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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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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

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher
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