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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 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.


"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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