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Nissan LEAF Rated At 99 MPG, Without . . . any . . . gallons . . .

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On: Tue, Nov 23, 2010 at 11:19AM | By: John Welch

Nissan LEAF Rated At 99 MPG, Without . . . any . . . gallons . . .

Even though the Nissan Leaf is a completely Electric Vehicle, using no gasoline or oil to motivate itself, the Environmental Protection Agency still had to come up with a fuel economy rating. They don't trust that we are smart enough to understand "One hundred miles per charge" so the EPA got out their slide-rules and came up with an equation that would turn "miles per charge" into "miles per gallon". During the course of their research, the EPA made a few determinations about that Leaf that are contradictory to Nissan's description of their electric darling.

Nissan has stated that the Leaf is good for 100 miles on a full charge, but, like most electric cars, (I'm lookin' at you Tesla,) it appears the advertised range is a little optimistic. The EPA figures the Leaf will travel an average of 73 miles on a single charge, not the original figure, but impressive none the less.

There are other, more positive alterations to the legal description of the Leaf. Built on a modified Versa platform, Nissan labeled the car a compact vehicle. After measuring trunk and passenger compartments, the EPA disagrees. The EPA thinks the Leaf is in fact a mid-size car, a rating which brings with it many benefits. The Leaf will typically be cheaper than loaded mid-sized cars like the Toyota Camry, and it will show up beside these more expensive models when searched on the Internet. Nissan gets to tout the Leaf's "best in class" fuel economy, an easy feat considering how much smaller and less internal combustiony the Leaf is compared to its new, larger rivals. “We're happy to be considered a mid-sized car,” says Mark Perry, the Nissan North America product planning director for the Leaf.

The mileage results are slightly misleading. The Leaf is intended to be, and probably will be primarily operated in confined urban driving. The EPA tests focus on highway driving, a practice that would enhance a normal, gasoline powered cars' economy but severely stifle and electric car's mileage. The extra juice needed to attain highway speeds would suck the Leaf's batteries dry whereas a gas engine would be working less, extending its range. Nobody in their right mind is going to attempt interstate travel in their Leaf, so this isn't such a big concern.

“There is a range of ranges, based on driving behavior, temperature, speed and other issues,” Perry said of the difference between the FTC and EPA estimates. “The car does 100 miles on the LA4 test. Nothing has changed. There are just different drive cycles. The challenge is get one repeatable cycle to represent the average driver, and that's hard.”

The Nissan Leaf is dirt cheap and goes on sale in five stated next month. At $25,280, plus the $7,500 federal tax credit, the Leaf represents phenomenal value for city dwellers'. The Leaf will be released nationwide over the course of the next six months.

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jeepgirl325 | 2:33PM (Tue, Dec 7, 2010)

Cute car.... perfect for work.

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