Some of the electric cars from the leasing experiment of the 1997-2004 period in California, as documented in the movie "Who Killed the Electric Car" are still on the road today. Most of those electric cars were confiscated by the manufacturers and destroyed. However, if you wanted to buy one of these, owners likely would not sell them. Not only because of their historical significance, but mainly because of their reliability and cost saving performance.
Today though, we are at the starting gate of a great horse race, in which the contestants are large and small. Many new companies, such as Tesla, have been given guaranteed loans from the Federal government to move forward with electric vehicle products for a mass market. All the big auto makers are also in the game with new releases coming from GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mercedes, BMW, and all the others. It's a great race for electrification of the automobile to the masses.
Four years after the release of the Nissan Leaf, which was the first mass produced all electric vehicle, many thousands of electric cars are on the roads all over the world today. While most of the original models have not chnaged, such as the Leaf, Volt, and Model S, they have all had many updates that increase performance, range, and passenger comfort. The Tesla Model S, can update it's cars on a daily basic by sending software updates over the air. The Chevy Volt has been redesigned for 2015-16. The 2016 Nissan Leaf looks identical the 2011 model, but now has a 30KW battery pack with a range of over 120 miles in the city.
Here is a sample list of street capable sedans available today.
|EV Name||Make/Model||Summary||Top Speed||Range|
|Nissan Leaf||Appeals to a broad market of commuters.||95 MPH||73 Miles|
Our Nissan Leaf
We've been driving the Leaf around town for more than one year now. It's very exciting. No gas powered car can beat it out of the green light. You have to be careful not to drive too fast, but you can quickly get up to the speed limit, then ease off the petal to level out the acceleration. The other cars that were waiting at the traffic light get very small in your rear view mirrors.
Our summers get very hot here in the desert. This past summer we noticed the battery range became greatly reduced. We needed to recharge after about 30 miles of driving. After doing some research on the Internet, we found that Nissan leaf battery packs have a shorter life in hot climates. We also found that for 2011-2012 Leaf models there is a five year warranty covereing replacment of the battery pack if the capacity bar indication falls below nine bars. A new Leaf will show 12 capacity bars on the instrument panel. So this fall we were able to take the Leaf into the local Nissan dealership and get a new 109 miles range battery back, with absolutely no cost to us. Most of our daily trips are very short. We could have continued with the short range battery pack, but decided if we needed to sell it some point in the future, we'd better take advantage of the warranty replacement now. With the new 109 mile battery pack, we'll be able make many town trips without having to recharge, thus saving a lot of electricity.
Finally got an SL at an excellent price. The SL is the top of the line Leaf, which includes an extra quick-charge port, solar panel for charging the 12 volt battery, and a great navigation system. It was a lease return purchased at a used car dealer in Corona, California. The car originally retailed for almost $40,000. Got it for under $15,000. It made made up for the loss taken on trading in a Sprinter van for a Jeep Cherokee.
It rides great around town with a full charge waiting every morning. Because of the high starting torque, you can maneuver in tight spots much quicker than a gasoline car.
The gear selector is the simplest. Only four positions are possible: forward, reverse, neutral, and a button push for park. It takes about 30 seconds to get acclimated. My electric bill has gone up by less than $10 per month. Gasoline cars and stations will be obsolete once the battery limitations are solved.
Many have commented on the mileage remaining indicator. It can be deceiving. If you are freeway driving or going up hill, the mileage number will show lower than what the batteries are capable of. You must rely more on the graphical gauge to the right of the number for a more accurate battery reading.
Leaf Mileage Range Gauge - Focus on Bars not Number.
|Tesla Motors Model S||The Model S is Tesla's second model, following the very fast Roadster. It is priced at half what the Roadster was for a wider market. It is designed and styled to compete with mid-range Lexus, Mercedes, and BMW models.||120 mph||300 miles|
Commuter Cars Co.
|Commuter Cars Tango T600||Single passenger, three wheel, urban commuting electric car. NmG stands for "No More Gas".||75 mph||60 miles|
|Chevy Volt||Four Door Sedan. Uses electric motor as primary propulsion. Uses gas motor to charge battery. GM boasts high level of connectivity through On-Star network, which allows usage data to be transferred to the company.||100 MPH||35 miles without gas poweredbatterycharging.|
|Citroen C-ZERO||The C-ZERO is a 4-door hatchback. Currently being used as a fleet vehicle by various governments in Europe.||80 mph||80 miles|
|Ford Focus Electric||Family/Commute vehicle available in 2012. Many user interface features built in for increased efficiency, driver experience, and smart phone communication.||80 MPH||100 Miles|
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