Thursday, March 04, 2010


Wow, wow, wow the future is here everyone. I am so excited about the new Nissan LEAF. This is the first all new 100% electric vehicle that will be in production for the general public that is not out of reach for the general public's pocket book. This is such amazing news. Nissan has not release any official performance info, all are just estimated info at the moment. However, being an EV (electric vehicle) owner myself the rough performance specs seem promising.

Best thing about owning an 100% electric vehicle is you will no longer have to deal with shady auto mechanics that have no business working on your car then taking your repair bill to the bank. Reason being since it is an EV, there will not be a combustible engine inside your car. This simple little idea of not having an combustible engine means no more oil change, tune up, sparks plugs, timing belts, water pump, header gaskets, valve adjustments, radiator, water heater, expensive extended warranty traps and no more gas! You get the idea. This is the main reason why EV was not a popular concept after it's initial offering to the general public back in the early 1990's. The auto makers quickly realized that they would loose out on hundreds of billions of dollars annually from sales of auto part for regular schedule maintenance. So they quickly scrapped and killed their own creations really quickly. Shame on you Ford and Honda! Find out more info on Chris Paine's informative documentaries: Who Killed The Electric Car? Until recently, Tesla Motors was the first to reintroduce a 100% pure EV for the luxury market in this century. Tesla was very successful and have completely broke new grounds with both their cars and their state of the art manufacturing process. Proving Detroit that they are no longer the Goliath. There have been numerous attempts to introduce EV back into the market place yet, many have failed. Again it is not in the best interests of the auto makers to have EVs on the road. So why now? Thanks to the ridiculious oil prices and the unsustainable world oil supplies to name a few, the auto makers and the oil companies are forced to break their monopoly ties on the world's economic domination. Yet not too long ago in the early 1900's it was Ford that build the world's frist electric vehicle. Ironic isn't it.

As a bonus, here's another random facts, ever wonder why Los Angeles does not have a great public transportation system like our sister metropolitan cities like New York and Chicago? We actually had one believe it or not! It was The Los Angeles Railway aka LARY pronounced "Larry". What happened to the wonderful public LA transportation system you ask? You guessed it, Detroit realized that Angelenos had a great public transportation system that there was not an urgent need for personal vehicle. Therefore, Detroit created it's own LA auto market by buying up all of the trains and cable cars companies in Los Angeles and left it to decay in it's own grave yard in an effort to cripple our wonderful thriving public system and independence forcing Angelenos no choice to get around town but to purchase Detroit's own creations. Detroit then lobby, weasel and manipulated it's way into Congress asking Americans to pay for a brand new freeway system for emergency city evacuation system with it's fear tactics. By golly gee, things haven't change have they? Shame on Detroit and the City of Los Angeles for allowing this to happen (that's another political story and rants). More info and photos at these links: Tom Wetzel's Los Angeles Railway In Brief, Southern California Freeways, Old LA Blog, The Los Angeles Railway (LARY).

As you can see, how significant this tiny little EV named LEAF by Nissan represents. This has been a long long time coming for us EV's enthusiasts! This official general public offering of the vehicle is a symbol of hope for mankind, the signs of the times and a glimpse of the new EV revolution! Finally a vehicle that is both positive and environmentally responsible and conscious for progress in the 21st century. There is even an XPrize sponsored by Progressive Automotive inviting teams from around the world to focus on a single goal for the ultimate EV. The objective is to design, build and sell super-efficient cars that people want to buy. We sure have come a long way Dorothy. This tiny small movement that is surely gaining alot of positive momentum will be a huge relief for mother earth helping to reduce the global warming effect. So enough history, you get the idea. Now let's get to the fun and exciting facts of the 100% all electric Nissan Leaf...wooo hoooo!

Please note: I will try to give my best estimation and explanations in a real world usage expectation for the battery performance of the new Nissan LEAF base on my experience as an owner of my 100% electric Vectric Maxi-Scooter usage experience.


Automatic or manual transmission? - Since an EV (electrical vehicle) is power by an electric battery. There are no traditional automotive gasoline engine required. The EV will be nice and quite, smooth and driving experience will be similar to an automatic transmission.

100% Torque at Zero RPM - Yup this is true and it's one of the best thing about EV. There's no lag because the battery power is always on and the power is transfer directly to the drive shaft from the battery unlike the traditional mode: gas, ignite with spark creating combustion mixed with the perfect combination of air and gas to drive your car. So as soon as you let go the brake and step on the electric pedal, your EV will go as fast as you want it to go...yippie!

Accelerate like a V6 and has top speed of 90 mph - traditional gasoline automobiles' speed and power are described in "horsepower". For electric vehicles, since it does not have a traditional engine, it borrow's it's ancestor terminology like CCs and V6 to describe the power level of the EV.

The battery will charge in 4-8 hours on a 220V home charging unit. At quick-charge stations, it will charge to 80% in about 26 minutes - Sounds like the Nissan LEAF on board computer will automatically detect your voltage either in 110V or 220V to determine proper charging, conditioning, depleting and deep conditioning of your battery cells. By the way, since this EV will be use on a daily basis, most city or private water and power company has special programs for EV owners to sign up to save money on your electrical bills if you charge during non peak hours, usually between the hours of 9pm to 5am.

Range of 100 miles per charge under average, everyday driving conditions - What this means is unlike a gas vehicle, you fill up the tank, drive until you run out of gas before you refill. You're new EV's estimated 100 miles range can only be accomplished based on keeping your speed at a minimum steadily in order for you to reach your 100 mile range. I am guessing you might have to stay between 25 to 30 mph in order for you to reach 100 miles range. Again, this is just a hunch, I am not an automotive engineer or a qualify scientist. These are speculative data base on my EV driving experience on my electric Vectrix Maxi-Scooter that was rated as 62 mph max speed, 60 miles range but really does 35 to 40 miles range within the speed of 25 mph to 35 mph. So owning an EV will require new learning curve with the understanding of your vehicle's own battery consumption, power and recharge management.

To help you reach a charge point, the LEAF will change its output to extend your range when the battery gets low - What this basically means is when you hit below a certain level of your battery, let's say you have 20% of your battery life left, the EV's computer system will automatically limit your top speed so you don't panic and become lead footed by pushing your pedal to the metal, preventing you from wasting your battery life too quickly.

Will battery still drain in a busy city traffic if you're not moving - Absolutely not. this is another great benefit of owning an EV. Granted you are not bumping your stereo system while cranking your AC. If your EV is in idle mode, and no other electronic instrument is in use besides your driving lights/headlights and the instrument panel, you will not loose much battery life.

Does weather affect the battery life? - Yes it does but like all batteries this all depends on the battery technologies and it's management system.

What kind of acceleration does it have - EV's acceleration is instant, refer back to the 100% torque at 0 - 60 mph reference above.

The LEAF is partly made from recycled material - No explanations needed here, you get the drift.

The LEAF uses a cellular-type network - Think of this car as a fancy huge iPhone on four wheels. No need to visit the dealership unless you need to change tires, change your brake pads or top off your brake and steering fluids. All other mechanical and electronic services will be performed via telephone call just like calling into Apple Care. You simply follow the instruction over the phone while the service center taps into your EV's computer terminal via the cellular network to diagnose your LEAF. This will be the future of how your EV will be serviced including any future software updates...just like your iPhone. No more sitting and waiting around a greasy mechanic shop. I would suspect Nissan will have some kind of service infrastructure like Apple's genius bar set up with it's online RSVP system and Apple Care type call center. This is going to be so much fun.

Charging preference of the car's functions can be done through any computer like your MAC or internet-enabled phone like an iPhone, I am sure there will be an app for that :)

Rear camera is available - I suspect this will be an upgrade.

Cruise control - Love this feature, hope is not an upgrade.

No sunroof at this point.

Zero Emission badge - currently plans to have one on the car.

Battery is located under the seat and has been tested for impact safety.

Not related but Electric Vehicle is not the same as Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Drivetrain - Inverter, electric motor and reduction gear set. Output shaft connects via CV joint to hub-and-carirer.

Steering is drive-by-wire.

4-wheel disc brake and Regenerative braking - Another benefit of EV's, while braking, the energy not being used will revert back into the battery, usually the regenerative braking allows you to extend about 20% of your battery life.

LEAF uses a unique laminated Lithium-Ion battery with a capacity of 24kWh.

If you have not experience driving an EV, get yourself on the waiting list. You will love the feeling and the handling of an EV. I hope you are as excited about the new Nissan LEAF as I am. I would love to shoot a wedding couple driving away in the LEAF. For once, the sound of the tin cans attached to the car will make more nose than the car

Hopefully this time the EVs will have a chance to prove themselves before the auto maker pull the plug on them. Support your local and national EV association at Plug In America and online forums like V is for voltage.

For more info on the Nissan LEAF, visit

Press photography courtesy of Nissan.

1 comment:

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