Nissan Leaf

I recently had the opportunity to test drive a Nissan Leaf Electric Car. This automobile is a “true” electric vehicle in that it does not have a petro based engine like the Toyota Hybrid or General Motors Chevy Volt. Both of those are impressive technologies in their own right
as “green” vehicles. I found driving the Nissan Leaf made me feel that I was in a 21st century vehicle or in a “Back to the Future” movie. Since it has no engine, Nissan has a sound effect that sounds like a simulated low level jet engine whine sound that I think is pretty cool myself.
The first thing one notices is the style of the Nissan Leaf exterior. A lot of its design is to contribute as much toward minimum air drag so it has one of the lowest drag coefficients of any auto on the road today. Even the excessively sized LED headlight design was to minimize air drag and electrical efficiency with LED headlights and tail lights. All of this is needed when you are relying totally on electric power from the 24KW Lithium Battery pack.
It requires 20 hours for a full charge from 110/120 volts 20 amp charger and about 7.5 hours from 208/240 volts 40amp charger and only 30mins at a commercial 480 volt quick charger. Leaf has a CARWINGS system in place to locate charging stations which are displayed on screen
on ones route. Nissan has an estimated electric fill up cost of 2.40 based on about 10 cent/KW average electric utility rate.
The Leaf comes in two versions the SV with a list of 35,200 and the SL with a list of 37,250. I would recommend the SL option has it has the quick charge port that can charge the car in 30 minutes to 80 percent versus hours. Also the SL option includes a solar panel spoiler, rear view monitor,fog lamps and homelink Transciever makes it worth the additional two thousand dollar upgrade. It still qualifies for the 7500 tax incentive which brings the SL to around 29,750 and the SV to 27,700 after tax savings.
The car has an amazing amount of torque, it feels like a real car, very modern feel, lots of room. One has to be frugal and watch energy usage as all accessories take away battery power. One can pre warm or air condition the car before one leaves their garage to maximize their battery. It also recaptures energy during braking so energy can be stored back into battery while driving to maximize range as well.
With no petro engine to rely on as a backup it does give one a little range anxiety due to limitations of the current infrastructure with limited commercial charging stations, and not everyone can rely on being able to charge their car once they reach their work place, destination. This will only improve as well as the number of charging stations and battery capacity. Nissan does offer a 100,000 mile 96 month warranty on the battery.