Archive for the ‘nissan LEAF’ Tag

Nissan Leaf Vs. Ford Focus Electric: Compare Cars

Suppose you want to enjoy all the benefits of a battery-electric car–the smooth, quiet ride, the strong torque from a stop, and the very low cost per mile–but don’t necessarily want people to point at your car because it’s unusual looking.

That might be enough reason to consider the Ford Focus Electric rather than the Nissan Leaf, which is by far the best-selling battery-electric car sold in North America.

The two cars offer somewhat different answers to the same question: What should a compact electric hatchback look like?

The Ford Focus Electric is all but identical to the conventional Focus five-door hatchback. Even the different frontal appearance it pioneered was adopted for the gasoline models this year, so now you really have to look carefully to tell an electric Focus from the regular one. Exterior differences amount only to a couple of door badges, and a charge-port door on the left-front fender.

The Nissan Leaf, on the other hand, is a dedicated design with distinctive styling–no grille up front and lengthy clear headlight units that stretch far back along the fender line and are are topped with aerodynamic fins. It’s an unusual and, to many, polarizing look.

One is a car whose design says, “Hey, I’m electric!” The other hides its plug-in running gear in an utterly conventional body shared with a gasoline compact.

The Leaf was designed from the start as a battery electric car, with its lithium-ion battery designed into the floorpan and the area under the rear seat. The Focus design was retrofitted for battery power, and so it’s heavier and less optimized than the Leaf.

Still, the two cars are fairly close EPA ratings for range and efficiency. The Nissan Leaf has been boosted to 84 miles of range, with a rating of 99 MPGe (miles-per-gallon equivalent). Based on the distance it will travel electrically on the amount of energy contained in 1 gallon of gasoline.

The Focus Electric does just slightly better on both counts, with a rated 76 miles of range and a 105 MPGe rating. It also retains the good roadholding and fun driving experience of the stock Focus, and its 107-kilowatt (143-horsepower) motor is more powerful than the Leaf’s 80-kW (107-hp)–though the Focus Electric is also heavier. Both cars fit 6.6-kilowatt chargers (the very lowest-end model of the Leaf makes do with a slower 3.3-kW charger).

Ford’s electric Focus has a couple of drawbacks compared to the Leaf. First, it has no DC quick-charging ability, unlike the Leaf. At specially equipped charging sites, quick charging brings the battery pack to 80 percent of capacity in about half an hour–against four or five hours on a standard 240-Volt Level 2 charger for each car.

Second, the Focus Electric’s battery, charger, and onboard electronics greatly reduce available load space. The first 2011 and 2012 Leafs had chargers that stretched across the cargo bay between the strut towers, but the car was re-engineered for 2013 and ever since, Leafs have had cargo space roughly similar to that of conventional hatchbacks.

The Ford Focus Electric is built in Wayne, Michigan, on the same assembly lines as gasoline Focus models. U.S. Leaf models are produced in Smyrna, Tennessee, and powered by U.S.-fabricated lithium-ion cells as well.

If you’re considering either car, there’s another factor you should know: Nissan sells the Leaf throughout the country, and it has now sold roughly 75,000 of them in the U.S. Ford only sells the Focus Electric in selected states, and anecdotal reports indicate that in some of those locations, buyers will have to work hard even to get one that’s theoretically available. Over the last three years, Ford has sold no more than 4,500 Focus Electrics–not even a tenth of the Leaf’s total sales.

The base-level Nissan Leaf S model now starts at $29,860, with fully equipped models reaching toward the $40,000 mark. The Focus Electric has had its price cut twice, and now starts at $29,995. Both of those numbers are before any Federal, state, or local incentives, and both cars qualify for a $7,500 Federal income-tax credit and a $2,500 California state purchase rebate. Both Ford and Nissan have also offered $199-a-month lease deals for these models, which take advantage of the Federal credit to lower the monthly payments.

In the end, buyers need to decide if they want a low-volume, pretty-much invisible electric car, or a more distinctive design that’s sold in much higher numbers. Thus far, the market seems to prefer the latter–but if Ford ever decides to get serious about battery-powered cars, it’s cut its teeth on the Focus Electric and produced a perfectly good electric car in the process.

As Read on: http://www.thecarconnection.com/news/1075247_nissan-leaf-vs-ford-focus-electric-compare-cars?fbfanpage

2011 Nissan Leaf At Two Years: 32,000 Miles, No Signs Of Age

Almost two years ago, I took delivery of one of the very first 2011 Nissan Leafs to be imported into the United Kingdom.

With its two-year anniversary approaching, and more than 32,000 miles on the clock, has our family’s opinion of the Nissan Leaf changed?

What has life with the car been like? And do we regret buying it?

Just as we said last year, our 2011 Nissan Leaf has generally aged appropriately.

But let’s start at the beginning.

In late March 2011, we drove our new family car 45 miles home from the dealership, plugged it in for the first time, and named the resplendent red car Hiro Nakamura–after the earnest Japanese superhero on NBC’s Heroes.

As the miles piled up, I shared the things we already liked and disliked about Nissan’s first mass-produced battery electric car.

We also documented Hiro’s life with us, including a visit to the dealer for an official software update recall, various odometer milestones, and a summary one-year drive report.

Wear and tear

Since that report a year ago, nothing else has broken. A few things have either required replacement due to standard wear and tear, or niggle at us on a daily basis.

-During our second periodic service, the front windshield wipers were replaced because the blades had separated from the wiper.
-An annoying squeak over rough ground has developed. It seems to originate from the area between the right-hand driver’s seat and the center console. As yet, we’ve been unsuccessful in pinpointing exactly what is making the noise.
-The driver’s side floor mat — an original Nissan accessory — has lost an eyelet, though it remains securely fastened to the floor.
-The rear carpets and the backs of the front seats have started to look much more worn than two-year-old interior fabrics should.
-The power windows, while functional, remain slow to operate. This is especially noticeable in colder weather.

2011 Nissan Leaf

Range and battery life

Unlike Nissan Leafs in much warmer climates (Phoenix, Arizona, for example), the generally temperate U.K. climate has so far been kind to the battery pack of our Nissan Leaf.

Despite six months of daily 80-mile freeway commutes with twice-daily recharging, our Leaf has shown no noticeable signs of battery degradation.

No battery capacity bars have disappeared, and the Leaf is easily capable of 75 to 80 miles on a full charge, depending on how it is driven, the type of road, and the temperature.

Even more impressive is the fact that several long-distance trips during the past year–covering thousand miles and requiring multiple quick-charges in a single day — have also had no noticeable impact on the battery health either.

Because few rapid chargers exist in the U.K., we often had to recharge the battery not to the recommended 80 percent but to 98 percent of capacity–something Nissan doesn’t recommend.

But regardless of the frequent quick-charging, the most recent battery health report from our dealer gave the car a five-star rating overall.

Four stars were given for “charging when already at a high level of charge,” no doubt caused by the rapid charging from 80 to 98 percent full. No warnings were issued for battery health or charging behavior.

Also worth of note: Despite numerous low-battery and very-low-battery warnings, our car has never entered the fabled ‘turtle mode’.

Carwings and charging

It would be nice to report that Nissan has improved its Carwings telematics service over the past two years. But it hasn’t, and the service remains the weakest link of owning a Leaf.

To start, Carwings’ charging-station information remains patchy and inaccurate (though this may vary by country; it is certainly the case in the U.K.).

In November, while on the way to a business meeting, inaccurate Carwings data directed me to a charging station that simply did not exist. Without the range to make it to the next charging station, I was forced to look for a standard outlet to charge at.

Ultimately, the car ended the day on the back of a tow truck after I failed to find an alternative place to charge.

Carwings’ inaccuracies don’t stop there. According to the odometer in our Leaf, it has traveled a little more than 32,000 miles since new. Carwings reports that it has only traveled 25,000 miles.

Moreover, its range predictions haven’t improved despite a software upgrade. On one occasion, less than 10 minutes after we’d quick-charged the battery to 98 percent, Carwings proudly warned us that, laden with two adults, two children, two dogs and luggage, our car wouldn’t reach its destination.

Thirty minutes later, we arrived safely at our destination, with at least 15 miles to spare. (Carwings failed to apologize.)

The iPhone Carwings app has also been a trial. For three months, it refused to connect to the Carwings servers, making remote monitoring and presetting the climate control only possible through a third-party app, LeafLink.

It took Nissan U.K. two months to rectify the issue.

Performance and handling

Almost two years after leaving the dealer, our 2011 Nissan leaf still performs as it did when new–accelerating well under most conditions, with only a hint of sluggishness when battery charge or temperature is low.

We replaced the factory-standard Ecopia E150 tires with aftermarket Michelin Energy Saver tires, and our now Leaf performs and handles far better than it did when new. The body roll is reduced, handling feels more precise, and grip seems improved.

And with longer tread life, we’ve already managed almost as many miles on the Michelins as we did on the original Ecopias–with half the tread on the newer tires still remaining.

2011 Nissan Leaf

Our verdict: No regrets

After nearly two years and more than 32,000 miles, our 2011 Nissan Leaf still performs as we had hoped it would when we bought it.

Our dealer experience has been good, with our local dealer still offering exemplary servicing for a very reasonable price.

Including servicing, insurance, electricity, and loan payments, our 2011 Nissan Leaf has cost us somewhere in the region of $18,000 so far.

It has also saved us more than $10,000 in gasoline costs compared to our previous car, a 1992 Volvo 240 Wagon.

As for regrets? There are none.

In fact, driving the Leaf has become such a part of our family life that we’ve now invested in a second electric car: a 2013 Renault Twizy microcar.

Which means our gas-guzzling 2008 Toyota Prius is now relegated to the lowly position of long-distance third car.

As Read on: http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1082571_2011-nissan-leaf-at-two-years-32000-miles-no-signs-of-age/page-2

2013 Nissan Leaf: Better Heater, Leather Option, 6.6-kW Charger

Nissan’s all-electric Leaf hatchback has only been on sale in the U.S. for the past 15 months, but Nissan has already confirmed it will get some much-needed upgrades for the 2013 model.

Speaking to The Detroit News yesterday, Mark Perry, director of product and advanced planning for Nissan Americas confirmed that the 2013 Leaf will get an improved heating system and an upgraded interior fitted as standard.

Although the electric-powered air heater found in the 2011/12 Leaf is adequate enough to keep the interior warm in all but the coldest of temperatures, its use comes with a caveat: a drop in range of as much as 30 miles.

As we’ve found in the past, sacrificing heat for range is hardly pleasurable.

Neither Nissan nor Perry has detailed how the heating system in the 2013 Leaf will be different, but we do know it will improve winter performance.

“You may not see much change on the EPA rating, but in cold-weather conditions you may see 20 to 25 miles of improvements,” Perry promised, although it is important to note Nissan hasn’t mentioned a change in either battery pack capacity or chemistry.

The other major improvements — aside from the 6.6 kilowatt charger that Perry promised last year — are focused on the car’s interior.

When the Leaf launched, its white seats made from recycled plastic bottles may have been environmentally responsible, but not everyone liked them, Perry admitted.

“We were like, ‘Ah, let’s do the clean, green recycled materials.’” Perry said. But as Nissan soon found out, customers wanted other options, especially those with children or pets.

As a consequence, the 2013 Leaf will be offered with optional Leather seats, as well as a choice of light or dark interior trim.

At the moment, little else is known about the 2013 Leaf, except that it will be manufactured in the U.S. at Nissan’s Smyrna plant in Tennessee.

Some analysts have suggested that the domestic manufacture of the Leaf will also help Nissan keep its price down, but Nissan has yet to confirm official pricing.

If you’re considering a Nissan Leaf, we’re keen to know if the latest announcement will delay your purchase decision.

Or perhaps you’ve been looking at other electric cars and now think the 2013 Leaf may meet your needs?

As read on: http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1074273_2013-nissan-leaf-better-heater-leather-option-6-6-kw-charger

The Nissan LEAF IS Here today!!

The Nissan LEAF will be on display TODAY, Tuesday, August 23 at
Dick Scott Nissan
42175 Michigan Ave, Canton, MI 48188
734-495-1000
www.DickScottNissan.com

Come by for this
ALL DAY Nissan LEAF Event*
From 10am – 6pm!

Come see the Nissan Leaf in-person! You will have an opportunity to explore it from the inside out and see all the LEAF has to offer!

Nissan LEAF Earns Highest Safety Rating From Federal Government

The Nissan Leaf earned a top five-star rating in the federal government’s new, tougher crash test rating system. Under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s new rating system, all vehicles are given a single rating of one to five stars based on their scores in separate front and side impact tests as well as resistance to rollovers.

The Leaf earned four stars for occupant protection in front-end crashes, five stars for side crash protection and four stars for resistance to rolling over, resulting in the overall five-star score.

The Leaf is an electrically powered plug-in car. It can go about 70 miles on a charge, according to EPA estimates.

NHTSA used updated crash test regimen, introduced last year, which includes a new side crash test in which vehicles slide diagonally into a pole, mimicking a car skidding into a light post or tree.

General Motors’ Chevrolet Volt also recently earned a five-star NHTSA safety rating.

The Volt and the Nissan Leaf electric car were both recently given Top Safety Pick Awards by the privately funded Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Institute, which is financed by auto insurers, conducts a different set of crash tests from those conducted by the government. To earn a Top Safety Pick Award, a vehicle must earn top scores in all of the Institute’s tests.

As read on: http://www.clickondetroit.com/money/28661540/detail.html?treets=det&taf=de

The ALL NEW 2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet!!

Announcing
THE ALL NEW 2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet
 The world’s first all-wheel drive crossover convertible!
All the features of a comfortable crossover with the fun of a open air convertable! Plenty of room for four adults, space for golf bags or luggage (even with the top down), and a premium level interior, the Murano CrossCabriolet represents a breakthrough in concept and design.
Set to go on sale in early 2011.

 

Nissan LEAF Litium-Ion battery facility ground breaking!

Nissan broke ground last month in Smyrna, Tenn. on the project that brings Nissan LEAF production to the United States. This new facility will be producing the Lithium-Ion Batteries that power the Nissan LEAF Zero-Emissions Vehicle. The all-electric Nissan LEAF will be produced at Nissan’s vehicle assembly facility in Smyrna beginning in 2012!

Nissan LEAF and battery production will create up to 1,300 jobs when the plants are operating at full capacity. The battery plant, one of the largest vehicle battery manufacturing plants in North America at 1.3 million square feet at full capacity, will be capable of producing 200,000 advanced=technology batteries annually. It will be located adjacent to the vehicle assembly plant, which will be retooled to accommodate production of Nissan LEAF and will be capable of producing 150,000 electric cars annually.

We are looking forward to the production of this New Zero-Emissions Vehicle! Check back for more updates on the progress Nissan is making toward the launch of the Nissan LEAF!