Nissan LEAF, electric cars means no oil changes, no tailpipe, and a big market for "charging stations"

The all-electric Nissan LEAF is coming soon to a neighborhood near you. It’s a fascinating new car with many exotic features, as compared to our normal gas-engine cars.

To learn more about it, I’ve pulled out some of the more interesting Frequently Asked Questions. After reading them one realizes that we are facing some serious changes:

  • A new smaller engine that requires no oil or transmission fluid, no gas tank, and no tailpipe. I guess the interior will be bigger?
  • A new breed of mechanics will be required to fix electric engines and repair battery issues. Hot new job?
  • Charging stations, these places should start popping up all around our city.
    • Will they be private or publicly owned (currently most are publicly owned)?
    • Do you think the name will stick, charging station, or will it be the electric station?
  • Zero emissions while driving and a reliance on electricity, which is much cleaner than gas.
  • View pictures of the charging port, interior, and dash.

Specs

Q: What is the estimated price?
A: For the 2012 Nissan LEAF™, net as low as $27,700 after tax savings with the maximum $7,500 federal tax credit if you are eligible and have the tax liability. Depending on where you live, there can be additional state/local incentives.

Q: Tax deduction?
A: The federal government provides up to $7,500 tax credit for eligible EV buyers and a tax credit for installing a home charger if they have the tax liability to seek the credits.

Q: What kind of warranty does the Nissan LEAF™ have?
A: The Nissan LEAF™ Basic Warranty Coverage is 36 months/36,000 miles. The Powertrain Coverage is 60 months/60,000 miles. The Lithium-ion Battery Coverage is 96 months/100,000 miles.

Q: How fast can this car go?
A: It can reach a top speed of about 90 mph.

Q: How is it doing in crash test ratings?
A: The Nissan LEAF™ (like all Nissan cars) is built to meet or exceed federal safety regulations and our own rigorous internal testing. The Nissan LEAF™ has also earned a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety as well as a 5-star overall vehicle rating for safety as part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP).

Charging

Q: How long does it take to charge?
A: Most people will charge their Nissan LEAF™ overnight at home, similar to a cell phone. A full charge will take approximately 7 hours on a 208-240V home-charging station. In select markets, 480V quick-charging systems are now available and provide an 80% charge in under 30 minutes.

Q: Will it plug into a regular household outlet?
A: It will charge on a regular 110/120V, 20 amp dedicated outlet. This is considered a “trickle charge,” which means it would charge at a slower rate. For home charging, we recommend a home-charging dock on a dedicated 208-240V, 40-amp circuit.

Q: Since the Nissan LEAF™ solely runs on electricity, would charging from home dramatically increase my electricity bill?
A: Based on a US average of $0.10/kWh, a full charge will cost about $2.40. It could be even less, if your area has time-of-use rates and you charge at off-peak hours.

Q: What distance does it cover on a single charge?
A: Up to 100 miles, based on the LA4 drive cycle conducted in laboratory tests using EPA test methodology. Based upon EPA five-cycle tests using varying driving conditions and climate controls, the EPA has rated the Nissan LEAF™ a driving range of 73 miles.

Q: Are there options on where to charge my vehicle?
A: Absolutely. You’ll be able to charge at home, possibly at work and at stations along your route.

Q: Is an upgrade to my home electrical system required to set up the charging station?
A: A professional evaluation of your home electrical system is part of the overall purchase process. This process can be waived by contacting the Nissan EV Call Center at 1-877-NO GAS EV.

New Engine

Q: Where are the batteries located? Will they take up a lot of the hatch space?
A: The battery is located in the floor of the vehicle, so it has a minimal intrusion into the interior space.

Q: The electric motor is smaller than a gas engine. The gas tank is gone and the battery is under the floor. Is there more luggage space?
A: No gas tank means great storage space for the size of the car. It’s very spacious.

Q: Is it true that the Nissan LEAF™ has no fluids like coolant, transmission, steering, brake…?
A: Many fluids associated with engines are eliminated (motor oil, transmission fluid, etc.). It does have brake fluid, coolant and washer fluid.

Q: What is the difference between this and a hybrid?
A: No tailpipe! The Nissan LEAF™ runs on 100% electricity, while a hybrid uses a combo of electricity and gas. In a traditional hybrid, even the electricity is generated by the gas engine.

Q: In case of a problem, can a qualified mechanic fix a Nissan LEAF™? Is special training needed?
A: The Nissan LEAF™ has an electric motor and no gasoline engine, so it will require service at your local LEAF™ certified Nissan dealership by a qualified, trained EV technician.

Day-Day Use

Q: How practical is the Nissan LEAF™ to own? Do I need to keep a gas-powered car as a backup or own only the Nissan LEAF™?
A: It all depends on your needs. Most Americans drive much less than 100 miles per day.

Q: What happens if you run out of electricity on the road?
A: If you should need it, Nissan’s roadside assistance service is available as part of your warranty coverage. However, the CARWINGS® telematics system in the Nissan LEAF™ will constantly update to show both vehicle and battery status, as well as charging locations, to help avoid such a situation.

Q: What do I do if I want to go farther than 100 miles in one trip?
A: The Nissan LEAF™’s CARWINGS® system will be able to show you charging locations along your route.

Green

Q: What impact does manufacturing the batteries have?
A: The impact of producing the battery and Nissan LEAF™ is less than or equal to the impact of producing a similar gas car.

Q: How many charging cycles can the energy storage device survive?
A: Like all lithium-ion batteries, the Nissan LEAF™ battery will experience gradual capacity loss over time. We expect the battery to last over 10 years, however, there may be a gradual loss of capacity of 30% or more depending on your driving patterns, and the effect on your battery. The battery can be used afterward for storage applications.

Q: Is the Nissan LEAF™ going to have the Zero Emission logo on it?
A: The Zero Emission badge is located on the back of every Nissan LEAF™ vehicle. In addition, you have the option to purchase a zero-emissions body graphic as an accessory on your vehicle.

Q: It’s great to cut down on vehicle emissions, but shouldn’t I worry about the power plant used to generate the electricity too?
A: Even in its dirtiest form, the electrical grid is much cleaner than burning gas. And the grid will get cleaner over time, unlike gas.

Q: Where will the Nissan LEAF™ be built?
A: The Nissan LEAF™ will be built in Japan for the first 2 years and then built in Tennessee starting in late 2012 for mass production.

 

View pictures of the charging port, interior, and dash.

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