Last March I test drove the Nissan LEAF and was enchanted with the quiet ride and concept of never buying gas again. In reality, the LEAF was not the best match for my lifestyle. Sure there is a national network of charging stations and Raleigh is a leader is providing public charging stations. I check the Nissan site for available charging stations within 50 miles. With a 100 mile range and no gas engine as a backup, my conviction to the LEAF is wavering. In my day’s work I can easily travel over 100 miles and would need to plan time in my schedule for a re-charge.
The LEAF requires a 240 volt permanently wired charger for optimal charging. There is an option for regular household current 120 volt for emergency charging, about to produce about 5 miles range for 1 hour.
There are two problems for many home owners with no garage, no place to put the outlet and the requirement for a short OEM cord. Parking lot charging for apartments, townhomes and many homes without a garage or carport is problematic. The home charging station costs $2,000 on top of the approximately $40K price tag for the vehicle. According to the Wiki article, “the 2014 model year, Nissan plans to introduce an inductive charger for wireless recharging. The system will be 80%-90% efficient, and existing vehicles will not be able to be retrofitted with the system.“
Solar is also a charging option for the LEAF. The two barriers are Home Owner Association approval and cost.
GM’s product, the Chevrolet Volt travels about half as far as the LEAF per gallon and is a hybrid gas engine vehicle providing much more flexibility. The charger uses standard household current 120 volt and does not require an external charging station to replenish the Lithiom-Ion battery.
So, Volt trumps LEAF for charging and flexibility. Add the cordless charging under development by Evatran and you have a winning combination! Now, back to work to be able to afford the $38K pricetag. Or the $28K for a Toyota Prius Plug-in.
MotorTrend comparison of the Volt and LEAF was very enlightening especially the equivalent of miles per gallon and carbon emissions.
- Nissan LEAF – all electric car test drive – March 2011
- Plug-in conference in Raleigh July 18–21
- Read the full article in today’s N&O, “Cutting the cord for electric cars“
- Winter Run: 2011 Nissan Leaf vs 2011 Chevrolet Volt
- Wikipedia: The Nissan LEAF