Note these specs are the most hotly contested in the industry. The price is based on MSRP excluding tax credits and all those crazy option packages (for Tesla you can get the base model for $50k and the same car with options for $100k).
Battery power and range are based on EPA estimates (though, those vary a lot too).
Ford Focus Electric
battery range – 76 miles
battery range – 73 miles
Tesla Model S
160 mile battery range (+$10k for 230 mile range)
These two cars are marketed as Electric Vehicles (EV) even though they have a gas engine. What separates them from other hybrids is a larger battery pack that requires a charge (plug-in) to function.
“I’d rather sit on batteries than a tank of gas, in terms of explosion risk,” says Olivier Chalouhi, who became the world’s first Nissan LEAF owner when he took delivery of one in late 2010. It is a sentiment that Patrick Wang, one of the first to own the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt, shares. “There’s a ton more energy in gasoline than in the battery pack—so to me it’s not a concern at all,” he says.
The only safety concern among a small sample of EV owners interviewed in conjunction with the May EVS26 electric vehicle symposium in Los Angeles relates to pedestrians’ obliviousness to the quiet electric drivetrain. Chalouhi, whose LEAF is equipped with an automatic pedestrian-alert sounder, says he has not had any such issues. Yet Wang, whose Volt is equipped with a driver-actuated pedestrian-alert sound, says that sometimes in parking lots pedestrians have not noticed him, so he activated the chirping noise.
Maintenance and driving range
Given that the battery pack is the single most expensive part on the vehicle—some estimates are up to 45 percent of the total cost of the vehicle—questions have been raised as to how frequently it will need to be replaced.
If you’ve ever wondered what type of tree was nearby but didn’t have a guide book, a new smartphone app allows users with no formal training to satisfy their curiosity and contribute to science at the same time.
Scientists have developed the first mobile app to identify plants by simply photographing a leaf. The free iPhone and iPad app, called Leafsnap, instantly searches a growing library of leaf images amassed by the Smithsonian Institution. In seconds, it returns a likely species name, high-resolution photographs and information on the tree’s flowers, fruit, seeds and bark.
Users make the final identification and share their findings with the app’s growing database to help map the population of trees one mobile phone at a time.
Created to promote the electric-powered Nissan LEAF, the commercial takes a humorous look at the advantages of electricity. More interestingly, Nissan takes a swipe at the Chevrolet Volt which is a range-extended electric vehicle that uses a petrol engine to extend its 25 to 50 mile (40 to 80 km) range on electricity alone.