Electric cars rolling out

Dec 16, 2009 by Lin Edwards weblog
Nissan Leaf

(PhysOrg.com) -- Electric vehicles are far from new, but we are still a long way from electric cars being the norm. Now two new electric cars may bring that goal a step closer.

The Nissan Leaf all-electric prototype shown off recently has 107 horsepower and accelerates quickly and silently, reaching up to 90 miles an hour, and offering a 100 mile driving range. It has all the comforts expected in today's cars, including cruise control, air conditioning, stereo sound system, and a that points you to the nearest public charging stations.

The Leaf also has a built-in charger with a timer that lets you decide when it is charged. Most owners are expected to charge the 24 kWh battery overnight at their own home. A full recharge will take 16 hours at voltages available in the US, but public fast-charging stations with plugs will be able to recharge the battery in just 30 minutes.

Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid

Meanwhile Toyota has announced plans to market large numbers of a plug-in Prius hybrid in late 2011. Its range will be much less than the Leaf, at only 14.5 miles, but unlike the Leaf, it is not all-electric, which will be an advantage until charging stations become widespread enough that an all-electric car can go anywhere. Toyota says the hybrid will be extremely economical to run, at 134 mpg. The 5.2 kWh pack recharge time will be much faster than for the Leaf.

Charging stations are beginning to appear in the US. Director of Product Planning for Nissan in North America, Mark Perry, points out that 2,500 public charging stations will be built around Seattle, and there will soon be a station within five miles of anywhere in the Puget Sound region. Charging stations will also be built elsewhere in the US in the near future.

Battery technology is also improving, and the ideal battery for electric cars would give the car a long range, while producing minimal waste when it comes to the end of its life. The in the Nissan Leaf uses LiMn chemistry, and is expected to last 10 years, after which it can be recycled.

Nissan will be taking orders for the Leaf starting in spring, 2010, and the car is expected to retail at around $32,000. Toyota's plug-in vehicle should be widely available in 2011, probably for under $30,000, and General Motors will have the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid available in 2011 at a price tag of about $40,000. Tesla already has its own electric cars with a 313 mile range, and more affordable cars than the Roadster are planned. Ford and Mitsubishi are also planning to offer electric cars in the near future.

have zero emissions and in the US are eligible for tax credits, which can be as much as $7,500.

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Explore further: Going nuts? Turkey looks to pistachios to heat new eco-city

More information: Nissan Leaf website -- www.nissanusa.com/leaf-electric-car/#/car/index

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User comments : 7

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not rated yet Dec 16, 2009
I think almost all car manufacturers are working on electric vehicles. Like GM with the Chevrolet Volt and Opel Ampera. Others firms like Merecedes, Mini, Porsche, Renault, Audi and many others are working on it. By 2020 most cars (80%) will ride on electricity.
not rated yet Dec 16, 2009
It is extremely unlikely the plug-in Prius would get 135 mpg in any real-world situation. GM's numbers for the Volt are equally bogus. A new mileage standard has to be developed to prevent manufacturers' from rating fuel mileage on battery + 1 mm. It would be reasonable to have a battery-only number and a city rating where the battery has to be at the same charge level at the beginning and end of the cycle.
not rated yet Dec 16, 2009
You can already get an electric Porsche, the eRUF Porsche.
not rated yet Dec 16, 2009
Consumers who drive the Nissan Leaf will learn all about range anxiety. The range of the Nissan Leaf is actually "up to 100 miles." The car will likely get much less range when driven at high speeds and/or in cold weather.

Plug-in battery cars with big batteries like the Chevy Volt are very expensive. And plug-in battery cars with smaller batteries like the plug-in Prius aren't much better than a standard Prius.

People should be paying a lot more attention to what Toyota and Honda are saying about plug-in battery cars.

"Top 20 quotes from Toyota and Honda executives criticizing plug-in battery cars"


Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, which will arrive at dealerships in 2015, are the solution to the oil crisis. They are far superior to battery-only vehicles when it comes to driving range, fueling time, cold weather performance, and trunk/passenger space.

Greg Blencoe
Chief Executive Officer
Hydrogen Discoveries, Inc.
"Hydrogen Car Revolution" blog
5 / 5 (2) Dec 16, 2009
Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, which will arrive at dealerships in 2015, are the solution to the oil crisis.

And what will be the price of fuel cell and what range can be expected from it, before it needs to be replaced with a new one? And what will be the price of hydrogen and how will it be stored in the car? How will that hydrogen be made? These are the defining points for fuel cell cars.
1 / 5 (1) Dec 19, 2009
"Electric cars have zero emissions" -- at the tailpipe, what about emissions at the coal fired generators?

How will 100% electric cars do when the temperature is -40°F?
5 / 5 (1) Dec 21, 2009

How will 100% electric cars do when the temperature is -40�F?

I dunno. Ask the mars rovers.....and the hubble telescope....and....

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