“Scott, thank you again for your continued commitment to driving a Nissan LEAF™. you have reserved your place in history and will be one of the first in your area to own one.we are still finalizing some details of the order process, and we will be in touch later this summer with additional information on your order timing. rest assured, this will not impact your reservation status. we will continue to keep you updated with all developments as they occur.”
This was in my e-mail and yes it has my hopes extremely high. Especially adding to that is that my home assessment for the charging station states that I’m number 13271. There are 15,000 cars reserved for the U.S. in the first batch which leads me to believe that since I’m the 13,271 person to schedule the assessment (which is part of the process to reserve the car) I think I’m in a good position to be one of the first to own this car!
I know it’s not official, but it’s looking good. It’s practical to not get too excited until I hear more, but that’s not going to happen. I can’t help it.
You might be asking why go electric? I think for me the main reason is no more oil changes, no more oil filters, and no more gasoline. That’s big savings in the long run. It’s also to make an environmental statement too. I think in the wake of the BP oil disaster in the gulf, now is a good time for Nissan to release it’s electric car. So far public interest has been good and it seems the Leaf is off to a good start. There are limits to what an electric car can do, even the Leaf isn’t for everyone. A 100 mile range it’s going to be good enough for vacation trips or driving too far. Even with charging infrastructure the fastest re-charge time is just under 30 minutes and that’s with the level 3 charging station which is the most expensive to install. Most people who end up driving the Leaf or other electric cars as they come on the market will have level 2 charging stations installed. They are slower but still within an acceptable rate of charge. We’re talking around 8 hours to charge up from a low state of charge, basically on empty. However, most charging will probably be done from around half empty on up so that will shrink the re-charging time. Level one charging is your typical 120v outlet and from low charge to full would take about 20 hours to charge the batteries on the Leaf! Still, with public charging stations, people can drive around and charge while they go shopping or are dinning out.
If you can’t get your hands on the Leaf or you need better range then you might want to take a look at the Chevy Volt. It is technically a hybrid, but it acts more like a pure electric car for about 40miles, no gas is needed. Once you run out of battery power, a gasoline engine kicks in and keeps you going while charging the battery (as I understand it). You can plug the car in at home and charge the battery which would probably charge fairly well on 120v and probably only in a few hours on the level two charging station (240v). The system is what I was hoping to do with my Prius by having it converted into a plugin but I was never fully satisfied with the systems that are available. Still, you will see a plugin version of the Prius from Toyota in a couple of years. Toyota is also working with Tesla Motors so we may see some interesting electric cars from Toyota soon too.
And if you can’t pry yourself away from the ICE car then there is still some good news for you. Advancements in MPG continues and we may see some improved ICEs coming in the next couple of years that will help save on gas. Imagine your typical gasoline non-hybrid car getting 50MPG! It’s not just a dream anymore, but a possibility! Don’t forget that bio-fuel isn’t out of the picture or even hydrogen (though I don’t see that happening for a while).
I hope to see more and more electric cars out on the road in the next few years and here’s hoping the Leaf does well. Oh, and don’t forget about Ford, they have an electric focus on the way too!