Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Turning over a new Leaf

As you may recall, I have written about alternative energy vehicles before (here, here, and here), most enthusiastically about vehicles that do not use any fossil fuel. I feel that electric-gasoline hybrids like Prius were a fine step toward reducing fossil fuel demand, but that real clean energy independence must come from alternative energy vehicles.

Its time we turn over a new Leaf. The fully electric, zero emission Nissan Leaf, that is. 
Its similar in size and appearance to the Versa, but its of-so-different in that the Leaf does not contain an internal combustion engine so it does not use any gasoline. None. There's no exhaust pipe because there's no exhaust. None.
Leaf is a plug-in electric car that will run up to 100 miles on a full battery. Weather conditions, terrain, and use of the a/c may reduce the range a bit. But most people travel less than 100 miles a day so there should be quite a market for this vehicle. A charging dock can be plugged into your garage or home so you charge up the battery overnight, just like you do with your cell phone.

It likely won't replace a family's only car. But most family's have more than 1 car so it could very likely replace 1 of them. Keep your traditional gasoline car for road trips and drive the Leaf for everything else: picking the kids up from school, dropping the kids off at practice, picking up groceries and drycleaning, and a whole host of other driving chores.

How is the Nissan Leaf different from other alternative fuel vehicles?

Parallel hybrids, like those offered by Toyota, Honda, Ford, and Lexxus, require both the gasoline engine and electric motor to be engaged for every trip. You will always use some gasoline and some electricity.

Series hybrids, like the Chevy Volt, use only the electric motor to power the vehicle, but use a gasoline engine to recharge the electric motor batteries. If you drive less than 40 miles you will not use any gasoline, but if you go more than 40 miles you'll use some gasoline.

The advantage of hybrids is that they can go an unlimited distance. A hybrid could replace a family's only car. But since most family's have more than 1 car, my choice would be the Leaf. With no gasoline engine there is no exhaust/pollution, no need for oil and filter changes or tune-ups, and no dependence on foreign oil sources.

Alternative fuel vehicles are not 'cheap'. Most hybrids are at least $30K or more. Leaf is expected to list for about $32,780. Fortunately all of these vehicles qualify for some kind of federal tax rebate. But in my mind, selecting a gasoline-electric hybrid or a 100% electric Leaf is about much more than the sticker price. 

Its about reducing or eliminating pollution.

Its about harnessing a renewal energy source rather than an exhaustible one.

Its about reducing our need for importing fossil fuel from foreign countries.

Its about forward thinking.

Its about turning over a new leaf. Interested in reserving a Nissan Leaf? Click here

Crush du Jour: Pete Kuzak


Anonymous said...

I've been following the MIT electric car group for some time now. They take cars off a lot and convert them to pure electric vehicles.

They've gotten ranges near 200 miles and recharge times down to 15 minutes with a 480VAC service.

And who has 480VAC? Industrial buildings, supermarkets, etc. So you could put charging kiosks in supermarket parking lots. Use RFID tags for charging purposes and charge $4 per charge.

200 for $4 a charge works out to 2 cents a mile.

anne marie in philly said...

YAYZ - chest fuzzzzz!

Br!@n said...
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