Introducing the Nissan Leaf Electric Vehicle

Posted by: Ian Rowley on August 2, 2009

Leafweb2.JPG

Amid much fanfare, Nissan finally showed off the first of several new electric vehicles this morning at the opening of its new global headquarters in Yokohama. Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn, a longtime skeptic on hybrids, is betting that the Leaf and other EVs, will quickly become mass market hits, and even suggested that fully electric models could account for 10% of all car sales by 2020.

The car looks much like other mass market models. Despite its name, the design doesn’t scream “eco-car” and, unlike some electric vehicles of the past, space inside isn’t compromised. Capable of seating five, Ghosn and three Japanese politicians with connections to Yokohama, including former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, emerged from the “blue earth” colored Leaf with ease after it appeared on the stage.

The grand entrance was followed by a short video featuring an assortment of school-children explaining how good the Leaf is for all our futures. One youngster, presumably of his own free will, even compared the Leaf to an angel coming down to Earth.

Ghosn, though, focused on the practicalities, reiterating Nissan’s plan that the Leaf, which runs a 100 miles on a single charge, excluding the cost of the batteries, will cost no more to buy and run than a traditional gasoline-powered car. Zero-emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, he said, are a bonus. Charging time is seven hours, although a 30-minute quick charge can get batteries back up to 80% of full power.

Key to its success will be bringing down the cost of the batteries, which currently cost around $10,000 per car to make. Sensibly, Nissan plans to lease the batteries to customers rather than try to sell the car at an inflated price. Initially, the carmaker will share the burden by taking advantage of government subsidies and cheap loans to ensure sales are profitable from day one. The challenge will be to get costs down to a sufficient level by the time governments begin scaling back incentives. Mass production should help. Ghosn, once again emphasizing the importance of affordability, said that the cost of leasing the batteries, plus the electricity used to charge them, will be less than what customers spend on gasoline for regular cars.

Even if the economics remain challenging—no other automaker is yet following the mass-market approach of Nissan and its alliance partner Renault—the Leaf is an enjoyable drive. I tried out a version of the car, albeit with a different body, earlier this week on a Nissan test track. The acceleration and handling were impressive and, importantly, it felt steady and secure. In terms of size, the version I drove, which measures 4.4 meters long by 1.7 meters wide, was perfectly comfortable. Indeed, when I then drove a Nissan Tiida (Versa in the U.S.) a few minutes later, I realized I much preferred the EV.

Ghosn once again took aim at hybrids, which he says have failed to become a mass market choice. He pointed out that their global market share is just 2%. To me, that’s slightly disingenuous given that, until recently, only Toyota and Honda were serious about gas-electrics. What’s more, Toyota expects to sell over a million hybrids a year in a year or so, and both Toyota and Honda reckon hybrids will soon account for 10% of their sales. Also, hybrids, unlike EVs, aren’t hindered by short driving ranges, use batteries that cost a fraction of the cost of electric cars and don’t require billions of dollars of public subsidy. Ghosn, though, reckons that the only thing stopping EVs becoming a mass market phenomenon will be automakers’ ability to make them quickly enough. “The problem we have is will we have enough capacity,” he said.

Reader Comments

Mark

August 2, 2009 6:39 AM

It looks too much like an "eco car".
I think Tesla got it right with the model S
although it's more expensive. As soon as I
see an electric car in a showroom that I
like, I'm buying one.

Robert Jans

August 2, 2009 6:45 AM

I agree with Ghosn: hybrids have the name, nothing else to offer. A Prius has a range of a mere 2% when driven exclusively electric; so the other 98% is on regular fossil fuel. As for consumption: my Mondeo diesel with twice the power, twice the range and half the complication and a lower(unsubsidized) cost, consumes less than the touted Prius. So where's the advantage? OK, yes the Prius emits somewhat less CO2.

exchange

August 2, 2009 8:29 AM

it is great

ex

Go India

August 2, 2009 8:48 AM

Great to have such a fantastic car in the market ...

http://www.Free-Money-4-U-007.blogspot.com

Marty Arnold

August 2, 2009 9:19 AM

I would buy two of these yesterday... When will I be able to buy them in California ???

guevara

August 2, 2009 9:48 AM

Finally the begining of the end for fosil burning our way to death.

guevara

August 2, 2009 9:48 AM

Finally the begining of the end for fosil burning our way to death.

Yona

August 2, 2009 10:45 AM

do you remember the EV1 from GMC? that was the best EV! it looked like the future! this one, looks the same than any other cars... i would have preferred that GMC puts their EV1 back on the lines... who knows, maybe they will. (i hope)

Bill

August 2, 2009 10:51 AM

I was so hoping that this issue (alternative vehicles) could be approached logically and with a balanced thoughtful approach? For me the largest issue with ANY battery powered vehicle is what to do with the batteries when there exhausted? I applaud the efforts of Nissan, et al, but where will the dead batteries go?

tomc

August 2, 2009 11:04 AM

Sorry to say I find this another disappointment. I will not trade the use of fosil fuels for the lease of batterys. For me, make an electric car that has batterys that are not leased. I will not pay two to three hundred dollars a month for rent on them.

Jessie S

August 2, 2009 11:28 AM

It's dog ugly. Nissan has some awesome performance cars. Why not use something with a more attractive body, like the Z, for an EV? We'd be first in line for something like that. Sadly, only Tesla seems interested in making green vehicles that don't look like they're owned by some tree hugging, bad poetry spouting coffee shop patron, and with a 100k price tag, I don't see us trading in our sports cars or motorcycles any time soon.

Marco from Italy

August 2, 2009 12:29 PM

I hope I'll see it soon in Italy. I will buy it immediately!

jfields

August 2, 2009 12:44 PM

I'd like to see a CO2 comparison, a gallon of gas burned in the average American car vs. CO2 emmisions from power plants, equal to producing an electric charge that will propel the car as far as an average gallon of gas.

In the USA, 70% of the driving is limited to 40 miles a day--to and from work, running erands, visiting friends. The desire to be more green, drive cheap cars--given the economy--will make this a big seller. No question.

It won't sell well in cities simply because there's no place for citydwellers to charge it. Rowhouses and apartment buildings don't have garages with electric outlets. Solve that one, and the demand will go through the roof.

The cost per gallon equivalent of an electric charge in America, on average, is about one dollar fifty. Given an average driving distance of about 10 K miles a year, that represents a $160 fuel savings per year, at current gas prices. Not dramatic. Most people won't do the math, however.

I'm happy to see someone light a fire under US automakers. Congress doesn't have the will to legislate any sort of significant change. The marketplace will have to force the change, and Nissan just knocked over the first, marketplace domino that will start a big, electric car run.

eddie

August 2, 2009 1:42 PM

I hope that this takes off....yes, it is not the most attractive thing and it has battery and charging issues, but at least Nissan seems committed to it.

GM yanked electic cars out from everyone....It seems to be that there is huge incentives against electrics....less revenue for the oil companies, less money for the car companies to maintain electic cars, etc. Here is a very good free movie...'Who killed the electric car':

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3rw9MsHB8Y&feature=related

Lee

August 2, 2009 3:39 PM

Why can't we figure out a better way to store energy?! After over 100 years we can't come up with something better?! Are we just collectively incapable of innovative thinking when it come to energy storage or is the battery/fossil fuel lobby that strong? That car should be powered by a module no larger than a toaster that allows for over 500 miles of driving at over 80 miles an hour, recharges in 2 minutes or less and should be able to hold the energy for 30 days when the vehicle is not in use. It should last a minimum of 10 years, have no moving parts and weigh less than 10 pounds. The energy storage module should be a smaller version of industrial size modules capable of keeping a major office building running for a week without any energy input at all. It should be part of an entirely new family of energy storage modules that put an end to engines, generators and anything that runs on fossil fuels. Hybrid cars are a joke and should be seen as a technological embarrassement. That's the best we can do?!! And this, a 100 miles, at what 45 miles an hour - oh, I guess they'll put a speaker on it that makes wind noise so you'll feel like your moving faster. We can do better - and the day we stand up, stop whining and put our minds to changing this world, the better off we will be. If we don't, in the end we'll be fighting to plug in to the last working wall socket, powered by the last fossil fuel plant to drive on the last open road. If we can't do better than this, we might as well go back to horses .

Jonathan

August 2, 2009 3:53 PM

i'm 26 years old and currently drive a 1986 cadillac, which guzzles the gas like a raging alcoholic does their liquor. in a few years i will consider buying this or some other ev car because i like how quiet they are, how they don't smell like gasoline, and all things considered i think they're, on the whole, still better for the environment. the design doesn't actually look that bad. besides, if you're confident enough, it doesn't matter what your car looks like. all i care about is economy. but if what that other guy says is true (about leasing the batteries) i would become more hesitant about signing a deal... i don't like the idea of leasing batteries either. another issue i have is that there is still so much variety out there. are we ever going to consolidate the technology and develop something standard? i don't want to invest in a car only to find out that the batteries have been discontinued 2 years after i buy it. anyway, i like what nissan is doing- best of luck with the leaf.

antonio castro

August 2, 2009 4:35 PM

About givening more details on the new Nissan electric cars.
When will they be intreduced into the market.

Jason

August 2, 2009 5:04 PM

Who killed the electric car? Probably Business Week. What's with the photo selections from these news sites? Here's a better one.

http://www.nissanusa.com/ev/media/images/nissan-ev/NISSAN-3QT-Front.jpg

By the way, it'll cost around $20-25K with a $7,500 credit. Not bad at all. As for battery disposal, these are going to be way too expensive to simply throw away. They'll recycle/reuse for sure.

Paul

August 2, 2009 6:04 PM

Ghosn is right, they are going to get run over by the stampede to buy these things. They are SO superior to any ICE car.

Old Geezer Pilot

August 2, 2009 6:36 PM

Diesel hybrid/electrics are the wave of the future. Now that low-sulfur diesel fuel is available, they will be able to meet the highest emission standards at cruise speeds on the engine alone, and the electric hybrid concept is a proven fact.

The all-electric car will always need huge batteries, while the hybrid will not.

Looking for my diesel Prius.

billd

August 2, 2009 7:26 PM

This is exactly what I want. The 100 mile range is fine, I can keep an older car for longer trips. The idea of paying only $10 per month to keep it charged up is fantastic! I want one.

Clunker Claude

August 2, 2009 7:44 PM

Love this little sucker but it is only a toy for wealthy people who want to feel green good. I sure do not intend to be the one you see stuck on the side of the road with a flat battery.
We gotta get serious about this pollution and raise the gas price to minimum $8 per gallon then we will all start cutting down on the size of our vehicles and how much we drive them

skinnybabe

August 2, 2009 7:59 PM

This is so fantastic!

Environment friendly:) this reduces the CO2 that some others cars releases in our environment due to zero emission of greenhouse gases.


Hope that many people will like this model:)

HEALTHY WEIGHT LOSS REVIEWS

Hestia_m

August 2, 2009 8:10 PM

Zero emissions? The end of fossil fuels?

What are you people smoking? Where do you think the electricity comes from to charge this thing? Depending on where you live, you are probably responsible for burning an equivalent amount of coal or fuel oil. Hydroelectric power is only about 7% of the electricity generated in the USA. Nuclear is 19%.

sam siphandone

August 2, 2009 8:17 PM

These EV will be like golf mini-cart. It is ok to drive to work less than 20 miles per day... Imagine driving from NY to FL...

jungle simth

August 2, 2009 9:15 PM

What a beautiful car
I hope I can have one someday


business

Tom

August 2, 2009 9:27 PM

We love our hybrid honda. we are pricing a pv system for an additional 3 kW for charging an EV...enough to commute daily to nyc. no carbon, no gas...

Michael

August 2, 2009 10:04 PM

OK for the environmental side, but on the energy independence side, I hope we are not trading OPEC for some future OLEC (Organization of Lithium Exporting Countries). Is there enough lithium around, and which countries have it?

Gerry

August 2, 2009 10:31 PM

I'd buy one today. Way to raise the bar Nissan!

I drive a Prius. It has 160K miles on it, ultra-low emissions, 50 mpg, and I have not had even the smallest problem with it. The best car I have ever owned.

But as a 2nd car I'm hoping to have a pure electric, as 80% of my driving is within 30 miles.

CJF

August 2, 2009 10:38 PM

NO ONE is going to buy this--only the people that buy into the doom and gloom eco terrorists crap

VJ

August 2, 2009 11:04 PM

Has anyone done the math on the strain to the elctrical grid that may be caused by recharging several thousands of EVs in states that are bprone to rolling brownouts?

Jac

August 3, 2009 12:31 AM

It's not so much of an Eco car, when you consider the energy used to manufacture the vehicle, ship the product and most importantly charge the batteries still comes from fossil fuels.

It's just a feel-good car. "Hey honey I'm not hurting the environment", he says as he plugs in his EV then walks into the house and turns on his air conditioner.

Sam

August 3, 2009 1:17 AM

Kudos to Nissan and Renault for this bold move, I too long to own one of these EVs. My only wish is if such cars can be made of recyclable components, in carbon-neutral plants, with car manufacturers taking back their products for recycling at the end of their life cycle.

To help alleviate the strain on city grids, how about the Leaf being coated in some photovoltaic material or having some PV panels so that it can charge while under the sun? Perhaps governments can revolutionise infrastructure by making charging points so easily accessible that topping up on gas will be a thing of the past.

I haven't yet seen the movie 'Who Killed the Electric Car' but I'm pretty sure some rich and powerful cabal have a vested interest in not innovating and investing enough in sustainable future technologies whilst draining the lifeblood out of the earth at the cost of humanity's future.

Klaus

August 3, 2009 2:14 AM

In many countries one KWh is produced with CO2 emmissions of 0.5 Kg and more. The Nissan Leaf runs 160 Km using its 24 KWh, thus indirectly sending 12 Kg of carbon in the atmosphere. With my Astra I consume 6 litre of gasoline for 100 km. Burning a litre of gasoline creates 2.32 Kg of CO2. That makes about 22 Kg for the same 160 Km.

The three litre Volkswagen Lupo did not sell because of its higher price and inspite of the environmental benefit. The Leaf is also a "3-litre car". Let's hope that the Leaf doesn't face the same fate.

Shorts-R-Us

August 3, 2009 2:21 AM

So whats the price tag? Can a family who makes 40k afford one of these electric cars? How many more billions will the Government have to subsidize more vehicles that Americans can not afford?

Shorts-R-Us

August 3, 2009 2:27 AM

So whats the price tag? Can a family who makes 40k afford one of these electric cars? How many more billions will the Government have to subsidize more vehicles that Americans can not afford?

Bernd

August 3, 2009 2:29 AM

It sounds very interesting. But what is the leasing price for the battery ?
The lifeteime of the battery should also be taken into consideration.

Satish Kumar

August 3, 2009 4:20 AM

I hope Nissan is aware of the fact that a lot of pollution is created while producing electricity!!!!!!! There can be no truly zero-emission car except solar powered car (and they are still not in a shape that can be used by majority of people). Making battery powered cars is just to shift the blame of pollution to power stations. They are not as useful as gasoline powered cars and give you a bigger shock when it comes to changing batteries.

Martin Thomsen

August 3, 2009 8:48 AM

Congratulation Nissan – now it looks like EV har a lot closer that I expected.

Best regards

Martin
Http://www.evtest.dk

realistic driver

August 3, 2009 9:06 AM

A message for clunker Claude:

We don't need to raise the price of a gallon to $8. Most of us have already reduced our driving to a minimum because of the gas prices. To raise the gas prices any higher would simply punish the world for needing the energy we always will. It would further kill the economy leading to more people being laid off and more people living off the government, which in and of itself lives off the population. This kind of thinking is what will bring the US to its knees in anarchy. How about instead of destroying civilization as we know it we find an alternate means of energy production/storage?

Gonçalo

August 3, 2009 9:07 AM

I'm from Portugal, the country that will produce the batteries for Nissan. At this time the government is devloping a natinwide network of charging points for EV's. In the parkings, at the fuel stations, at the supermarkerts. Our energy is mainly produced by hydroeletric eolics and solar.

Regi Mathew

August 3, 2009 10:12 AM

Repetition of 'electricity being used to charge electric car leads to emission' is too boring and sickening. Electric car's claim is zero emission at tail pipe. In terms of environmental impact, if the electricity is sourced from COAL it reduces CO2 emission by 60-75% as a stationary power plant got much superior cleaning mechanism than an automobile. Electricity will be sourced from more and more cleaner sources as we progress

Stevie P.

August 3, 2009 10:14 AM

All the reasons I'm hearing not to buy it are superficial: Styling, range, cost. This car is going to be a huge hit & Nissan deserves credit for changing the game on August 1, 2009.

Lindsay Clark

August 3, 2009 10:30 AM

while striving to lead the world in implementation of carbon-saving, alternative technologies, FedEx also says electric vehicles will remain fairly niche until there is a significant technical breakthrough bit.ly/nrLBi

Willy lopez

August 3, 2009 7:19 PM

Nissan really deserve the credit for this car because GM opt out of the game when they sold the technology along with the blue print to Exxon in the 90s of the EV 1

BusinessWeek's Ian Rowley

August 3, 2009 9:12 PM

This is Ian Rowley, the author of this blog. Many thanks for all the comments. First, one thing I didn’t mention in the post above was the launch schedule. Nissan plans to begin making the Leaf in Japan next year, assembling about 60,000, before rapidly increasing production in the years after that. In the U.S., Nissan is using a $1.6 billion Department of Energy loan to retool its Smyna plant in Tennessee to make EVs and batteries. Capacity is expected to be 150,000 vehicles and 200,000 battery packs. In Europe, it has selected Portugal and Britain to make batteries and, at the launch on Sunday, one exec said that the Sunderland plant in the north of England will also eventually make the cars. With that in mind, it is pretty clear that Nissan is very serious about electric vehicles.

As many of you point out, though, there are questions concerning how to make the business model work, particularly if governments start to scale back financial support. So far, there are no details on pricing, but as I mentioned in the post, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn insisted that the price of owning—i.e. buying and running—a Leaf will compare favorably with a comparable gasoline car. One reason for confidence is that Nissan says its business model is based on an assumption that the oil price is $70 a gallon. That sounds conservative.

One question from me: What will EVs like the Leaf do to the image of hybrids? Does it make the Prius look old hat?

Adrian-Canada

August 5, 2009 9:25 PM

Cool! I like it. I will be one once it's on sell here in Canada just to encourage the new clean technology.
Let American poluate the earth as they don't even recinize it.
Well, they are wariors not intelect as they just good for wars.

Peter

August 6, 2009 2:57 AM

Lee said: "After over 100 years we can't come up with something better?! Are we just collectively incapable of innovative thinking when it come to energy storage or is the battery/fossil fuel lobby that strong?"

One reason (not the only one) is the siphoning of creative and technological talent to the military-industrial complex. Cut the military budget in half (or so; we really don't need to spend more than the rest of the world combined to deter others or fight terrorism) and watch a thousand technical innovations bloom!

Steve

August 6, 2009 6:38 PM

I like this car, at a glance. I also like the Pininfarina B0, at least on paper.

For those who are thinking that use of this car just moves emissions from the car's tailpipe to your local power plant, there are 2 things to note.

First, in some states solar panels are a zero-money down, neutral cash flow affair. In CA, I had panels installed last year, which I lease for a monthly amount roughly commensurate to the drop in my utility bill. I have had a negative bill from spring on, and a positive one in the winter. Size the array to be bigger than your house needs, and you're set. Maybe own the car for a year to see how much you use total, then put in panels?

Second, when the electricity is used in the day is important. During peak times, power is dirtier, and at night, it's cleaner. So charge at night.

I don't know of a good way of calculating this because each utility is different, and your individual neighborhood matters too.

steve

August 6, 2009 10:24 PM

It's all about the battery. Let's all hope and pray that the next battery break thru occurs sooner than later and we get NUMEROUS e-cars to choose from soon. I'm a drop top kinda guy myself. Let's hope the next cash for clunkers program to come around is only good when we trash our fossil fuel burners.

Mike

August 7, 2009 2:41 PM

The future was invented in the 1950s. The media loves to harp on alternatives that are always just out of reach. When batteries actually got better we had to start dreaming about hydrogen and ethanol, impossible alternatives. We have the ability to make limitless electricity with minimal waste through nuclear energy and the biggest kicker of all??? There is a nationwide grid already in place to distribute it to the people all without exhaust spewing diesels and chemical plants. Problem solved, 1950s, everything else is a joke.

Chastua

August 7, 2009 3:09 PM

Even though gas prices and availability are in constant flux, we always find a way to produce electricty. Personally, I've had my fill of oil changes, transmission issues, and coolant level monitoring. I spent a lot of good weekends unhappily under the hood of a car. Thank God I'm free at last.

Null Hypothesis

August 8, 2009 3:56 AM

I've been carless for 3 years, refusing to buy another gas powered car. Now I only have 2 more years to wait!

There isn't enough lithium to make millions of these things but that's OK, it will last until 2014 when Chevron's NiMH patent expires and then we will have access to those batteries again.

I guess Nissan's biggest competitor will be Tesla's model blue. Maybe Tesla will now bump up release of that car. And GM .... well, they're history, a waste of taxpayers' money.

Null Hypothesis

August 8, 2009 3:56 AM

I've been carless for 3 years, refusing to buy another gas powered car. Now I only have 2 more years to wait!

There isn't enough lithium to make millions of these things but that's OK, it will last until 2014 when Chevron's NiMH patent expires and then we will have access to those batteries again.

I guess Nissan's biggest competitor will be Tesla's model blue. Maybe Tesla will now bump up release of that car. And GM .... well, they're history, a waste of taxpayers' money.

Null Hypothesis

August 8, 2009 3:56 AM

I've been carless for 3 years, refusing to buy another gas powered car. Now I only have 2 more years to wait!

There isn't enough lithium to make millions of these things but that's OK, it will last until 2014 when Chevron's NiMH patent expires and then we will have access to those batteries again.

I guess Nissan's biggest competitor will be Tesla's model blue. Maybe Tesla will now bump up release of that car. And GM .... well, they're history, a waste of taxpayers' money.

Marc Watson

August 8, 2009 9:38 AM

Is it too little, too late? I hope not.

I also hope the other Automakers, particulary in America, will follow suit.

Maybe our kids will have a future after all.

Next step:
How to get cows to stop producing methane gas.

Ewan

August 9, 2009 9:35 PM

Go back to horses ... what a crazy idea. Have you any idea how much pollution comes out of both ends of a horse? Pollution that's produced whether it's being used or not.

jose g

August 11, 2009 2:46 PM

I agree with Jessie S.

I would like to see this line a huge success and do believe that looks matter here so...why not make it look less like an electric car. look at what GM with Volt is doing--it looks really good (in my opinion) such that the 200+mpg seems like just one of its features.

Car Shipping

August 11, 2009 8:52 PM

There isn't enough lithium to make millions of these things but that's OK, it will last until 2014 when Chevron's NiMH patent expires and then we will have access to those batteries again.

Auto Shipping

Alex R

August 12, 2009 12:08 AM

On the surface, this car has so much over the Chevy Volt (price point, availability, range, etc.). The "new" GM still lags behind.

Kasi Viswanath

August 12, 2009 2:19 AM

Now, Where is the Car that was supposed to run on air. theaircar.com

Susan

August 12, 2009 1:58 PM

Rather than plugging the LEAF into your house current, why not figure out a way to plug it into a photovoltaic system? The PVC can collect energy during the day and store it to a battery which the car can be plugged into during the evening. On cloudy, rainy days you'd have to use your house current. For night owls like myself, I could plug in during the day and drive at night. I want a Leaf....rather have something American made, but if they're coming out of a plant in TN, I'd buy it!

Werfu

August 13, 2009 9:58 AM

"These EV will be like golf mini-cart. It is ok to drive to work less than 20 miles per day... Imagine driving from NY to FL..."

That's why we need high-speed rails all around america.

edward tate

August 14, 2009 11:21 PM

You folks that seem to think that batteries have stagnated into an uncurable glob of expensive, hard to replace, heavy cumbersome nusiances, need to be aware of a most remarkable battery that is in the making. It is a revolutionary capacitor battery that is being developed by the Eestor Corporation in Texas. Mark my word, when this super battery hits the deck, all hell will break loose in the auto industry. These lightweight batteries, (only a few pounds), are chargable in minutes, and deliver an unbelieveable amount of power. Go ahead, google eestor and see what I mean. I called the company to see if I could invest in it, but it is privately held (damn it) and I feel that it will be the true salvation for electric energy storage in a light weight, cheap, easy to use form.

Holiday Discount

August 15, 2009 3:49 PM

There is a nationwide grid already in place to distribute it to the people all without exhaust spewing diesels and chemical plants

Holiday Discount

August 15, 2009 3:51 PM

One reason for confidence is that Nissan says its business model is based on an assumption that the oil price is $70 a gallon. That sounds conservative.

Joe

August 15, 2009 6:17 PM

All you people saying that it still takes fossil fuels to charge the batteries are friggin idiots. Using electricity only emits a fraction of the amount of green house gases that a gas burning engine does. This is because there is no energy lost to friction and movement in the engine, which is where a lot of the energy in your car is wasted.

Anchal

August 17, 2009 9:50 AM

With all those big problems out there like melting artic, increasing Co2 etc..
The world needed this ev desperately because now it is going to be a first mass market hit. This will help environment heal, i just cant it to arrive in Indai

Anchal

August 17, 2009 9:51 AM

With all those big problems out there like melting artic, increasing Co2 etc..
The world needed this ev desperately because now it is going to be a first mass market hit. This will help environment heal, i just cant it to arrive in India.

fn

August 18, 2009 7:25 AM

it is a beautiful car.i hope i can buy it some dayfn

Keith

August 19, 2009 8:43 AM

We certainly need to go green and this car is a good start and you have to start some where. New technology is hard to introduce over existing technology. Give it time and electric cars, wind turbines , solar cells etc will largely replace present types of energy. There is lots of sun and wind out there. For pure electric cars the manufacturer might want to introduce the idea of "Out Board" motors like boats have to have hybrid features for a those who want the addition of hybrid.

Keith

August 19, 2009 8:43 AM

We certainly need to go green and this car is a good start and you have to start some where. New technology is hard to introduce over existing technology. Give it time and electric cars, wind turbines , solar cells etc will largely replace present types of energy. There is lots of sun and wind out there. For pure electric cars the manufacturer might want to introduce the idea of "Out Board" motors like boats have to have hybrid features for a those who want the addition of hybrid.

George

August 19, 2009 10:00 PM

They can't solely blame the batteries for a higher price tag, after all, there's no gasoline engine, so it seems to me that that should account for some cost savings, not 10K worth, but a good part of that.

Turdus Merula

August 22, 2009 2:07 AM

Buying a car on looks alone is the reason Detroit was able to sell so much mechanical junk for so long to so many. But, of course, if you have lots of loot lying about, go ahead and buy an expensive toy like Tesla!

Turdus Merula

August 22, 2009 2:07 AM

Buying a car on looks alone is the reason Detroit was able to sell so much mechanical junk for so long to so many. But, of course, if you have lots of loot lying about, go ahead and buy an expensive toy like Tesla!

Glenn

August 22, 2009 6:22 PM

Way to go Nissan! Assuming the lease for the batteries is less then 100/month, I think leasing is the right approach. I would buy one instantly! I would think this is phase 1 of electric cars. Battery powered to buy time to develop the ultimate, fuel cells and hydrogen. This is the start away from fossil fuels. I love it!

Casey Anthony

August 23, 2009 9:22 PM

I think it was unfair of Rowley to say that hybrids, and by inference all I.C.E. vehicles, don't require "billions of dollars of public subsidy." Presumably because they use gas and not "expensive" charging stations. The oil industry DOES receive billions in public subsidies. According to Koplow and Martin in "Fueling Global Warming" anywhere between $11.5 and $35 billion. Honesty in reporting would be refreshing.

businessletter

August 24, 2009 4:29 AM

what a beautiful car ,I dream of having one.


business letter

Anthony Bains

August 26, 2009 1:34 AM

Great beginning of a new era of clean cars, however, range of only 100miles isn't so appealing for me to buy the car at this time. Look at tesla's range of 300miles, or even german trabant EV which will have range of 150miles. Nissan could do better on the range issue.
If batteries are to be leased i'm out of it altogether and stick to my diesel x trail.

john

September 4, 2009 7:11 AM

I live in the 6th floor of a building in London, that doesn´t have a garage, I go and buy a Leaf, leave it on the street, I cannot charge it can't I? I them go to work but i have to wait 30 minutes in a gas station prepared for this electric car, and after wating for my turn i leave, well 40 minutes late for work. Arriving work the 30 minutes obv.not enought for full charge, but wait my work doesn't have chargers.

Is this a good buy? or a big mistake?

George

September 7, 2009 2:13 PM

I don't understand people who are so against electric cars.
We just want some FRICKIN' choice here!!! How about some electric cars, some plug-in hybrids, some plug-in diesels and maybe someday we can even have hydrogen fuel cell cars as well. But these folks who root for gasoline-powered cars like their rooting for a football team are IDIOTS! None of us know which technology is going to eventually win out, maybe several technologies will win out, but dammit, I WANT CHOICE!!!

George

September 7, 2009 2:13 PM

I don't understand people who are so against electric cars.
We just want some FRICKIN' choice here!!! How about some electric cars, some plug-in hybrids, some plug-in diesels and maybe someday we can even have hydrogen fuel cell cars as well. But these folks who root for gasoline-powered cars like their rooting for a football team are IDIOTS! None of us know which technology is going to eventually win out, maybe several technologies will win out, but dammit, I WANT CHOICE!!!

George

September 7, 2009 2:18 PM

By the way, I LOVE the look of the Nissan Leaf! I do wish the range was higher, like 150 miles, but I would still buy this car tomorrow if it was made available.

Margaret

September 15, 2009 9:16 AM

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Margaret

From Houston

October 8, 2009 10:56 PM

When will they arrive to Houston ?

juan Carlos

October 29, 2009 12:59 PM

500 cars only in México? they will sold like "pan caliente", who whe say in México.

You shut import more than 500 cars.

The idea is wonderfoul to carry zero emisions cars, but i think, 100 milles is not enougth, un less 200 or 300 it will be good.

I got one.

Juan

October 30, 2009 7:00 PM

If NISSAN gets too goofy with the battery lease issue, it will cost them big time in the long run. Why not make a big splash with a large volume of sales and knock off the creative greediness.

darcy

November 16, 2009 1:26 PM

quote/Finally the begining of the end for fosil burning our way to death./quote

Then what do American power stations burn then ?

D

Chidambara Shetty

November 19, 2009 12:39 AM

NISSAN Leaf, will bring a great releaf to all non petrolium rich countries. Natural Leaf gives life to the world, NISSAN Leaf will be a moving artificial leaf on the road. India should strongly support the worlds EV's projects towards building strong, clean and peaceful nation.

David

November 20, 2009 1:41 AM

I've always liked the consept of an electric car and this one will be a hit!

"Zero" emissions? Not really but....
I think it's alot easier to filter the companies that supply us the power than leave it to indivuals. How many broken tail pipes or pourly maintained vehicles do we have in our cities?
If I plan a "cross country" trip; how better to see it in 100 mile hops. Ford did it with the "T".

brian

November 30, 2009 7:24 PM

Don't any of you who comment on it's 'style' realize that it is designed in a wind tunnel, to minimize it's friction against air? Of course it will be somewhat like a prius! The Prius, and others like it, HAVE to be shaped like that.
Do you want a big MANLY front end, if it costs you another 5 mpg?
Get with it. Brian.

tkindred

December 6, 2009 1:36 AM

For those commenting on the fact that creating electricity in the United States produces impressions from the power plants should consider a couple of things. When you generate emissions from a single point source like a power plant instead of numerous single vehicles you have more control how you can treat these emissions. Also, we can invest more ways to generate electricity through solar, wind, hydro and nuclear. Gad burning engines will be a thing of the past.

Peter R. Cross

December 7, 2009 1:34 PM

Attempt at a summarization and cross-referencing as of 12/6--Ian, hope it's ok, and we will see if it is too long!

Mark, showroom you like? I prefer to focus on the car. (Apologize, just an old editor!!)
Bill—battery metals etc. recycled into new batteries. Energy budget? Cost of process and capital investment required?
Jessie—wait until the earth gets really ugly because of your asesthetic sensitivities. Do you want transportation that won’t destroy civilization, or the Met?
Lee—consult your neighborhood physicists and physical chemists, and see Peter, below. There’s unproven promise of ultracapacitors. (See Edward Tate response below). Examine the weights of horse, feed, vs. transport of feet and hp per horse. Horse has to be shoed, so job retraining in blacksmithing. If oil really gives out, rural horse transport could be a good idea! On the other hand, poop recycles easily into local agriculture.
Clunker Claude—See Realistic Driver, but, not everyone is driving the absolute least they can. We can further use the web to synchronize even very local little car pools, shopping errands, etc.
Hestia_m—Low-tech focusing solar in relatively small desert areas in the Southwest needs to be seriously tested. Potentially competitive with coal. And see Regi Mathew, and Steve with his rooftop panels below, below.
Sam—take the train from NY to FL. Work for the appropriate train. FAR more efficient, totally unstressful. Werfu, below, concurs. Rail carries _________ pound miles vs. truck ….
VJ—entire grid needs to be modernized, “smartened”. See Rocky Mountain Institute. Lots of jobs. High-Volt DC gives efficient long-haul operation.
Regi Mathew—precise definition of terms helps a LOT, thanks.
Chastua—Infernal combustion engines get HOT, lots of stress on parts, continual readjustments, etc.—been there, hoods up, underneath, lubrication....The compressed-air car engine (see Kasi Viswanath) absorbs heat, runs cold. Potentially great advantage if other aspects of overall system make it feasible.
Sam (again?)—Re-usable standard parts made of lightweight carbon-epoxy—a far better way to use oil. Permanently reduces the amount of fuel used for each trip. Vehicle weight is a big enemy.
Satish Kuman—Of course they are. See note to Hestia_m above, and Regi Mathew, below.
Gonçalo—Source for your last sentence?
Mike—Nuclear is scary, no one wants to pay the liability insurance, waste is a problem, and so is potential for proliferation. But more important, tremendous capital required, long construction times, high-high tech materials, safety inspections, and NIMBY. MUCH simpler to give a major try to big-scale known-tech lower-capital focusing solar in the increasingly dry SW deserts. But, work on long-haul superconducting transport, and you would ameliorate some of these issues.
Marc Watson—there’s the meat-eating angle, if we consider the big big picture. Gotta change the image of the affluent American with his / her steak, keep up inquiry on meat vs. health.
Kasi Viswanath—that’s a short-range answer (similar to electricity), which relocates the pollution outside the urban area. Still have to provide the energy to compress the air. Capital for high-pressure pipelines? FAST “RECHARGE” is a major advantage over batteries—like a gas-station fillup now.
Susan—see Boulder Institute and “Smart Grid”.
Edward Tate—Right, but EEstor has pushed back the date it will finally reveal this miracle? No impartial party has actually seen and worked with one yet, to my knowledge. God exists, also….
Joe—excellent point. Subpoint is that even with an internal combustion / hybrid with intermediate battery or supercapacitor (no mechanical engine connection to wheels), one can run the internal combustion engine, or turbine, or whatever works out best, at optimum efficiency and speed. Much of the time a regular auto engine is NOT working in its best ranges—everything is a compromise, often bad.
Keith—great out-of-the-box thinking. You want distance, buy the thing that hangs on the back with its fuel tank.
Casey Anthony—You are a big-picture analyst and teacher. Hook up with me on Health Care!
Anthony—remember how many of our total miles are on short trips locally. Share one of these with 3 or so neighbors!!
John—I thought one had great public transit in London. Any encouragements for “live closer to work?”
Darcy—see Hestia_m, Regi Mathew, and Steve.
Brian—thanks, all of us need to understand some basic physics and engineering!
Tkindred—succinctly put. And PERHAPS CO-2 can be scavenged at those plants. (I am dubious, and favor mass-solar tries plus lots of reforestation first).
===============

Tenn Dave

December 7, 2009 11:03 PM

I'm no engineer, but I'm thinking the Leaf is carrying a lot of old oil burner design with it, motor, differential, cv's etc, as the reviewer noted,a highly tweaked Versa. For business reasons, no doubt, but wouldn't it be wonderful to see first clean slate E car. This beast will hopefully look way out of date in 5 years...

yoohoo

December 9, 2009 12:50 AM

The point of the battery lease is so that you don't have to pay an exorbitant price up front. The cost of the lease will be (or is supposed to be) less than the amount that you spend on gasoline. It is not a way to extract more money from you - it is a way to reduce "sticker shock" because the batteries are so expensive. Further, leasing the battery as opposed to owning it will allow you to upgrade to new, better, and cheaper batteries as they are developed.

Jan Akkerman

December 22, 2009 6:08 PM

Than to know that we will be paying thru the nose for the same technology as the first car and technology thats used for 60 to 70 year an any European train. There is nothing new folks!!! Development cost like for a real new product can not be applicable. Like with the hybrids this technology has used and tested technology for over 60 years. don't let the car industry fool you.
The electric car should be really cheap to make as the engine is flat-out nothing. Your vacuum cleaner has the same engine. So does every electric train. The best advice if you have a good car now -> MAINTAIN THE DAMN THING and keep driving until the weels fall of. No carbon footprint anymore as no new materials are used and no energy i waisted. Mine does still 33 miles the gallon every week. Of course its not an american made product, its a Camry.

Jan

AnindyaB

January 6, 2010 9:08 AM

When does Nissan plan to launch the Leaf in India?......... i want to buy one yesterday!

Oldevguy

January 9, 2010 7:50 PM

Folks it is a start! The beauty is in the engineering. I have been driving electric,car & motorcycle,for about 7 years now and I'm here to tell you there is nothing as sweet pressing on the VOLT pedal or twisting the handle grip and taking off like a ghost.Good range will come.
For those that can't wait for the OEMs, go to evalbum.com & pluginamerica.com to see what is going on in the ev world.
Enjoy,
D

Al

January 10, 2010 11:57 AM

Renting a battery for a car? I wonder if its cost affective to just buy a gasoline car.

Jim Valentine

January 12, 2010 3:00 PM

The pragmatic challenge for electric cars relate largely to marginal ontology. You just don't see them driving on parkways or parked in driveways.

We see EVs represented often enough by way of photos and text in magazines, auto company press releases and their imagined future, pregnant with potential, copiously "visualized" through postings to blogs. We just don't see them in "real life."

To be sure many of us have glimpsed EVs at auto shows or chanced upon an experimental prototype in the wild, usually leased by a proud, loquacious eccentric.

Their recent predecessors, the hybrids, have generated more-than-fair demand among green motorists yet in the larger auto sales picture have proven a flop, accounting for less than 2% of vehicles
driven off the showroom floor.

To date what has been sadly missing from electric car technology, almost synonymous with lithium-ion battery technology, is a ramping-up process that will meet or exceed consumer expectations across a popular spectrum of vehicle models with respect to cost, size, safety, power, styling, driving range, reliability and operating convenience. Until gas prices rise and remain above at least $4/gallon, ICE vehicles will continue to dominate the market..because, frankly, Scarlet they are what most consumers - for the foreseeable future -will prefer.

Frank Lowenstein

January 14, 2010 12:08 AM

I own a Nissan Altima hybrid, and have rented a Prius on business trips multiple times. They are great and drive just like a "normal" car, except for the fantastic acceleration available when you need it.

I also own a Honda Civic HX (a gasoline only model sadly not made anymore) that regularly beats my Altima's mileage and rivals that of the Prius. How? It's smaller, lighter, and has fewer conveniences (e.g. old-fashioned hand crank windows which don't require heavy motors).

My conclusion? The hybrids are a significant advance over similar cars with plain gasoline engines, but they will not get us to the degree of emissions reductions needed to save the planet on their own. New technologies and multiple pathways forward are needed. The Leaf might well be one of those pathways, and I would be proud to see it parked in my driveway.

Clean diesel hybrids, recumbent bicycles with fairings, and roads that are friendlier for small vehicles are other pieces of the puzzle.

Rick

January 19, 2010 3:18 AM

I've done the math on the impact to the grid, and if we replace ALL transportation with electric vehicles (trucks, as well), we will need a grid about 50% larger.
This is a "linear" calculation- it assumes everything scales evenly. In reality...it won't. If we concentrate transportation use (for example, a trucking company), the grid can be optimized to take advantage of that. If we use larger copper wires, or have more power plants even spaced around, the power lost in transporting electricity will be reduced significantly.
Our grid is underutilized at night, and since these would likely be able to charge at night (perhaps "talking" to the power company to know when rates were lower, something already being developed), some of the grid capacity (ie-night hours) we now have but don't use will be utilized.
As for those saying "I won't buy one, tree hugging freaks will" well, I'd expect (eventually) for electric cars to be physically cleaner, cheaper to maintain and have full torque over the entire acceleration curve, giving a quiet, smooth ride.

Richard Mara

January 28, 2010 12:10 AM

First off, you can get your electricity from the sun, which is exactly what I do with my 7 kw photo voltaic system! ! ! 2nd, when the first computers came to the market for the general public, they didn't have 250 gigabite hard drives or a host of other features that the average current computer has, but there still plenty of folks buying them. Or just look at cell phones today. . . . The point is, the technology in electric cars will change for the better as folks continue to buy whatever is currently available. That's how the process works. And to those who are concerned about the "Look" of an electric, please give us a break. If it does as good of a job as possible given the present technology, it matters little to me how much of a geekmobile it is. Performance is key at this point in the evolutionary cycle. For those who spend their lives judging books by their covers, please tell me why there are so many attractive people who are divorced? If more folks well start taking responsibility for the electricity (meaning energy) they use by using solar or wind power, (meaning making your own electricity) our footprint on this planet just might get a little smaller, both at home and on the road. And I did all this on my silly looking iPhone ! ! !

Richard Mara

January 28, 2010 8:42 AM

First off, you can get your electricity from the sun, which is exactly what I do with my 7 kw photo voltaic system! ! ! 2nd, when the first computers came to the market for the general public, they didn't have 250 gigabite hard drives or a host of other features that the average current computer has, but there still plenty of folks buying them. Or just look at cell phones today. . . . The point is, the technology in electric cars will change for the better as folks continue to buy whatever is currently available. That's how the process works. And to those who are concerned about the "Look" of an electric, please give us a break. If it does as good of a job as possible given the present technology, it matters little to me how much of a geekmobile it is. Performance is key at this point in the evolutionary cycle. For those who spend their lives judging books by their covers, please tell me why there are so many attractive people who are divorced? If more folks well start taking responsibility for the electricity (meaning energy) they use by using solar or wind power, (meaning making your own electricity) our footprint on this planet just might get a little smaller, both at home and on the road. And I did all this on my silly looking iPhone ! ! !

Ivan From California

February 15, 2010 1:13 PM

I am glad NISSAN-USA has stepped up agains the Big Oil Companies where General Electic has failed.

I hope no one kills ths electrinc car!

Leasing the batteries vs leasing the whole vehicle makes no difference. Battery cell technology is fast evolving and without consumer support it surely die.

As soon as this car available in California, I'm getting one!

I'm not replacing our X-Terra but reducing it's workload!

Think smart, people!
KUDOS to Nissan!!

J. Harper

February 20, 2010 10:29 AM

@Peter

"One reason (not the only one) is the siphoning of creative and technological talent to the military-industrial complex. Cut the military budget in half (or so; we really don't need to spend more than the rest of the world combined to deter others or fight terrorism) and watch a thousand technical innovations bloom!"

I agree that we should cut our military budget in half. We spend more on our military than the next five largest spenders combined. But your assertion is entirely wrong. I went to Georgia Tech, a research institution. Half of our annual budget comes from research... tuition covers a mere 12% of our bills. Guess who pays for most of that research? The DOD. Plenty of what we pay for, in terms of physical goods and IP, is wasteful in my opinion, but the military in the U.S. doesn't get enough credit for the innovations they have spurred.

By the by, DOD spending is just over $700 billion... sound familiar? Yeah, we've wasted far more than that trying to spur our economy. Yes, we're spending more money trying to artificially inflate our economy to pre-correction levels than what we're "wasting" on the DOD.

So I say, cut the DOD budget in half, and watch us save $350 billion per year... but we aren't going to get any technological innovations out of it. Feel free to bash excessive government spending, but just come right out and say it... don't just blame it all on a, "military-industrial complex." The 1960's are calling, it's Mr. Eisenhower wanting his speech back.

Transmech

February 21, 2010 1:57 PM

You sell outs that bash gm don't see that the volt has been in development for a long time. So most likely it will do what they say it will. But this nissan may not. Also, I don't have to rent batteries for the volt. So yeah it may cost more than the leaf but at least all of it is mine not half of it. Think about this if you wanted to take a trip somewhere in this car you would have to stop every 80 miles and wait thirty minutes to recharge it. That's if it even performs the way they say and if you can find a place with the most likely, proprietery plug, for it. At least with the volt I can keep driving and know I won't be stranded somewhere because i couldn't find a charging station. Don't get me wrong I think it's an awesome idea and would buy one but I don't like having to lease part of my vehicle. And it's not practicle for road trips yet. Until it is practical I will not be buying a pure electric.

Powell

February 28, 2010 7:27 PM

I was one of the lucky few who made it out to Lenox Square Mall earlier this month in Atlanta, Georgia to see the Nissan Leaf on tour. What a breath of fresh air to see a production electric vehicle being shown in close to final form! It is also exciting to find that the cars and batteries will be built in Tennessee. Not planned to be built but they have already broken ground on both factories and should be online in 2012.

I'm hoping that Atlanta will be one of the cities that will embrace the Project Get Ready program and help prepare for the electric car. There are so many innovations happening now that will make electric vehicles a reality. Most recently, the introduction of the Bloom Energy Server could prove to be a technology that can help offload some of the stress that electric vehicles will put on the national electric grid. Here is a blog post that discusses the Bloom Energy Server's role in electric vehicle adoption: http://notpetroleum.com/2010/02/27/bloom-energy-and-the-electric-car/

Here's another blog post comparing electric vehicle early adoption to the people who bought the first Model T's in 1908: http://blog.mapawatt.com/2010/02/05/preparing-a-home-for-electric-car/

jimmyhendrix

March 8, 2010 7:08 AM

gm had it in the 90s the saturn ev and that one had 80 mile max before charging . but if u take 4 diesel alternators 24 volts each pop one on each axle u may be able to drive it thousands of miles before charging it so in turn do a little research before speaking on subjects you know little about check out the movie who killed the electric car to learn more .besides we had electric cars back in the early 1900s phylis diller speaks of riding in one back in the days . and we had a very good electric rail system in the 1900s until we ripped those out and implemented petro burning busses . now its up to us to force congress to do things like use solar pannels in all new buildings bis and res and maybe on our new electric cars as well so how do you like those green apples ! but it would not surprise me if these people writing anti electric car blogs are gas company reps .just try thinking before you speak because you may be playing for the wrong team !

brian grier

March 9, 2010 2:20 AM

gm had it in the 90s the saturn ev and that one had 80 mile max before charging . but if u take 4 diesel alternators 24 volts each pop one on each axle u may be able to drive it thousands of miles before charging it so in turn do a little research before speaking on subjects you know little about check out the movie who killed the electric car to learn more .besides we had electric cars back in the early 1900s phylis diller speaks of riding in one back in the days . and we had a very good electric rail system in the 1900s until we ripped those out and implemented petro burning busses . now its up to us to force congress to do things like use solar pannels in all new buildings bis and res and maybe on our new electric cars as well so how do you like those green apples ! but it would not surprise me if these people writing anti electric car blogs are gas company reps .just try thinking before you speak because you may be playing for the wrong team !

solw

March 22, 2010 5:01 AM

But this nissan may not. Also, I don't have to rent batteries for the volt. So yeah it may cost more mutual funds than the leaf but at least all of it is mine not half of it. Think about this if you wanted to take a trip somewhere in this car you would have to stop every 80 miles and wait thirty minutes to recharge it.

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