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."
quote: Besides the price premium for electrics, I really have to say the range of these vehicles is a deal breaker.
quote: 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.
quote: Economic conditions in 2010 are allowing an old idea to re-establish a niche market
quote: Seriously. If not for the government push of this stuff, it wouldn't even be on the table.
quote: At the same time diversification of our power production is the answer to not becoming dependent on one technology or resource.