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Transportation

Nissan Unveils All-Electric LEAF 586

Posted by kdawson
from the made-right-here-in-the-U-S-of-A dept.
MojoRilla writes "In Japan, Nissan unveiled their all-electric LEAF (press release, and Flash site). Slated to launch in late 2010 in Japan, the US, and Europe, this car will have a 100-mile range, seats 5, has an advanced computer system with remote control by IPhone, and promises to be competitively priced. While this car's range won't work for everyone, it could be a game changer as a commuter car." Recharge time is 8 hours with a 200-volt power source, and "just under 30 minutes with a quick charger" (no further details given) to charge to 80% of capacity.
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Nissan Unveils All-Electric LEAF

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  • But I prefer my leaves unelectrified.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm waiting until they can actually use photosynthesis. Until then, this is just STEMS and SEEDS as far as I'm concerned.

  • by Fishmoney (954814) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @09:56PM (#28922203)
    From TFA: "An iPhone application allows for remote monitoring of battery levels and control of air conditioning in electric cars"
  • Before anyone panics (Score:5, Informative)

    by Brian Gordon (987471) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @09:57PM (#28922207)
    The "remote control" just lets you check if it's charged, and lets you start the AC/heat early to get the cabin comfortable while it's still plugged in.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by kpainter (901021)
      That and if it isn't charged, provides a helpful "You aren't going fucking anywhere, dude" message to indicate that the charge level is insufficient.
      • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @11:51PM (#28923095)

        "You aren't going fucking anywhere, dude"

        Actually, I think that an application that monitors your car's battery/fuel/power source and is linked to a GPS with a trip planner saying "Hey, you won't get there with your current battery/fuel/etc level, you need to get more juice" would be fricken useful.

        I recently did a trip through Wales with mates in a car with a nice GPS, but when you plan a trip that's longer than your car's fuel tank, having it add a "refuel your car here, take this exit off the freeway" sort of show would be REALLY handy.

        • by Rei (128717) on Monday August 03, 2009 @12:37AM (#28923335) Homepage

          I'm starting a company to do just that -- Celadon Applications, LLC. We already have a fully functional prototype and are in the middle of raising money to add some more features and polish to make it into a commercial product (the prototype is a bit cluttered and could use to be more user-friendly). The prototype [rechargeamerica.net] makes use of weather forecasts, 10-meter altitude data with a vertical resolution of 4 inches, and so forth, along with driver behavior modeling and physics calculations every several meters to determine how much charge you'll have at each point along the trip. The final version will have a very powerful crowd-sourced, trust network-validated charger database overlay on the map as well (it's coded, but is currently being debugged). So you find your route won't make it to your destination, no problem -- you drag it over to a charging station. And you can click on the station, get pictures, reviews, find what there is to do in the area, etc. It'll initially be populated with not just "known" recharging stations, but also "likely" recharging places, such as RV parks and so forth -- as well as phone numbers and email addresses to contact their owners. And you can add your own charging stations, even just a high-power outlet in your garage -- and list a fee for it if you want.

          We've done some accuracy validation on the simulator part with a Tesla Roadster. Of 7-ish legs that we tested, all but one of them were in the 2-4% error range. The last one was on surface streets and was about 12% error because Google was way off on how much traffic there was going to be (they said 40 minutes, it actually took closer to 25); when we hard-coded it to get the amount of traffic right, it fell back into the normal error range. To counter that issue, we're going to add real-time traffic forecasts in wherever available. Oh, and this is so far without any of Tesla's help. If we can get more detailed hardware specs, we can do even better.

          The market forecasts range wildly, but they range from a million or two EVs up to 32.7 million shipped by 2015 (Wintergreen Research). Either way, it's a massive market, and even with just a couple percent penetration, there's huge profit potential and the potential to create a lot of jobs. And it should help open up the EV market to a lot of people who wouldn't otherwise consider them. And most of our competition is way behind -- the standard approach, you'll find, is just to draw a circle around the car and say this is how far you can drive (as though you can go just as far over the top of Mount Whitney as you can over flat land on good roads).

          • by Fred_A (10934) <`fred' `at' `fredshome.org'> on Monday August 03, 2009 @03:05AM (#28924123) Homepage

            The prototype makes use of weather forecasts, 10-meter altitude data with a vertical resolution of 4 inches

            You are so doomed [wikipedia.org]...

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by loshwomp (468955)

          Actually, I think that an application that monitors your car's battery/fuel/power source and is linked to a GPS with a trip planner saying "Hey, you won't get there with your current battery/fuel/etc level, you need to get more juice" would be fricken useful.

          Interesting? Probably, but not really necessary in practice. It's normal for inexperienced drivers to obsess about range -- there's even a term for it: range anxiety. But it's merely a psychological problem -- range itself is almost never a problem.

          EVs just aren't designed for road trips. Sure, you can do it if you're patient and determined. But the good news is that they're perfect for the other 97% of our driving needs, and as a result, most people, most of the time, just plug the thing in at home,

  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2014@virtual-estates.net> on Sunday August 02, 2009 @09:59PM (#28922219) Homepage

    In a slowly-moving traffic, a running A/C will really eat into battery life... Somebody working, say, 40 miles from home — not that unusual — will need the charge to last 80 miles plus whatever extra for the air conditioning... Depending on how hot it is, they may or may not be able to pick kids from school on the way home...

    Unless it is really cheap, I don't see, why many people would rush to buy it. "Normal" cars last about 300 miles and can be "recharged" (to 100%) in 3 minutes, instead of 80% in 30...

    • by FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @10:14PM (#28922341) Homepage

      I don't see, why many people would rush to buy it.

      The millions of people who have short commutes who live in urban areas would do just fine with a car like this and many people like the idea of not just driving without relying on oil, but also not contributing to their city's level of smog.

      I just wish I knew how much this thing costs.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AuMatar (183847)

        Not really. I live in an urban area (Seattle). I even take public transit most days. I wouldn't even consider switching my gas car for a car like this.

        1)I don't have an outlet in my parking space. Not even the home one, much less at lots near work. Most people in dense urban areas don't.

        1a)I don't always park at home even over night. Sometimes I'm at a girlfriend's, sometimes I'm at a hotel in another city. Neither would have an outlet even if I had one in #1.

        2)When there's an accident on a bridge, I

        • by KaiLoi (711695) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @11:25PM (#28922891)
          Idling? Dude.. it's an ELECTRIC CAR! The engine doesn't "turn over" when you're not moving. Charge is used when you move, an/if you're running internal electronics (air con etc) if you're in a traffic jam.. just turn it off. It's not like you have to "re-start the engine" when it's time to move.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by TheLink (130905)
            Turn off airconditioning if I'm stuck in a traffic jam? That's crazy talk. I'll keep my old battered petrol powered car then, thank you very much.

            If we all wanted to sweat all the way to work, we'd all be cycling or walking.

            I only do that "turn off aircond to save power" thing if my fuel tank gauge shows "below E". And even in that scenario I can probably squeeze out half the max range of a typical battery powered car.

            It takes about 2-5kW to run a car airconditioner (from the figures Toyota give for their P
        • by pherthyl (445706) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @11:43PM (#28923031)

          >> 1)I don't have an outlet in my parking space. Not even the home one, much less at lots near work. Most people in dense urban areas don't.

          You don't think that would change? BC Transit just added outlets for charging electric bikes at a lot of their light rail stations. If people started driving electric cars then charging stations would materialize (progressive companies would install them at work for example).

          >> 1a)I don't always park at home even over night. Sometimes I'm at a girlfriend's, sometimes I'm at a hotel in another city. Neither would have an outlet even if I had one in #1.

          Your girlfriend is Amish? Hotels are very likely to start offering a charging service if electric cars were available.

          >> 2)When there's an accident on a bridge, I can take 2 hours to drive home. I wouldn't trust it to keep a charge for that long idling.

          Umm... Idling? Are you kidding? What exactly do you think will idle on an electric car? Running AC full blast might be a problem (could be alleviated with solar cells, like the prius already has), but the other power drains (minimal lighting, radio) won't drain the batteries significantly.

          >> 3)I want the option of being able to drive farther. I want to be able to drive an hour or two out of the city on a weekend, or take a road trip. This car doesn't have that. So I'll need another car anyway. I don't have room for two in my garage. So add 100-150 a month for a parking spot to the price.

          If you do a road trip every weekend, then yes I agree an electric car wouldn't work for you. But if you do a road trip only occasionally, then there are many car sharing services (ZipCar) or even better, car sharing co-ops, and also plenty of rental agencies. You don't have to own two cars just because you occasionally want to drive far.

          >> 4)I don't always drive to work. Occasionally I drive to work (20 mi), to a concert venue after work (40 mi), then home (30 mi). That's cutting it too close.

          Even assuming none of those places had a charging opportunity, the second generation electric cars will be perfect for you, since they will surely add that extra 20 miles of range.

          >> 5)I'm forgetful. If I forgot for even 1 evening to plug it in I'd be in trouble. That's not acceptable. It needs to be able to go at least a week without plugging in.

          I suppose you'll just have to suck it up and turn your brain on for a change. A minor inconvenience in the big picture I think.

        • by Chad Lester (1263024) on Monday August 03, 2009 @12:05AM (#28923155)

          Please - just because this is useless to you, doesn't mean it's useless.

          Americans on average have 2.28 cars per household. The majority have a garage and can easily plug the thing in.

          The average driver drives 15,000 per year. Most days have a predictable amount of driving that will be well under the 100 mile range.

          At $30,000, this car will be cheap to operate over the life of the vehicle. No oil change, simple transmission, no coolant. Inexpensive energy.

          Having friends who already own electric cars - I can tell you that the joy of having your car "full" every morning is wonderful. No more unplanned trips to the gas station. It's hard to state how fantastic this is.

          Imagine if you had to take your cellphone to the mobile phone store a couple times per week to "fill" it up. We tolerate that with cars because that's what we're used to.

          As a 5 seater hatchback, I can drive the kids to school, commute and get groceries. With 100 mile range, I can drive up to wine country for the weekend. Sure, I'll have another vehicle to tow my boat and drive into the mountains. But this car sounds fantastic and will handle 95% of my trips. If they build it, I will definitely buy one.

          But I guess I'll be the only one, since it's "useless"

    • by DJRumpy (1345787)
      I wonder why more of these electric cars are not also offering solar like the Prius to help with the heavier power draws like the AC units.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Because solar doesn't provide shit for power without a huge surface area. The stuff in the Prius just powers some ventilation fans to keep the air circulating when you're not in the car. That is a huge waste of money in any kind of car scenario.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Aurisor (932566)

      Contrary to popular opinion, human beings were able to exist prior to air conditioning.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by johnlcallaway (165670)
        Exist .. yes. Give it up?? Not as long as I can afford it. I live in Phoenix, and while some ride around with their windows down from May through September, I prefer using A/C for my 30 miles commute home in the afternoon when it's above 100. And one can't ride with the windows down during a monsoon storm or dust storm.

        A/C isn't just for hot areas either. It is often used along with heat in the winter time to clear windshields. In many cars, the defrost setting turns on the A/C. The inside of a car can
  • Remember when Chevrolet announced that they were going to release the Volt, a similar all-electric car?

    Of course, the climate (chuckle chuckle) has changed in the industry so we'll see. But still, I'll believe it when I see it actually go into manufacturing.
    • by JordanL (886154)
      Chevy is still releasing the Volt in 2010, and they already have one plant in the process of being converted to Volt-only production.
    • Re:History (Score:5, Informative)

      by David Greene (463) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @10:18PM (#28922381)

      The Volt is not a BEV, it is an EREV. That is, the Volt is a plug-in series hybrid that uses a small gas engine to drive the electrical system (somewhat like a diesel-electric locomotive except with gasoline). The goal is to run all-electric for 40 miles (covering 75% of commuters) and kick in the gas engine when the battery gets low enough.

      And it appears to be on schedule for 2010. More info here [gm-volt.com] and here [chevrolet.com].

      • They need a big enough battery to recycle the energy from coming down from a mountain pass to go up the next pass (a longer-range analog of recycling power from a full stop for the next start and acceleration) or cruise across the valley. That will also get a range in excess of a hundred miles on the level and in city traffic.

        Do this, with enough engine plus electric horsepower to maintain highway speed up a mountain road, and you've got a car that can fully replace a gasoliine vehicle.

  • by copponex (13876) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @10:05PM (#28922277) Homepage

    1) There is already enough juice in the grid at night to power 80% of the 220 million cars without any further need for more power plants. (According to the DoE) [autobloggreen.com].

    2) The average commute for people is far less than 100 miles, which means the only thing you could be missing out on is a truck for hauling or a car for road trip vacations.

    Now, the price hasn't been released. If it's under 30K, it's a winner. As the summary said, there's no details on the charge, but as long as I can plug it in at night and it's charged in the morning, it will not only save me gas, but I don't have to bother with filling up.

    • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @10:14PM (#28922345)
      Hm, but how many people drive with no electronics? No AC, no heat, etc? A 30-40 mile commute isn't unheard of (in fact its very typical) where I live, and it tends to be very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter, so that is 60-80 miles both ways, every day. Lets mix in the fact that heat (has to be electric thus running down the battery) or AC (also electric) is going to without a doubt cut down on the battery's life, making it uncertain if you can make it any other place (such as to pick up your kids, run and grab some groceries, etc) without taking it home to charge. However, what I think is the worst part about electric vehicles is there is no easy way to get started if you get stranded. Its happened to all of us, either you forgot to get gas, or the gas gauge was inaccurate, but you run out of gas. Most of the time its not a huge problem. Just call up someone and have them bring a bit of gas to make it to the next gas station, but how are you going to move that electric car? Its unfeasible to just call up someone to lug 100 pounds + of batteries to you, and solar just isn't efficient/fast enough to charge it.
      • Just because it isn't appropriate for your use case doesn't mean there aren't a lot of people who it is appropriate for.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Chad Lester (1263024)

        Why do people always worry about optimizing the wrong things?!?!

        Seriously... I'm 36 years old and I've never run out of gas. Never. Am I really that much of an anomoly? Even for someone like yourself, it's got to be more rare than having your car break down with a flat tire or a busted hose or a water pump failure or an alternator.

        So yes... running out of juice would require that you call AAA and get yourself towed home. It would suck.

        But seriously. I think I'd rather worry about optimizing t

      • by subreality (157447) on Monday August 03, 2009 @02:30AM (#28923959)

        AC (also electric) is going to without a doubt cut down on the battery's life

        Actually, not that much, unless you drive *really* slowly. The LEAF will have a 24 kW-h battery. The motor gets .24 kW-h/mile[1], and assuming you average 30 mph[2], the AC draws .75kW[3], and you use it 100% of the time, we have (x is hours drive time):

        24 kW-h = 30 * .24 * x + .75 * x
        [algebra happens]
        x =~ 3.0

        30mph * 3.0 hours = 90 miles, a 10% hit to overall range.

        If they use the AC system as a heat pump instead of a resistive array, range on full heat will be about the same.

        Just call up someone and have them bring a bit of gas to make it to the next gas station, but how are you going to move that electric car?

        And then, the next gas crunch hits. Everyone's gonna be calling me up to borrow my electric vehicle, but how are you going to move that gas-powered car?

        I give a decent percentage chance of this actually occurring for some reason in a closer timeframe than my mean-time-to-oops-dry-tank, which is currently measured in decades.

        [1] 100 mile range / 24 kW-h battery [wikipedia.org]
        [2] With a crappy 1 hour, 30 mile commute, where you spend good chunk of time cruising the freeway followed by some traffic lights when you get to the city
        [3] The amount a 8200 BTU/h window-type air conditioner pulls, which is a reasonable comparable for this size car.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        yeah. you know, i live in a mountainous area and there aren't any roads and until someone makes a car that can fly they're just totally unfeasable and no one will buy one.
    • 1) There is already enough juice in the grid at night to power 80% of the 220 million cars without any further need for more power plants.

      You might want to double-check those figures before accepting them as gospel. They're not assuming charging at night; they're assuming that any and all excess non-peaking capacity in the electrical grid is used to charge the cars. This is wildly unrealistic and provides only a best-case figure. Basically they're saying that if you ran every coal plant in the country ba

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by copponex (13876)

        So, I'm 50% wrong, and out of the box we can only charge 90 million cars. Or I'm 75% wrong and it's 45 million. Or I'm 90% wrong, and we can only immediately put 22 million EVs on the road.

        Can you give up on progress and go back to whittling wooden crucifixes where you don't have access to a computer? Jesus fucking Christ. I've never run into so many absolutely stupid and cynical naysayers. Just give up and die already, and at least leave more oxygen unmolested.

    • by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @10:34PM (#28922515)

      Let's remember some other things that I think are relevant to the discussion. Or really just one thing: Amdahl's law http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amdahl's_law [wikipedia.org], which I think is woefully ignored in the green-car world. As an result-oriented environmentalist, this disappoints me immensely.

      In short, Amdahl's law says that when you want to improve a system that is made up of lots of different components, you do best to improve the lowest-performing part first. In programming, that means focusing your performance analysis on the parts of the program that are taking the most time before you focus on making the fast parts faster. In terms of automobiles, that means you should replace the most fuel-guzzling part of the fleet before you start thinking about making the thrifty cars thriftier.

      Let's do some numbers, for the same number of miles driven, replacing a 12 mpg vehicle with a 15 mpg vehicle saves you as much as replacing a 30 MPG vehicle with a 60 MPG vehicle. Improve that 12 mpg to 18 mpg and now you need to replace a 30 mpg with a 180 MPG car (the EPA calculates the carbon-cost of an electric vehicle using our mix of power source to be roughly 120 mpg) to match the fuel savings.

      So if we were really serious about making a dent in oil consumption and CO2, we would be pushing for more fuel-efficient pickup trucks, cargo vans and SUVs instead of this inane (but highly press-friendly!) pursuit of ever-more-efficient small vehicles. The people that drive those vehicles can't or won't replace them with small cars no matter how efficient.

      Ultimately, it comes down to whether we value results or whether we value cool technology. As a gadget-nerd, I freely admit that all-electric cars are much sexier than a new pickup truck that gets 16 mpg instead of 12. But the programmer inside me knows that the pickup truck will probably do a lot more good over the lifetime of the vehicle. There are only so many R&D dollars going around and I feel like they aren't being well spent (from the point of view of the environment -- for marketing, the halo effect of the Prius is definitely worth it).

      • Math? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by copponex (13876)

        Lets say my commute is 60 miles. You're saying that improving a 30mpg to a 60mpg vehicle, which halves the gas usage, is the same as a 12mpg to a 15mpg, which does nowhere near that kind of improvement?

        60/12=5
        60/15=4

        60/30=2
        60/60=1

        And then you state:

        180/12=12 to 180/18=10
        is a greater improvement than
        180/30=6 to 180/180=1

        What kind of math is this?

        The problem, of course, is moving freight around. Rail is insanely more efficient than any other method available. And no, your pickup truck is going to be used for

        • Re:Math? (Score:4, Informative)

          by Space cowboy (13680) * on Sunday August 02, 2009 @11:20PM (#28922867) Journal
          The examples are correct. If you go from requiring 5 units to 4 units of fuel, it's the same *saving* (not expenditure) as going from 2 units to 1 unit of fuel. In both cases, you *save* 1 unit. In the second example, 180/12 is actually 15, so you're saving 5 (15-10) units here, as you are when going from 30mpg to 180. (6-1).

          His point is therefore that improving the worse-performing engines (SUV's, trucks, vans, lorries, busses, etc.) so that they *save* an extra N units of fuel will be the largest factor in reducing the fuel consumption. For each truck that gains 6 miles/gallon in efficiency, you'd need a car that gained 120 miles/gallon, or 2 that gained 60, ...

          FWIW, I think his argument falters when you take into account the overwhelming number of cars on the road, compared to other vehicles. If you figure a 20:1 ratio, then that saving of 120 miles/gallon is still only (6*20) or 6 miles/gallon/car. The reciprocal problem, however, is one of uptake (you need 20 cars to have their efficiency increased for the effect of 1 truck, if both cars and trucks gain 6mpg). Personally I think it probably comes out in the wash, so we should strive to improve both :) Nothing like sitting on the fence :)

          Simon
      • Buy a Tahoe (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gr8_phk (621180)
        That's why GM did hybrid SUVs. They took the Tahoe from something like 14MPG to 21. There are a few other vehicles with the 2-mode system as well. While you are probably right about attacking the worst vehicles first, most people think "hybrid SUV" is an oxymoron. They feel the way to attack that part of the market is to kill it, not make it better. Of course that neglects the actual utility of such vehicles which cannot be replaced by small cars. Anyway, GM already took the approach you mention.
    • Ya, cool...that's nice and all. But could someone please tell me where the apartment dwellers are supposed to charge their cars at? Unless there's some sort of metered charging pole (via credit card swipe), I doubt they will let us leech for free. Also, will there be charging poles at designated parking areas while at the office?

      I'm not opposed to electric vehicles, but there is some serious down-to-earth questions that need answered first.

      • by copponex (13876) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @10:55PM (#28922709) Homepage

        The metered outlets will be installed by a third party and offered as an amenity. It's just like when internet started in apartments first. You install one EV Charge Parking Spot, and you have ten times as many potential customers driving by it every day.

        Again, once there's an inexpensive, safe, reliable EV that goes 100 miles on a single charge, all other problems become trivial to solve.

        • I wouldn't exactly call adhering to the National Electrical Code and Fire Code to be something trivial. Planning and routing conduit for 220v and maintaining public safety is not to be scoffed at.

          Doable? Sure. Trivial? Hell no!!!

          • by copponex (13876) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @11:15PM (#28922839) Homepage

            Seriously... is everyone in America a "can't do" blowhard these days?

            An auto manufacturer from Japan just did what American companies said was impossible, and has built a 5 seater EV with a 100 mile range with today's technology.. and the problem will be running some goddamn conduit and 220V?

            ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?

  • sign me up! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SethJohnson (112166) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @10:06PM (#28922283) Homepage Journal


    If this car is less than $22k, I will buy one day-of-release. TFPR does not provide an MSRP, but it does say it will be low-priced. Four doors, and your gas bill gets moved over to your house electric bill. I never drive more than 100 miles in a day, so it would be perfect for getting me around town on all my stop-start errands.

    Moving the cost of driving from a fuel purchase tracked with credit card might make it more difficult for people to get reimbursed by their company for business driving. I wonder how that's going to get sorted. Also, in a roommate situation, it becomes a little unfair to evenly split the electric bill if only one tennant is charging a car.

    Looks cool.

    Seth
    • by glitch23 (557124)

      Also, in a roommate situation, it becomes a little unfair to evenly split the electric bill if only one tennant [sic] is charging a car.

      Then don't split it evenly. If you already have a roommate and then acquire the car then you'll easily be able to determine what the added cost will be for charging the car, otherwise just split the bill appropriately. It should be possible to calculate the kw/hour used for charging the car that you can do the math once you get the bill.

    • by socsoc (1116769)

      Looks cool.

      Did you click through to the Flash site? Maybe you don't have flash enabled...

      It looks worse than Nissan's answer to the Scion xB, the Cube.

  • Not everyone owns a house with a handy electrical outlet available.

    A little hard to plug in at a condo car port or an apartment parking lot.

    • Perhaps a bit of a random thought, but for apartment / condo car ports if they were roofed with something similar to what BP gas stations use [solarpowerauthority.com] it might help with recharging.

    • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Sunday August 02, 2009 @10:26PM (#28922445) Homepage Journal

      Not everyone owns a swimming pool.. are you suggesting people should stop making diving boards?

      Not everything is about you.

      • by Macrat (638047)

        Not everyone owns a swimming pool.. are you suggesting people should stop making diving boards?

        Not everything is about you.

        I live in a condo AND an apartment?

    • Apartments were one of the first spots with internet access, because you could run a few lines and connect up a few hundred people.

      Likewise, some company will be offering a cut of metered electric service to the apartment complexes, and they'll be able to list "EV Charging Spots" as an amenity to the apartment.

      Really, once an electric car is mass produced, inexpensive, and safe, the rest of the problems that come up are completely trivial.

    • Might be a problem in the US and Europe. In Japan they might do something absurd like create the required infrastructure rather than throwing their hands in the air and exclaiming that it's all too hard.
    • by agilen (410830)

      They have these in my city: http://z.about.com/d/alternativefuels/1/0/a/P/-/-/Portland_Charging_Station.jpg

      Sure there aren't many yet, but there also aren't any all-electric mass produced cars on the market. Give it time...

  • by moon3 (1530265) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @10:17PM (#28922371)
    Based on AESCs testing, the cells will retain more than 80% capacity after 7 years, including 70,000 km (43,496 miles).

    9.2 kWh pack recharges in 15 minutes time. This truly could be a game changer in EV-battery technology.

    Full detail on the battery tech:
    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2008/05/aesc-lithium-io.html [greencarcongress.com]
  • by countertrolling (1585477) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @10:27PM (#28922451) Journal

    It could make the car disappear. Parking problem, solved

  • If the batteries for electric cards turns into a BluRay-HDDVD type format war things would get messy and hobble the efforts of getting this off the ground. All car manufacturers need to look the greater good (environment and consumers)and be in agreement on one standard form factor. Here's to hoping this happens.
  • the price, go here [wired.com]. It is currently slated for under $30k.

  • Recharge time is 8 hours with a 200-volt power source

    Recharge time is dependent on amp-hours, not volts. If you hook up a 200 volt power source that can only deliver 1 amp, you are not going to charge your batteries in 8 hours because that is only 8 amp-hours.

    I image that the car is designed around residential wiring, which is usually 12 gauge and rated at 20 amps, so in 8 hours you should get 8*20=160 amp-hours, which at the quoted 200 volts is 32kWatt-hours. Based on $0.10 per kWh, it should cost $3.
  • an advanced computer system with remote control by IPhone,

    So, which character [slashdot.org] do I send to hotwire your car?

  • "I am a LEAF on the wind - watch how I soar."
  • by bogaboga (793279) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @11:08PM (#28922795)

    I wish I can get a hold of the batteries. I am sure they are a better replacement to the Trojan batteries I am using for my solar system.

  • City states (Score:5, Insightful)

    by flyingfsck (986395) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @11:14PM (#28922835)
    There are places in the world that are literally just a single city, with nowhere else to go: Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong, Monaco, Windhoek and many little islands. Those could make good use of these type of cars.
  • by The Wooden Badger (540258) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @11:15PM (#28922837) Homepage Journal

    A Tesla Model S

    It has a better range, a quicker full charge, a potential 5 minute battery swap, and the "S" is for SEXY.

  • lithium-ion tech (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ebonum (830686) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @11:58PM (#28923125)

    Lithium-ion batteries are not ready for this task. They are not easy to make. That is why they cost a fortune. I don't think I am alone, but I have never had a Li-ion laptop battery make it more than 1 year in a laptop. After about 1 year the run time on the battery goes from 2 hours ( new ) down to 30-45 minutes. Plus, I don't run on battery power that often. Less than 2 hours a week. This tech is not ready to be put in mass produced cars. I know all the new claims about longevity. I bet the those who believe those claims also believe the claims Lenovo made about the battery in my current laptop. Battery life claims are notoriously unreliable.

    One issue is that Li-ion batteries are very sensitive to heat. Leave them out in the sun, and their capacity will drop like a rock - even if you do not use them. This is going to be a huge problem anywhere where it is sunny through much of the year. Heat kills a Li-ion battery's longevity. Parking a car under the LA sun is a perfect way to quickly kill an electric car.

    I don't know how much the Nissan battery pack will cost, but a Tesla battery pack runs about $30,000. If you replace it every 2 years, the cost quickly gets out of hand. My guess is that Nissan will not make an binding promises about warranting the battery pack. If it fails ( drops to less than 50% initial capacity ) in less than 3 years, you will be SOL.

    I did see an article in the WSJ ( Wall Street Journal ) about an electric lawn mover about 2 months ago. The company clearly stated that the $800 battery pack would have to be replaced approximately every 2 years. Sadly, I think this is the brutal reality when it comes to battery powered vehicles. Massive piles of batteries that will require disposal, and the expense of purchasing new while disposing on the old.

    I think a better solution is a supercharged engine that is 1.5 liters or less. Add to that capacitors and electric motors for acceleration. Capacitors are light, so they don't weigh down a car like batteries do. When and only when accelerating, the capacitors power the electric motors to give acceptable acceleration. When cruising, a 1.5 liter supercharge engine should be able to carry most light cars along at 100 mph or less no problem. Massive power is only needed for high speeds ( 100+ mph ) and rapid acceleration. When cruising at constant speed, it does not matter if you have 600 hp or 90 hp. During cruising and braking, the capacitors can be recharged. The capacitors only need enough power for short bursts. They discharge quickly, but also recharge quickly. Start and stop traffic might wear down the power in the capacitors fast than the system can recharge. However, you can accelerate on the engine alone in start and stop traffic. You generally don't need rapid acceleration in start and stop traffic.

    Keep in mind coal power production is not exactly what one would call efficient ( less than 50% ). Nor is power transmission ( 10% or more loss ). Nor is turning electricity back into forward momentum. Also, high efficiency batteries are going to require a lot of rare earth metals. Unfortunately, world supply is limited.

  • Got one (Score:5, Interesting)

    by protonbishop (516957) on Monday August 03, 2009 @12:10AM (#28923195)
    not a Leaf, but Toyota's Rav4EV. BEV, 100miles/charge, been driving it since 2002. Seats 4, not 5 & we have a Palm app, not iPhone app. I don't have a fast charge option, so that's cool. One hopes "state of the art" exceeds what Toyota did nearly ten years ago:
    • Air Conditioning "costs" 5 miles per hour of use. Heat costs only a little less than that (No internal combustion engine generating heat, ya know).
    • Bumper-to-bumper traffic isn't a problem: Car uses nearly zero at 'idle'. The worry I have is an unexpected detour which adds 20 miles.
    • Heated windshield costs a few miles per hour of use. Lights, radio, heated seats are nearly free.
    • The "100 miles on a charge claim" corresponds in the real world to driving consistently at about 65 mph, or mixed city/highway driving. Driving at 75 mph decreases distance by ~10%. Driving at 55mph would yield > 100 miles. Driving at 35 mph (constant) would probably yield a +30% distance gain. City driving results in lots of braking & though regenerative, there is loss, so consider 90 miles in the city.
    • On low battery, the car goes into a special "turtle" mode whereby one cannot drive quickly. I've driven an extra 20 miles at about 15 mph in this mode after the gauges registered zero. Was unable to drain the batteries because I got bored trying.

    Sure, I use another car for driving vacations, but these battery electric cars are perfect for some of us.

  • by loshwomp (468955) on Monday August 03, 2009 @09:58AM (#28927521)

    Nissan is knowingly setting itself up to over-promise and under-deliver by quoting the EPA range of 100 miles, because the EPA test is well known to be extremely optimistic for EVs. AC Propulsion's eBox has an EPA range of ~170 miles, but a realistic range of 130. Tesla's Roadster has an EPA range of ~220 miles, but a realistic range of 175.

    Nissan's car will probably have a realistic range of 70-80 miles. The good news is that this is more than enough for many, many households. The bad news is that many households don't realize it, because "range anxiety" is a very real (psychological) phenomenon, even though actual range limits are not.

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