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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 mindless1 on 11/23/2010 11:03:34 PM , Rating: 2
It's not current tech that is the limitation, it is design philosophy. Battery packs could indeed be on rails under the car, a bit like a cassette tape arrangement but they are not designed that way because there is no infrastructure to make it worthwhile to build.

It need not be smaller or lighter, it would be a trivial thing to build a hydraulic lift-'n-swap machine that could do it.

Super capacitors do not have the energy density per volume to accomplish this and they are very costly per storage capacity compared even to the high expense of EV battery packs.

Even if the idea would work to recharge the batteries from a supercap that is beyond our capability there would be no point to transfer the energy to the battery pack, the car could just run from the supercapacitor.

What we really need is simpler. Electric rails in roads as the new power grid. Not every road, just the larger ones where pedestrians aren't allowed (for safety factors) so we can greatly reduce the size of the battery pack and have it recharging instead of powering the car most of the time the car is being driven.

That wouldn't handle all possible scenarios but neither do EVs right now.


RE: And...
By lolmuly on 11/23/2010 11:48:06 PM , Rating: 2
We might as well dump all of the money an electrified highway would cost into researching wireless energy transfer and achieve the same goal plus added benefits.


RE: And...
By mindless1 on 11/24/2010 4:08:39 AM , Rating: 2
Ridiculous, electrified highways we can have now using existing tech while wireless energy transfer enough to drive all vehicles on the road is NOT SOMETHING YOU COULD EVER HOPE TO SEE IN YOUR LIFETIME IF IT IS EVEN PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE.

Remember the difference between scientists showing some demo and what is possible at any meaningful scale.

For example, I could demonstrate that I can thread macaroni on a string, but that is no evidence I could do so at a rate or quantity to build a space ship out of macaroni that would transport you to the magical land where what you imagine is possible, really is.


RE: And...
By monkeyman1140 on 11/24/2010 10:42:24 AM , Rating: 2
Its just cheaper for private industry to wire up a charging station in the parking lot. They don't WANT you to leave, they want you to stay and shop, have coffee, eat, hang out in there store.

A charging station just makes better economic sense. Give it a few years, those things will sprout up like weeds everywhere, and will be as ubiquitous as cellphone towers.


"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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