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Nov 152009
 

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Touted as “the world’s first affordable, zero-emissions car,” the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle made its way Stateside with the kickoff of the Nissan Leaf Tour. This program will travel around the US, touting the advantages of the Yokohama, Japan- / Nashville, Tennessee-based car maker. We had a chance to check out the car up close and personal in a posh setting complete with an open bar and upscale setting in Santa Monica, CA.

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Offering an effective range of 100 miles, the Leaf can be charged up to 80% of its full capacity in under 30 minutes with a quick charger (we have no idea what this charger looks like nor was it on display at the event). Charging at home through a 200V outlet (with which US homes aren’t equipped so a call to an electrician will be required) to full capacity will take approximately 8 hours.

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Two immediate points come to mind. One, this vehicle certainly isn’t designed for rural areas where the distance between, say, home and work is longer than 100 miles. It’s definitely realistic for city dwellers who drive no more than 30 miles a day between home, work and play. Two, any vehicle that forces people to change their driving behavior, such as filling up with fuel at a gas station in 5 minutes, and adapting to an 8-hour charging cycle at home is going to be a tough task.

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The longer term consideration is this – since only about 18% of electricity in the United States is generated through renewable resources, could this and other electrical vehicles truly be considered as “zero emissions”? The electricity has to come from somewhere and it’s not coming from wind, solar or hydroelectric sources for the most part. Sure, ongoing innovations and increases in renewable resources will surely help til the balance in nature’s favor but I believe “zero emissions” is a misnomer at best. At least for now.

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Aug 032009
 


Not to get left behind in the zero emissions race, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (Japan) today unveiled the Nissan LEAF, “the world’s first affordable, zero-emission car.” Scheduled for launch in late 2010 in Japan, the United States, and Europe, the LEAF, according to Nissan, will present:

  • Zero-emission power train and platform
  • Affordable pricing
  • Distinctive design
  • Real-world range autonomy – 160km (100 miles)
  • Connected Mobility: Advanced intelligent transportation (IT) system

The LEAF is powered by laminated compact lithium-ion batteries, which generate power output of over 90kW, while its electric motor delivers 80kW/280Nm. A combination of the LEAF’s regenerative braking system and innovative lithium-ion battery packs enables the car to deliver a driving range of more than 160km (100 miles) on one full charge*. (*US LA4 mode)

The LEAF can be charged up to 80% of its full capacity in just under 30 minutes with a quick charger. Charging at home through a 200V outlet is estimated to take approximately eight hours.

The real question we have, however, is… although the LEAF and other electric vehicles themselves may not produce any emissions, they still do not solve the emissions that are created by electricity production. Whether it’s coal or nuclear, electricity is still produced for the most part by processes which consumes fossil fuels. Until the production process and the infrastructure to support it switches over to wind, solar and hydroelectric systems, we at RevdCars still feel the notion of an emissions-free electric vehicle is just that… a notion.

Sourcebox

Nissan North America
P.O. Box 685003
Franklin TN 37068-5003
(800) NISSAN-1

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