Low on gas? You’ll be green with envy over the Nissan Leaf

I was sitting at a stop light yesterday when I spotted a pure white Nissan Leaf cruise past us in the left turn lane.

2011 Nissan Leaf

The Leaf’s “Glacier Pearl” finish and stylish, vertical tail lights helped it stand out in the intersection crowded with all sorts of makes, models and designs of vehicles.

But it wasn’t the design or color of the Leaf that made it look so special in my eyes.  It’s what’s under the hood that really matters.

“There goes a Nissan Leaf,” I said to my girlfriend. “It’s an electric vehicle.”

“All electric?” she asked.

“Yep. Never has to stop at a gas station,” I replied.

“Never?”

“Never ever.”

The conversation continued to include many if the same questions that are coming up in families all across the country regarding electric vehicles:

How far can it travel on a charge? According to Nissan, the Leaf has a range of up to 100 miles on one full charge to satisfy real-world consumer requirements.

How long does it take to charge? The Leaf can be charged up to 80 percent of its full capacity in 30 minutes when equipped with a quick charge port and using a DC fast charger. Charging at home through a 220 volt outlet is estimated to take approximately seven hours. The advanced lithium-ion battery pack carries an industry-competitive warranty of 8 years or 100,000 miles.

Where do you charge it? Anywhere there is an electric charging station available. Typically that would be at your home, charging  overnight in your garage with a standard, 220V outlet.  Also, charging stations are beginning to pop up at other locations, such as business parking lots, airports and shopping malls.

To find available charging stations along your route, there are websites such as ChargePoint that provide updated information about locations and availability of electric charging stations. Here’s a story from the Washington Post that we found interesting about how electric car charging stations are growing in numbers in the Washington, D.C. region.

The LEAF SL features a photovoltaic solar panel spoiler that supports charging of the 12-volt battery for some car accessories.

How much does it cost? The 2012 Nissan Leaf SV has an MSRP of $35,200, but after taking advantage of federal tax savings of up to $7,500, the net price of the Leaf is about $27,700. The Leaf SL version, which includes a new photovoltaic solar panel spoiler, will cost $29,750 after tax breaks. See pricing and leasing details here.

Let’s see, no gasoline costs, little to no emissions, fun to drive and a good price . . . it seems that electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf, Coda sedan and the gas-electric Chevrolet Volt are no a brainer for people who want to save money and help the environment.

Oh, and there’s one more advantage to driving an electric vehicle — access to carpool lanes!

It’s time to start driving green!

One comment

  1. I saw one of these at a car show last year and I was definitely charged. It’s a spacious little hatch, too.

    I have heard arguments about pollution emission from electricity production for these vehicles…especially from sources like coal. However, a coal power plant is a point-source that is much easier to regulate than non-point source gas vehicle emissions. If one were to hook up a PV solely for charging cars, that emission problem would diminish, too.

    At any rate, I’m stuck with hypermiling and ecomodding my gas-powered Vibe for now. Thanks for the interesting post.

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