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Is Now The Time For Electric Vehicles?

March 31, 2010

Plugging-in a New LEAF

We’ve been reporting about the progress in rolling out EVs over the last couple months. Click on EV in the tag cloud in the right-hand column and it will bring up 14 posts since December. That’s not counting the Intelligent Transportation Systems articles which include discussions of EVs and smart cars. Even the new series we’ve started on unmanned vehicles will include EVs and autonomous vehicle technology.

EVs have been around for over 100 years, see the AUTOTOPIA article on Jay Leno’s, 1909 Baker Electric car. It still runs well and looks great. Watch the below video.

Jay Takes Us for a Ride in His Baker Electric

We’ve spent a good deal of time discussing the Nissan LEAF EV because it will be available here in the Pacific Northwest this year. Oregon and other selected states are actively building-out the infrastructure for EVs as part of the Electric Vehicle Project.   The new LEAF looks like it will be the first practical and affordable modern production EV passenger car. There have been lot of questions about the car’s specifications and availability over the last few months. Yesterday Nissan answered some of the important questions.

Nissan Delivers Affordable Solutions for Purchase, Lease of All-electric Nissan LEAF™

As low as $25,280 ($32,780 MSRP minus up to $7,500 federal tax credit)

Lease world’s first mass-marketed EV for $349 per month

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (March 30, 2010) – Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA) today announced U.S. pricing for the 2011 Nissan LEAF electric vehicle, which becomes available for purchase or lease at Nissan dealers in select markets in December and nationwide in 2011. Nissan will begin taking consumer reservations for the Nissan LEAF April 20.

Including the $7,500 federal tax credit for which the Nissan LEAF will be fully eligible, the consumer’s after-tax net value of the vehicle will be $25,280. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price *(MSRP) for the 2011 all-electric, zero-emission Nissan LEAF is $32,780, which includes three years of roadside assistance. Release continued below…

Nissan LEAFs are Coming to Streets Soon

The Leaf is due in select markets in December and launches nationwide in early 2011. Tax incentives in some states, including a $5,000 rebate in California, a $5,000 credit in Georgia and a $1,500 credit in Oregon.

In order to ensure a one-stop-shop customer experience, Nissan is carefully managing the purchase process from the first step, when consumers sign up on, until the customer takes the Nissan LEAF home and plugs it into a personal charging dock.

  • Nissan begins accepting reservations on April 20 first from people who have signed up on, and, after a brief introductory period, to all interested consumers.
  • Consumers will be required to pay a $99 reservation fee, which is fully refundable.
  • Reserving a Nissan LEAF ensures consumers a place in line when Nissan begins taking firm orders in August, as well as access to special, upcoming Nissan LEAF events.
  • Roll-out to select markets begins in December, with nationwide availability in 2011.

Charging Equipment

In tandem with the purchase process, Nissan will offer personal charging docks, which operate on a 220-volt supply, as well as their installation. Nissan is providing these home-charging stations, which will be built and installed by AeroVironment, as part of a one-stop-shop process that includes a home assessment.

  • The average cost for the charging dock plus installation will be $2,200.
  • Charging dock and installation are eligible for a 50 percent federal tax credit up to $2,000.
  • Using current national electricity averages, Nissan LEAF will cost less than $3 to “fill up.”
  • Nissan LEAF also will be the sole vehicle available as part of The EV Project, which is led by EV infrastructure provider eTec, a division of ECOtality, and will provide free home-charging stations and installation for up to 4,700 Nissan LEAF owners in those markets.

See the full release…

In another interesting EV development, it was announced today…

Ford and Microsoft announce EV Charging Partnership

Excerpt from Autoblog

The new space that Microsoft and Ford want to take over is your garage; the method of attack is the free Hohm energy management application.

Hohm is a cloud-based system that can be used today to manage and control home energy usage. When it comes to future EVs and home charging, the system will be able to automate and optimize recharging and, most likely, communicate with a smartphone to relay information and update settings (need to turn off your dryer for some reason while you’re at work, Hohm can let you do that). The MyFord Touch and Sync technologies could also be integrated into the system, allowing your car to tell you it wants to be recharged at night during off-peak hours. Full post…

Hohm is a free web service that helps you make smarter decisions about saving energy and money. Get started today to see your personalized savings tips and energy report.

“A recent study showed that 42 percent of customers say they are likely to buy a hybrid or an electric vehicle in the next two years. And, clearly, increasing numbers of electric vehicles will have a significant impact on energy demand. Just consider that the addition of one electric vehicle to a household can double home energy consumption while the vehicle is charging.” From Hohm blog…

To see the latest news on Oregon’s Electric Vehicle Charging Network visit their web site.

Perhaps the 100 mile range on the LEAF is not enough for you and you’re thinking about buying a hybrid instead. Before you do, you may want to read this article in Forbes:

Reasons Not To Buy A Hybrid By Hannah Elliott, 03.31.10

“These cars are a step in the right direction–but they won’t create energy independence.” See full article…

Are you thinking about an EV or Hybrid for your next car? Use the comment section to let me know why and which one.

Back to UAVs on Friday…

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