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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 mead drinker on 11/23/2010 1:40:20 PM , Rating: 3
Sure. Battery exchange is a very feasible concept and one that could be the answer for issues regarding range. Quite simple model really.

Electric stations could purchase lots of batteries and amortize their cost against the expected life expectancy of them and include this with the cost of the energy being delivered in them. Currently, Toyota claims that the current gen. Prius battery has a life expectancy of 150,000 miles with a replacement cost of around 5-6k so about 4 cents per mile + energy.

Manufacturers would not sell vehicles with batteries and so the issue of ownership and comparable exchange is answered. The stations own the batteries and therefore the responsibility of service and liability resides with them, albeit at a cost to be forwarded to the consumer. If a battery is faulty well then you exchange for a new one and voila, operable battery. Batteries could be used in circuits with each cell removable and therefore not all batteries have to be swapped during a fill up. Those that have not been used before remain and the depleted ones are replaced.

The real issue is that of standardization and regulation. A gov. body would have to require inspection of the batteries to ensure that the consumer is not being provided with batteries that do not discharge properly and efficiently against standard metrics. Batteries that do not adhere to this criteria are disposed of. Battery packs would have to be a standard model. etc. etc. etc.

The point is we do pretty much the same thing with our current gas infrastructure, meter regulation, octane standardization, etc. The only problem is we don't have an energy distribution infrastructure to feed the stations with.


RE: And...
By Spuke on 11/23/2010 4:01:36 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Manufacturers would not sell vehicles with batteries and so the issue of ownership and comparable exchange is answered.
Which creates a problem with getting the cars off the lots. No one's going to go with not being able to take their new car home with them when purchased. Also, this removes liability from the dealership on whether or not the car is functional when it's sold. A dealer would almost have to partner with a third party, and I don't know about you, but if I was selling cars, the last thing I want is someone else muddying up the waters with my sale. Manufacturers should make, and be responsible for, the entire vehicle. Standardized batteries are an idea but there poses the problem with packaging. Not everyone wants a car shaped like the Leaf. Safety regulations are bad enough, designers would also be hampered by battery size and design.


"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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