Electric Cars The Nissan Leaf
The world is on course to make driving electric and its something everybody should be charged up on. Nissan is going full swing with their LEAF which is an acronym for Leading, Environmentally Friendly Affordable Family Car.
Electric cars have been here for quite a while and have always had their problems. Mainly battery capacity that would not allow performance and range along with the problems of recharging. This kept vehicles extremely close to home and unviable. The LEAF hopes to change that not only with a fairly usable performance for a family car but also with the implementation of a network of recharging station.
Ideally suited for small local trips taking the kids to school or heading down to the supermarket these cars will be performing just as well as gas powered cars. For anything that requires long travel times then you may still have to wait a while. The battery capacity is still not adequate for journeys over 100 miles and would require frequent stoppages to recharge is your were going across state. For city and urban commuting then the future is here now.
The benefits are quite obvious here, inner city pollution is a problem no matter what country you live in and as electric car produce no exhaust fumes they would cut down the toxic air dramatically.
Nissan Plans to produce 50,000 cars in the first year of production and has already received over 6,000 pre production orders which should be hitting the streets in December 2010. The cost of the car is expected to be around US$32,000 which is quite a large amount but for US customers there are State and Federal incentives that could reduce the cost to you by up to US$10,000. That is quite a saving and other countries should have similar incentives available as the push to electric transport gathers speed.
For charging the car can be basically plugged in to your home and topped up over night while you sleep. For those that live in apartment blocks then this is not practical especially if your live on the 24th floor. In parallel with the development of the Nissan car there is a collaboration of companies to implement Charging stations around cities and should be as common as gas stations. Gas Stations have safety consideration and the hazards of the inflammable fuel put restriction on the locations of the pumps. With electricity the restrictions are much much less, for instance every parking space could be a charging spot. When your are pushing your trolley around the supermarket your parked electric car could be charging up outside. Eventually charging stations should become more abundant than gas stations.
Those quick charging station could have your LEAF charges up to 80% capacity in around 30 minutes. At home it will take a little longer and expect around 8 hours here. These are from completely flat batteries and in reality the time will be shorter if your using your family car for shorter journeys.
Speed wise you can push up to 140 kmph or 87 mph which is more than enough for urban transport.
The electric car does bring in a whole host of new problems the most obvious one is the extra demand for electricity but this far outweighs the effects of pollution caused by the combustion engine. This may just be the start of the end of the gas powered vehicle. Lets hope so.
Image via wikipedia