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Transportation Power

Will the Nissan Leaf Take On the Tesla Model S At Half the Price? 398

Posted by timothy
from the need-more-juice dept.
cartechboy (2660665) writes "Ask most people why they won't consider an electric car, and they talk about range anxiety. And I can easily imagine why 84 miles of range isn't enough. Now it sounds like Nissan is listening, as well as watching Tesla's success. The company plans to boost the Leaf electric car's driving range with options for larger battery packs. Not long ago Nissan surveyed Tesla Model S owners, and they probably heard loud and clear that longer driving range is very, very important. So it looks like the Leaf might get up to 150 miles of range, possibly by the 2016 model year. The range increase will come from a larger battery pack, possibly 36 or 42 kWh, and more energy-dense cells. Either way, clearly Nissan is looking to expand the appeal of the world's best-selling electric car, and increasing its driving range is pretty clearly a key to doing so. I just wish Nissan would ditch the weird styling while they're at it."
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Will the Nissan Leaf Take On the Tesla Model S At Half the Price?

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  • by bobbied (2522392) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @11:33AM (#46815993)

    Yet androids sell like hotcakes too.

    Tesla's problem is price. Their price is way beyond what most can pay, even if they wanted too. If Nissan can come up with a viable alternative that goes the distance of a Tesla and they can sell them at a price the masses can afford, they will out sell Tesla in units. Just like Ford did with the model T. Sure there where better and more desirable cars in the model T's day, but Ford didn't have much trouble selling them because of price.

  • It's a great car (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @11:42AM (#46816073) Homepage

    I have leased a Leaf for the past year and I love it. It's not just a great electric car, it's a great car. The single speed transmission (not CV) is fantastic. You don't realize how obnoxious gear changes and engine noise are until you drive without them. It's like floating on a cloud.

    My lease is $300/month, but I'm saving almost $100/month on gas. The electricity costs me about $30 per 1000 miles. Never having to stop at a gas station or get an oil change is nice.

    They're not for everyone. If you have a house with garage that you can install a 220V outlet in, it's far more convenient. Having a second vehicle in the house for long trips is nice too. But I've probably traded cars with my wife out of necessity 2 or 3 times in a year.

    It is an odd looking car, but every design decision was made to decrease drag, which is very important for range at highway speeds. I'm ok with function over form and I don't care what strangers think. The front and back seats are comfortable for normal sized adults, and there is plenty of cargo space in the back.

    If you're in the market for a car that's going to spend a majority of its time going to and from work and short trips around town, you should really give the Leaf a test drive.

  • by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @12:10PM (#46816345) Homepage

    Hipsters are different than Hippies. Very different.

  • by Firethorn (177587) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @12:11PM (#46816355) Homepage Journal

    Everything is relative...

    Bingo. My commute is 10 miles one way. The big town is 20 miles the other way. A very plausible trip is 10 miles to work, 30 miles to town, 20 miles home - 60 miles in one day. Given paranoia, I slap a x2 on there(I might get called into work again, another 20 miles, might forget to charge the night before, power outages, etc...), Thus I'd prefer a car with at least 120 miles of range. That's even without considering that a common camp site for me is 60 miles away. There's power there so I could trickle charge over the week end for margin, but it's something to consider. As is range losses due to heat/cold/age/etc...

    As such, I say it's not just people want to pay for more than 'what they need', it's that most proponents of short-range EVs only look at median driving distances. Most purchasers of vehicles are going to be looking for a vehicle that satisfies the 90th percentile of their driving 'needs'.

    It's hardly 'no relationship' as the AC said.

  • by mythosaz (572040) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @12:31PM (#46816537)

    You can always eat up 100 miles, staying 20 miles from home, if you drive in a circle for two hours....

    But no, your 102 degree day doesn't drop your mileage by 80% -- that's straight FUD.

    [n.b. I own a Leaf in Phoenix Arizona.]

  • by bteeter (25807) <brian&brianteeter,com> on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @12:47PM (#46816675)
    Leaf owner here. Yes, you can set a schedule for the car to charge.

    We currently don't because we are charging off the slower 110v charger. (Long story.) Once we get into our new house we'll use the 220v wall unit.

    Not directly in reply to parent, but I figure I'll comment as a current Leaf owner -

    As far as range, more is definitely better. So, would I want the 150 mile version? Hell yeah! However, we get by just fine with what we have. It is currently our only car. We live in the somewhat sprawling Tampa area. As long as we stay within Tampa / Clearwater / St. Pete for our destination, we're fine without worry or need to charge while we're out.

    But, for trips to Orlando, or anything really outside 40 miles from home, we typically rent a gas car and use that. Eventually we plan to get a cheap used SUV as our second car for longer trips, but for now this has worked well enough. We've only really needed longer range about 1 time per month since we owned the Leaf, which is about 3 months now. That has basically been 2 trips to Orlando, and 1 trip to Melbourne. Rental cars are cheap here, and I don't mind spending $100 for a 3 or 4 day rental - at least until I can pay cash for a second vehicle.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @01:06PM (#46816829)

    Really. You ride your bike at 40 km/h average. Considering you'd hit at least two stop signs or lights, you'd be riding at about 60 km/h on most roads. You'd be one of the first people in the city to receive a speeding ticket... on a bicycle.

    You aren't Lance Armstrong. A average human in reasonable shape would cover that distance in 10 minutes.

    As for walking at that pace? Not a chance unless you're Alex Schwazer. Even then, you'd still need 13 minutes.

    Perfect captcha for this: Unlikely

  • by lgw (121541) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @01:33PM (#46817031) Journal

    The Volt is a "parallel" hybrid - the engine can power the wheels. It's a simpler setup than say a Prius, since it only has high gear as I understand it, but still, it's a traditional car engine. (Plus I and those in my sub-culture will never buy a Government Motors car.)

    A true serial hybrid has far more freedom to innovate in the efficiency of the gas engine. High efficiency gas turbine? Diesel generator like the hybrid locomotives use? Whatever technology works best, whatever engine positioning works best, without any requirement for mechanical coupling to a drive shaft.

  • by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @01:56PM (#46817261) Homepage

    I drive a Leaf in Las Vegas, so I've spent a bit of time with the AC on full blast. It drops the range by about 15%. Not even close to 80%.

  • by lgw (121541) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @03:32PM (#46818097) Journal

    Sorry, the motor really does have mechanical linkage to the drive wheels - see my reply to you elsewhere, or just see Wikipedia. It's a simpler linkage than a Prius, but still more complex than it needs to be.

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