Nissan’s LEAF EV should make a big splash in North America

August 18, 2009

Nissan's LEAF EV should make a big splash in North America Nissan’s electric vehicle (EV) for the masses is expected to hit Japan and North America next year.  LEAF, as this car is called, has been anticipated since 2006 and Nissan has been working with cities, states and the U.S. government to make sure that its debut goes smoothly.

In 2006 Blorge Publisher John Pospisil, reported that Nissan was going to release an environmentally friendly car in 2010.  At the time, the car was expected to be a gas/electric hybrid, but with Nissan’s alliance with Renault, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the plans changed to an electric only vehicle.

With GM’s doubts about the Volt, and the extremely high price of Tesla’s cars, the LEAF should be able to slide into the United States as the affordable electric car alternative.  Nissan, with the aid of a $1.6 billion loan from the U.S. Department of Energy, is working to modify its plant in Smyrna, Tennessee so that lithium-ion battery packs and the EVs that need them, will be manufactured here in the United States.  The cars manufactured for the U.S. and Japanese markets in 2010 will be made in Japan.  Later, models are expected to be manufactured here in the United States once the Tennessee plant is modified.

Also as part of that loan, Nissan is working with cities around the U.S. like San Diego, Phoenix, Seattle, and Raleigh, NC to put the charging infrastructure in place that will make the LEAF more attractive to drivers.  The car will charge to 80 percent within 30 minutes on a quick charger.  A full charge requires eight hours on a 200V outlet.

Early Nissan EV prototype Nissan’s early prototype EV was very boxy, resembling a Toyota Element.  The new design is more streamlined and stylish.  The range is expected to be 100 miles, so long trips will still be difficult until a country wide charging infrastructure can be set up.

What exactly “affordable” means to Nissan is unclear.  No potential price for the car or battery lease has been mentioned.  According to Engineering News, Nissan is planning on selling the cars but only leasing the batteries.  Since the batteries are the most expensive part of any electric or hybrid vehicle, this must be how Nissan is planning on keeping the cars “affordable”.  Leasing the battery plus the costs to charge it are still expected to be less per month than the average monthly gasoline bill.

For now it will be interesting to see if the mass market LEAF can actually survive until all of the infrastructure is put in place and functional.  Stay tuned.

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3 Responses to “Nissan’s LEAF EV should make a big splash in North America”

  1. JohnJ:

    The Element is from Honda. From Toyota, you’d probably be thinking of the Scion xB.

    The need for a charging infrastructure will be a problem for some. Even if solely charged from home, how many people have a 200V (or 440, probably, for the quick charge) circuit in their garage? Still, it might make god a good commuter car if the family had other transport that could be used for trips.

    Worth mentioning is Nissan’s track record for high-efficiency vehicles in the US has been less than ideal. The Altima hybrid has been on the market since 2007 but has yet to get a nationwide launch. From Nissan’s site: “Altima Hybrid is available in California, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Oregon, Rhode Island, Maine and New Jersey. Service of hybrid components outside those states is limited and could involve some days delay.”

    The pricing of the Volt will be an issue for many, but I still think an EREV is the better solution.

    The best thing for consumers, though, is that there is likely a market for all comers as we move into the battery-operated and heavily battery-assisted era of vehicular transport.

  2. hsr0601:

    Theme : Nissan Leaf will save the world, No Need For Heartbreaking Wars !

    Some say the Leaf and the i-MiEV have a cruising range of 160 km on one battery charge, that is about one-third of the distance a gas-powered car can cover on a full tank of fuel.

    In 21st century, home, workplace, or stores etc also serve as a power station as electricity is everywhere. And cars with a full tank of fuel don’t help MPG, as well.

    In this economy, fuel price is hovering around $60 to $75 a barrel, which indicates the actual value might be much the same as the peak price last year, and it will continue to spiral up unquestionably.

    All it takes for the entire world to live in peace would be to change our antique notion as technology is already here, energy independence lies in people’s will and attitude. Today, the size and scope of investing in future energy will determine the future and fate of a nation.

    1. The range of terrific EVs are sufficient to meet the daily driving needs of 95% of drivers ((The vast majority of people (95%) drive less than 160/km a day)).

    2. What’s more, as for long trip needs, all but Americans and many of developed nations have existing automobiles, in this regard, EVs are best suited to their daily use until the infrastructure comes into wide use.

    3. The price has not yet been announced, but Nissan says it will be priced similarly to a well-equipped sedan in the vicinity of the high $20,000 and with government tax break.

    4. Manufacturing volume, innovative battery technology will drive down cost.

    5. Little maintenance fee.

    6. MILES PER GALLON : MORE THAN 10 VS 1 (Leaf : 367MPG) compared with general combustion engine cars.
    Even excellent hybrid cars are not comparable to EVs in light of fuel economy.

    7. EVs will likely be less expensive for people to drive with low-cost nighttime charging.
    Sometimes EVs can be charged at workplaces or stores etc.

    8. Batteries will become more efficient on the whole and their price will drop, whereas the oil will simply go up and up as it becomes more scarce. As simple as that.

    9. EVs are simple and felt smoother and more torquey than the petrol models, and quiet, fun to drive.

    10. Better Place is partnering with Nissan to create the charging infrastructure and a system for swapping depleted batteries for fully charged batteries in less than 2 minutes. This can extend the range of the vehicle to hundreds of miles.

    11. Nissan has developed an IT system for its EVs, connecting the vehicle’s on-board transmitting unit to a global data centre to support EV driving 24 hours 7 days a week.
    The system shows the driving radius on a maximum range display under the current state of charge and calculates if the vehicle is within range of a pre-set destination. The navigation system points out the latest information on available charging stations within the current driving range

    12.. It can be recharged off 240-volt mains in eight hours or 80 per cent charged on special quick-charge “pumps” in about 30 minutes.

    13. It features a timer function that will start the car’s air-conditioner or battery charging at a specified time to benefit from more favorable electricity rates by a mobile phone or the Internet, as well. An SMS can be sent when the battery is fully charged and the car ready.

    14. The 24 kilowatt hours laminated compact lithium-ion battery pack is placed under the vehicle floor for more efficient packaging. The battery layout also allows smooth underfloor air-flow which helps reduce drag.

    15. The regenerative brake system employed to recharge the battery during deceleration and braking extends the driving range to more than 160 kilometres (depending on driving style and conditions) under a full charge.

    16. Durability is achieved by employing an additional frame for the battery pack to significantly improve the rigidity of the platform.

    17. The fully-electric drivetrain features a high-performance motor and a compact lithium-ion battery with high power output and energy capacity. It has a maximum speed of 90 miles per hour.

    18. It takes a practical approach towards the family market with its tagline: “5 passengers, 5 doors” .

    Once the U.S. switches the ‘unsustainable’ war and military wasting like health care wasting into investing in a smart grid infrastructure, the entire world will live in peace. U.S. spend more on military than the next 25 countries combined.

  3. Vicki Jeon:

    Thanks for sharing valuable information!!! I found this article and I absolutrly find it irresistible. Please post much more articles defintely eager for seeing your post in the furture.

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