The Nissan LEAF: An Electric Car for the Family
With the stories of oil companies discouraging the development of electric cars, many people wonder if there will ever be an electric car that is exclusively designed for families. After a long wait, the chance for car users to own an electric family car has finally arrived. This new car is different from the Toyota Prius hybrid car that was introduced some time ago; it is a car that is fully powered by electricity.
The Nissan LEAF, an acronym for “Leading, Environmentally-Friendly, Affordable, Family”, was released in the US market in December, 2010 and the UK market in February, 2011. It is a 100% family electric car with zero emissions. This 5-door car has an attractive appearance, and it can reach a top speed of 90 mph.
It is capable of traveling approximately 100 miles before it has to be plugged in for recharging. It comes with features such as alloy wheels, Nissan Navigation System, Bluetooth hands-free system, iPod-compatible audio system, and bottle-holders. Similar to other green cars that are available in the market, the Nissan LEAF comes with a high price tag. It costs about $25,000 in the US, but it qualifies for certain tax credits. Considering the rising cost of gas, it can be a good investment in the long run.
The Nissan LEAF was sold out six months before it was launched. Buyers were required to register online and put down a refundable $99 registration fee to gain the rights to buy the car. Nissan offered the car at a lower price in the US to attract more buyers, and it seems that the incentive has worked. In the UK, the Nissan LEAF is selling for about 30,000 pounds, but buyers can get a 5,000-pound incentive from the government. Since it only costs about two pounds to charge up the car, users can expect to save more than 1,000 pounds on fuel if they drive about 8,000 miles a year.
One of the things that deter people from buying electric cars is the difficulty of finding a place to charge the cars in public. Most electric cars can be charged through any standard electric point at home. The problem arises when car users go on long trips away from home. There are electric car charging points in public places, but they are not widely available. More and more charging posts are being set up these days, and they should be more commonplace in the near future.It takes about eight hours to fully charge a Nissan LEAF with a standard 220/240V electrical supply. This means that it is impossible for users to travel far in a single day.
Recently, the Nissan LEAF was reviewed by a popular TV show called Top Gear. The Top Gear reviewing team drove the car to the seaside, and found that it has a good feel and features. However, they had trouble finding a place to recharge the car. Nissan announced that it will be installing “quick charge points” in all its dealerships in the next few years to enable LEAF owners to charge up their cars in just 30 minutes.
However, one thing that LEAF owners should know is that quick charging can cause the battery to deteriorate at a faster rate, and possibly destroy it in just three years. If the car is charged the normal, slower way, the battery can last about 10 years, and the cost of a new battery is 7,000 pounds.