• Feb 10th 2010 at 9:04AM
  • 11
2010 Nissan Leaf EV – Click above for hi-res image gallery

The Nissan Leaf is making a promotional tour around the U.S. and was in Massachusetts yesterday. The people of the commonwealth must have liked what they saw, because the Renault-Nissan Alliance announced a new zero-emission vehicle partnership with the state government from the Museum of Science in Boston.

The state and the alliance will work together, in a vague way, to ready a recharging infrastructure for electric cars. How vague? This vague:
As part of the agreement, Nissan and the State of Massachusetts will develop plans to promote a charging infrastructure for electric cars that encourages home and workplace charging, as well as a public charging infrastructure. The partners will work to coordinate the establishment of policies and help streamline charging infrastructure deployment. Nissan also has agreed to make available a supply of electric vehicles statewide.
Yeah, we're not quite sure what that says, either, but we assume more details will be forthcoming. The Leaf will be available in select markets later this year.

[Source: Nissan North America]


Renault-Nissan Alliance Forms Zero-Emission Vehicle Partnership with State of Massachusetts

BOSTON, Feb. 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Renault-Nissan Alliance today announced that Nissan is entering into an agreement with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to advance zero-emission mobility throughout the state by promoting the development of an electric-vehicle charging network and policies to support widespread adoptions of electric cars. The announcement was made at the Museum of Science in Boston, a stop on the Nissan LEAF Zero Emission Tour, and helps pave the way for the 2010 introduction of Nissan LEAF, the industry's first all-electric, zero-emission car designed for the mass market.

"The Renault-Nissan Alliance has committed to becoming a global leader in zero emissions," said Carlos Tavares, Chairman, Nissan Americas. "Zero-emission mobility is the ultimate solution for addressing questions of climate change and energy independence. We applaud the State of Massachusetts for leading the way for the reduction of greenhouse gases. We are looking forward to bringing the Nissan LEAF, the only mass-marketed all-electric zero-emission car at an affordable price, to Massachusetts."

As part of the agreement, Nissan and the State of Massachusetts will develop plans to promote a charging infrastructure for electric cars that encourages home and workplace charging, as well as a public charging infrastructure. The partners will work to coordinate the establishment of policies and help streamline charging infrastructure deployment. Nissan also has agreed to make available a supply of electric vehicles statewide.

The agreement is part of the Commonwealth's broad initiative to encourage development and deployment of electric-vehicle technology, consistent with its leading commitment to greenhouse-gas emission reductions.

"Electric-vehicle technology is a significant way to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and expand our clean energy economy," said Energy and Environment Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles. "We look forward to the day when it's just as routine - or more so - to plug in the car for recharging as it is to fill up the gas tank."

Nissan, along with alliance partner Renault, is the only automaker committed to making all-electric vehicles available to the mass market on a global scale. Nissan LEAF, a five-passenger all-electric car, will be available for private and fleet customers. It is being launched in the U.S., Japan and Europe in late 2010.

Nissan has spearheaded a holistic approach to zero-emission mobility by working with states, municipalities, utility companies and other partners, to prepare markets and infrastructure. Nissan has formed more than a dozen partnerships in the United States, in areas including State of Tennessee, the State of Oregon, Sonoma County, San Diego and San Francisco in California, Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz., Washington D.C., Seattle, with the City of Orlando and Orlando Utilities Commission, with Progress Energy in Raleigh, N.C., and with the City of Houston and Houston-based Reliant Energy. Nissan also is working with AeroVironment for the supply and installation of home charging stations, creating a one-stop shop for the Nissan LEAF and its charging equipment.

Through the 24-city Nissan LEAF Zero-Emission Tour, which stopped in Massachusetts today, Nissan has been showcasing the electric vehicle and battery technology as well as the company's zero-emission mobility objectives.

Nissan North America

In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive design, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010, whose key priorities are reducing CO2 emissions, cutting other emissions and increasing recycling. More information on the Nissan LEAF and zero-emission mobility can be found at www.nissanusa.com/leaf-electric-car.

Renault-Nissan Alliance

The Renault-Nissan Alliance has begun zero-emission vehicle initiatives in Kanagawa Prefecture and Yokohama in Japan, as well as in Mexico, Israel, Denmark, Portugal, Monaco, the UK, France, Switzerland, Ireland, China and Hong Kong. The Renault-Nissan Alliance, founded in 1999, sold 6,085,058 units in 2009.. The objective of the Alliance is to rank among the world's top three vehicle manufacturers in terms of quality, technology and profitability

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      I will be seeing it on Saturday when its just across the shore in NJ, I will note that question on breaking you had neil, and if anybody else had other unique questions just reply to this and I will make a list and report back :) I am very excited about this little baby, interesting about the lack of active cooling... but since its a smaller pack (size) and is wedged up into the passenger compartment I wonder if It will be much of an issue in cold climates, especially if you can tell it to start heating before you get out to it in the morning.
        • 5 Years Ago
        There is another reason to leave it plugged in even when it has finished charging - it can be signaled by cell phone or timer to pre-heat or pre-cool the cabin using power from the outlet. Not only is that more comfortable for driver and passengers, it also means less energy demand from the battery to heat or cool the car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Thanks John. My question on the regenerative braking is: about what percentage of the overall braking power comes from regeneration? In other words, does it get 20% or 25% or 30% of braking effort from the regenerative system, before the hydraulic brakes start to be used? And about how much of the electricity is able to be regenerated?

        Also, what is the typical cost of installing a Level 2 (240v AC) charger in a home, and how does the tax credit work for this? I think they said you can get up to $2,000 tax credit, but what other rules apply?

        The battery generates it's own heat while you are charging it, so if it is plugged in over a cold night, then the car and certainly the battery would already be warm. They said that it takes about 3 days for an *unplugged* Leaf's battery to cool down to the ambient temperature. And that they have tested it down to -20F. Once you start using it (i.e. running the car), then the battery will warm up again. I'm sure that it would be best to plug it in on cold nights, even if it charged; just to keep it warm.

        Oh, and it is impossible to drive the car when the charger is plugged in, naturally.

        Thanks again. Neil
      • 5 Years Ago
      I went to the Boston Science Museum yesterday, and I've seen the Nissan Leaf in person -- it is one of only two actual cars they've made, so far. It cost them ~$2.5 million to build it. It looks larger than I expected, and it has a typical-for-today look: thick doors and thick seats, a quite tasteful dash with large screen GPS navigation system (more later) and the dash is all electronic. The backseat looks pretty decent, and the hatch/boot looks pretty darn large and deep.

      The battery is 24kWh, lithium manganese polymer (IIRC) designed and built by Nissan. There are 48 ~inch thick cells that are about the size of a piece of paper; and each of these has 4 prismatic "sub-cells". They are in a sealed enclosure, and it has a 10 year warranty -- it will have 70-80% of its capacity at that time. There is no active cooling in the battery pack.

      There are three types of charging:

      Level 1 is 120v AC and will take up to 16 hours to go from no charge to full charge.
      Level 2 is 240v AC and will take up to 8 hours to go from no charge to full charge.
      Level 3 is 440v DC and will be able to charge 0-80% in ~27 minutes.

      Charging starts after you plug it in, and after the car and the charger have "talked" to each other, and everything is hunky dory. It will be nearly impossible to get shocked, even in a rain storm, as the cord is not energized until after this happens. I believe I heard someone talking about being able to program the car/charger to work during specific times, to take advantage of (possibly) lower rates.

      The cost of the car will include the battery. You will be able to buy the car with the battery -- or you can lease the car with the battery. It's not "official" at this time, but they will *not* be leasing the battery separately from the car.

      You will be eligible for the $7500 federal tax credit for buying the car. If you have a charger installed (this may be for a Level 1/2 charger?), you can get up to an additional $2,000 tax credit, as well. Level 3 chargers are eligible for more, IIANM.

      They will announce the actual pricing in April (at which point I believe they will start taking pre-orders). For the moment, they say the price will be "the same as a similarly sized and equipped [conventional] car." Remember the nav system I mentioned? This is part of the battery monitoring system, and my understanding is that it is standard equipment:

      There are 4 ways to monitor the battery charge:

      A "miles left" estimate display.
      A percent of charge left display.
      A circle of approximate range highlighted on the nav screen display
      An "idiot" light that warns you when you get close to 10% (IIRC) charge left, and it soon thereafter goes into a "limp home" mode that limits your speed to 55mph, (and probably turns off things like the A/C?).

      I forgot to ask about how regenerative braking works. Darn. Oh, they will start shipping at the end of this year, to the pre-orders, and then after that, they will be at the dealerships. They had a dealer conference/training happening concurrent with this public "tour". Tomorrow/next they will be in New York city.

      Sincerely, Neil
        • 5 Years Ago
        I saw it under wraps in Madison Square Garden this morning (looked for it on the way to work today)... However, there is pretty heavy snow comming down outside and they are talking about cancelling the LIRR/Amtrack/NJTransit trains this evening (Penn Station is directly below Madison Square Garden), so there might not be much of a crowd (at least by NYC standards).
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hi folks,

        Tom -- I'm fairly sure i heard someone say that you could program either the car and/or the charger to charge during certain off-peak times. The car and the charger communicate digitally through the cord, and in normal circumstances, it turns on after everything checks out -- the software does this, so it could very well be programmed to wait until the right time.

        As I understand it, the reason the headlights are that way is to provide better air flow around the side mirrors; which by the way are fairly compact and sleek.

        I think the tailights are LED's so they come on instantaneously, and would be very noticeable. They are on a curve, so the likelihood that a glare would obscure all of it seems pretty small.

        Some other bits of info: the wheels are 17", which is fairly big, and the tires looked to be very typical width for a car of the Leaf's size and weight -- they are not skinny "economy" tires; so, depending on your point of view, this is maybe a good thing or a bad thing.

        The Cd is apparently 0.28 which seems completely plausible -- I'll bet the wheels and openings are responsible for a fair bit of the drag.

        The weight of the car is probably around 3,500 pounds -- though I could be wrong on this. The earlier estimate was 2,800 pounds which would have been much better.

        Some subjective stuff: it looks larger than I thought it was going to be. It feels like it is bigger than the Prius on the outside (though not by much) and the inside also seemed slightly larger. Plenty of room for at least 4 tall adults, and a child. The hatch area is very deep -- they extended it all the way down to the (nearly) flat floor pan, since there is no gas tank, and the battery pack is under the seats.

        Sincerely, Neil
        • 5 Years Ago
        Excellent report, Neil. The only things I would add were the oddities that I noticed. The headlamp covers were roughly 3 feet in length and mounded about 6 inches proud of the hood. The taillight covers were also long and narrow; the covers were so glossy and the showroom lighting was so intense that it seemed like the thin strip of taillights would be hard to see due to the glare. That said, I did like the vehicle overall. I am curious to see how the pricing will compare against the Chevy Volt.

        Here are some crummy pictures: http://picasaweb.google.com/dwhall256/NissanLeaf
        • 5 Years Ago
        Kudos on the great post, Neil. One question, did you happen to ask if the vehicle controls its charging schedule? I'd like to know if you can program the Leaf to preferentially charge during off-peak hours (at 1am each day for example) while it is plugged in to the home charger.

        The AeroVironment site seems to indicate that charging is manually initiated by pushing a start button on the home charger.
      • 5 Years Ago
      All sounding really good, though I wish they'd make up their mind on the battery lease/buy. Personally an option for both would be good though I think people would expect the car without batteries to be *less* to buy than a similar ICE car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hi Alan,

      The price of the car (or the lease of the car) *will* include the battery along with the car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, but if they were going to offer the lease option the cost of the car should then be considerably less. I wonder if they still have different plans for other parts of the world (like the UK where I am). Personally I'd rather buy than lease just to get all the costs out of the way and then have a *very* cheap to run car for 5 or 6 years. If they could sell the car for £7000-£8000 and then lease the battery (including electricity) for £50 a month that might be attractive to some people.

        I can't wait to see these on the roads anyway!
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