+ miles"

It's enough to drive the LEAF (a subcompact) 100 miles...IF you use the LA-4/FTP-72 driving cycle, which is quite unrealistic, even for city driving. For highway driving, its not even in the ballpark. Your 3kWh/mile figure was closer, but still optimistic under normal conditions.

You've also forgotten that, to put 24 kW-h INTO a battery pack, you need to generate considerably more than that. Line losses, conversion losses, and coulometric charging efficiency all adds up to about a 20% loss, meaning you have to generate a bit more than 28 kW-h to charge a 24 kW-h pack.

"200,000,000 * 15,000 miles per year per car * * 1000 Wh/ 3 Miles "

The US fleet is now 250 million cars. 15,000 miles/yr sounds about right. Working in loss values (as described above) plus a little more realistic driving cycle will give you about 2.5m/kW-k. The new figure becomes 1.5E15 Wh, or 50% higher than your total. That's also just for passenger vehicles. Converting the nation's entire fleet will double that value again, to about 3E15 Wh, which DOES come close to doubling our annual electricity output.

Yes, you're correct that we don't need to convert every vehicle. But the fact remains that even if we do no more than convert 15% of passenger vehicles alone, states like California will be unable to meet the increased demand. An increase of as little as 3% in peak periods can mean the difference between meeting demand, and rolling blackouts.

"We get it, you don't like electric cars"

I said California needs to build more capacity if they want electric vehicles. How on earth did you translate that to I "don't like" EVs? Wishful thinking?

By Keeir on 2/16/2010 5:50:43 PM , Rating: 2
Because you make a habit out of ignoring the data right in front of you on this subject. For an otherwise intelligent person, this is typically a clear signal of bias.

Lets start with production Electric Cars and thier efficieny. You suggest we assume a from the wall efficieny of 2.5 miles/kWh.

The Only Electric Car currently EPA tested is the Telsa Roadster. When measured from the wall , it gets approx 100 miles to 28 kWh of electrical power. This is on the combined cycle. I repeat. A performance Roadster gets 3.57 miles per kWh from the wall.

The Leaf has yet been tested. We know they claim 100 miles on LA04. We know they have a 24 kWh battery pack (roughly). We do not know the SOC range for the Leaf. Making claims about its efficieny is premature. If it is similar to other electric cars, it will likely return 4-5 miles/kWh from the Battery and 3.5-4.5 miles/kWh from the Wall. But thats a big -IF-.

The Closet Gasoline Equivalent, the 2010 Lotus Elise gets only 21/27 MPG. The Telsa Roadster is larger, heavier, and less aerodynamic than the Lotus Elise.

Lets further assume that the average passenger electric car is as efficient as the performance roadster. I base this on the simple comparison of the Lotus Elise at 21/27 MPG seems like a fairly accurate point for most C/D segment sedans favored in the US market currently.

The US passenger fleet roughly breaks down into

135 million Passenger Cars (Avg. of 12,000 miles per Car)
100 million Pickup/SUVs (Avg. of 15,000 per Car)
5 Million Heavy Duty Pickups
6 Million Motorcycles.

So lets return to California for a second.

In 2006, California had 33.2 Million Register Vehicles. If we assume California roughly follows national trends, we can assume California has ~22 Million passenger cars (18.6 rounded up for growth and heavier passenger car bias)

If California could somehow convert 15% of these cars to electric overnight, then we might have an issue.

Thankfully, California is already thinking ahead and installing smart meters. Electric Power at peak times will likely be 4 times higher than non-peak times. Electric Car owners will likely be the sort that doesn't mind setting the timer in thier electric car to charge during off-peak times. Of course, there is likely to be many who don't. I suggest we use the 80/20 rule. 20% of electric car owners will be feel the need to charge at full power during peak times.

So, if magically California replaced 15% of its passenger cars with electric overnight, we would end up with 660,000 cars attempting to charge all at once. If we further assume everyone uses the 220V and 15 Amp maximum for home charing units for the Leaf/E-Mini/Volt (3.3 kW draw), this is around 2,178 MW. In peak times, Californians currently demand 40,000 MW. Realistically speaking, its hard to imagine even this situation coming to pass.. at least not fast enough for people to react. At an adoption rate of 500,000 cars a year, California would still have years to react to people's charging habits.

As to the total generation capacity... well,
22 Million * .15 * 12,000/356 * 1 kWh/3.57 kWh = 31.2 Million kWh per day. Between 1 am and 5 am, California often has 8,000 MW or more of spare capacity. Enough to completely charge all 3.3 Million Electric Cars. In 4 hours of a 24 hour day.

So I guess all the doom and gloom confuses me. The US (policy) has decide to move to either: Gas-Electric Hybrids, B-Segment Class Cars, or Full Electric Cars.

Full Electric Cars will not be for everyone. But Full electric cars are likely be much cheaper to run (than any other alternative). Pollute (based on average US power generation currently) less than a Toyota Prius, on both CO2 and real pollution. Consume less energy per mile than a Toyota Prius. As a special bonus they are likely to be larger than B-segment class cars and are likely be much more fun to drive than the Gas-Electric Hybrids so far offered to us.

We can all stand around and shake our heads because the grid in 2010 couldn't absorb the entire fleet conversion (including pick-ups/etc which don't make sense currently) or realize that the grid in 2050, when even if we started to aggressively promote electrics today we would finally have more than 90% fleet electric, is likely to be very different animal than todays grid. We can also realize that even at ...optomistic... adoption rates, the grid in 2010 can take a bit of the extra shock and electric companys will have years and years and years before millions of cars will be pluging in at once.

California has already taken the first step. Installing smart meters will help ensure people charge thier cars at night. If in the next 5 years, this proves ineffective at focing people to charge thier electric cars overnight, I have every confidence that California will just keep raising peak power prices.

Who knows, mass adoption of EV cars might even be the boon that Nuclear and Hydro companies need to promote thier projects. A smoothed out demand curve for electricity will yield significantly better returns for these two types of uber-clean power. We all might end up with cheaper per kWh power because of mass electric cars, rather than -more- expensive.

"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer

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