Model S = New Electric Car Range
Tesla is the first to put 1,000 electric cars on the U.S. highways. Like its Roadster, the company is going zero to sixty in less than four seconds. The Tesla Roadster has a rated range of 236 miles on a single charge. In Australia, a record 313 mile range was demonstrated. The Tesla Roadster has a battery pack capable of storing approximately 53 kilowatt-hours of usable energy, almost double the energy of any other commercially available electric vehicle battery pack.
In August the company reported its first profits. Tesla is developing a roomy Model S hatchback that starts at $57,400, about half the price of the Roadster. Tesla will start delivering the Model S in 2012 from its new factory in California. The Model S will have up to a 300 mile range, far beyond the Nissan Leaf 100 mile range the Chevy Volt 40-mile electric range, and current ambitions of other electric car makers. Top 10 Electric Car Makers
Tesla will compete with other sedan makers by also offering more passenger space, more cargo space, and a premium cache. With seating for five adults and two children, plus an additional trunk under the hood, Model S has passenger carrying capacity and versatility rivaling SUVs and minivans. Rear seats fold flat, and the hatch gives way to a roomy opening, so you can stow a mountain bike, 50-inch flat-screen TV. The Model S includes a 17 inch infotainment touchscreen.
With a range up to 300 miles and 45-minute QuickCharge, the Model S can carry five adults and two children in quiet comfort. The roomy electric car starts at a base price of $57,400, before the $7,500 federal EV tax credit and additional tax credits in many states. Yes, it will be more expensive than sedans from Ford, Nissan, and Chevy but with more battery storage for more range with 3 battery pack options offer a range of 160, 230 or 300 miles per charge.
Don’t pull-up to the Model S in your sedan and try to race. The Model S goes from 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds with 120 mph top speed, and the promise of sporty handling in the chassis and suspension.
Panasonic Lithium Batteries
Tesla touts its expertise and intellectual property in a proprietary electric powertrain that incorporates four key components—an advanced battery pack, power electronics module, high-efficiency motor and extensive control software.
Tesla delivers more range per charge than other electric vehicles by including more lithium batteries. Tesla’s relationship with battery supplier Panasonic is critical. The Roadster uses 6,800 Panasonic lithium-nickel consumer-sized batteries integrated into a Tesla designed battery-pack with unique energy management and thermal management. The new Tesla Model S will use up to 5,500 Panasonic batteries.
Benefiting from Tesla feedback, Panasonic is improving the batteries with plans to take them to 4 amp-hours. Panasonic is the world’s largest seller of lithium batteries. It acquired Sanyo Electric to increase market share, expand into solar PV, and battery R&D innovation. Panasonic also makes flat-panel screens and automotive electronics. When Panasonic acquired Sanyo, Toyota increased its ownership to over 80 percent in the Panasonic EV Energy Company which makes prismatic module nickel metal hydride and lithium-ion battery packs.
Tesla Motors has purchased the former NUMMI factory in Fremont, California, that once employed over 4,000 workers in a Toyota-General Motors JV plant. The factory is an important component in Tesla’s access to a $465 million in DOE loan facility, where funds can be issued in stages over 3 years as conditions are met.
In the future, Tesla will build the Model S sedan and future Tesla vehicles in Fremont. It is one of the largest, most advanced and cleanest automotive production plants in the world. Tesla’s move represents the chance for California to recover needed employment. The plant is capable of producing half a million vehicles per year or approximately 1 percent of total worldwide car production. The factory is located near Northern California’s Silicon Valley, very near Tesla’s Palo Alto headquarters. The short distance also ensures a tight feedback loop between engineering, manufacturing and other divisions within the company.
Toyota agreed to purchase $50 million of Tesla’s common stock subsequent to the closing of Tesla’s currently planned initial public offering, giving Toyota over 2 percent of Tesla. Tesla and Toyota intend to cooperate on the development of electric vehicles, parts, and production system and engineering support.
Nissan, Ford, and GM would all like to leapfrog Toyota for plug-in car leadership after years of watching Toyota dominate the hybrid market. Toyota, however, will fight to protect its leadership with a Prius Plug-in Hybrid, the Toyota FT-EV electric car, expanded offerings of Toyota and Lexus hybrid cars, the Panasonic battery JV, and now a partnership with Tesla.
“I’ve felt an infinite possibility about Tesla’s technology and its dedication to monozukuri (Toyota’s approach to manufacturing),” said TMC President Akio Toyoda. “Through this partnership, by working together with a venture business such as Tesla, Toyota would like to learn from the challenging spirit, quick decision-making, and flexibility that Tesla has. Decades ago, Toyota was also born as a venture business. By partnering with Tesla, my hope is that all Toyota employees will recall that ‘venture business spirit,’ and take on the challenges of the future.” President Toyoda likes to race cars and has driven the Roadster.
Tesla CEO and cofounder Elon Musk said, “We look forward to learning and benefiting from Toyota’s legendary engineering, manufacturing, and production expertise.”
Toyota introduced the first-generation Prius hybrid vehicle in 1997, and produced approximately 2.5 million hybrids in the twelve years since. Late last year, TMC started lease of Prius Plug-in Hybrids, which can be charged using an external power source such as a household electric outlet. The company also plans to introduce EVs into the market by 2012.
Tesla has been skillful in developing strategic partnerships. Tesla also has a relationship with Daimler to supply technology, battery packs and chargers for Daimler’s Smart fortwo electric drive. Daimler holds more than 5% of Tesla’s capital stock. Daimler has orders for Tesla to supply it with up to 1,500 battery packs and chargers to support a trial of the Smart fortwo electric drive in at least five European cities. Tesla delivered the first of these battery packs and chargers in November 2009. Daimler also engaged Tesla to assist with the development and production of a battery pack and charger for a pilot fleet of its A-Class electric vehicles to be introduced in Europe during 2011. Tesla has ambitions to supply other vehicle makers.
Leaf Rolls to Pure Electric Lead
[2014 Update] The predictions of success may have been a bit too optimistic, but the Nissan Leaf continues to roll forward with another record month in August 2014 with more than 3,100 sales, almost 19,000 for the year so far and a cumulative 60,000 U.S./130,000 worldwide since its introduction in 2010. It’s not what they had hoped, but the trend is moving in the right direction. Some of the early
Rumors abound of new options for the 2017 Leaf with a larger battery pack option (a la Tesla) that could double range. More as that develops.
In the meantime the Leaf remains the poster child of affordable, functional EVs.
2011 Nissan LEAF with 100 Mile Electric Range
Over 10,000 Nissan LEAFs are now on U.S. roads. By December 2012, Nissan will have delivered 100,000 LEAFs globally. The LEAF is a pure electric with no gasoline tank. This sleek 5-door hatchback seats five. The electric range is 100 miles on the U.S. EPA LA4 city drive cycle. Go 70 miles per hour on the freeway and your battery will be near empty in 60 miles, nor will you get the full range climbing mountain roads.
My wife and I (John Addison) have been delighted with driving our LEAF since we took delivery in April. Living in a city, Marci only needs a 40-mile range for her speech therapy work at two schools; living two blocks from transit and car sharing, I rarely need one. For long-trips, or times when we both need a car, we drive our hybrid for driving longer trips rather than flying. 80 percent of the time, the LEAF is the only car either of us drive. We have never run out of charge, but we have been grateful for public charge stations on a number of occasions.
The LEAF is ideal for many who live in a city where range is rarely an issue, and where transit, car sharing, and car rental are also available. The average U.S. suburban household has two vehicles, so the EV could be ideal as one of those two. For many people, this will not be the best vehicle because the range limitation will not meet their work or personal demands. These people should consider a plug-in hybrid or car with great mileage.
This car is high-tech. The LEAF SV model includes an advanced GPS navigation system. You can control and monitor battery charging and even pre-heat/pre-cool and charging control with your smart phone. The LEAF has Internet/smart phone connectivity to the vehicle, and, Bluetooth connectivity; intelligent-key with push button start, Sirius/XM satellite radio capabilities, and roadside assistance with the vehicle wirelessly notifying a support center. The SL model also includes a rearview monitor, solar panel spoiler which supplies a trickle charge, fog lights, and automatic headlights.
How much did your last gasoline fill-up cost? $20? $40? $80? Your electric utility will typically charge you $3 to fill-up your LEAF. Your electric utility may offer low rates to encourage low-cost nightly fill-ups when electricity is available and cheap; these fill-ups may only cost a dollar.
Nissan LEAF Price
Nissan has dropped its Leaf prices and now retails them in all 50 states for less than $30,000. That’s before:
- $7,500 federal tax credit + state incentives
- 8 year / 100,000 mile drive system and lithium-ion battery warranty
We’ve tested the LEAF
Electric Drive System
Nissan LEAF is powered by 24kWh of laminated lithium-ion batteries made by the NEC-Nissan JV, which generate power output of over 90kW, while its electric motor delivers 80kW/280Nm. This ensures a highly responsive, fun-to-drive experience that is in keeping with what consumers have come to expect from traditional, gasoline-powered automobiles. The LED head lights reduce battery demand at night.
The Nissan LEAF includes an 8 year, 100,000 mile warranty. Since Nissan’s 24kWh lithium battery pack is likely to be half of the vehicle’s cost, warranty life will certainly be an issue. Some that normally buy will lease.
The car includes covered connectors for 110 volt changing and 220 volt J1772 smart charging. Although Nissan explored the idea with Better Place of battery swapping, or a separate battery lease, neither is being offered in the United States at this time. In 8 hours you are good for another 100 miles with a Level 2 AC220V home-use charger; in 26 minutes you can be 80 percent charged with a Level 3 DC 50kW quick charger. The 440v Level 3 chargers are scare, expensive, and certainly not for home use.
The LEAF is ideal for those who can install a charging unit in their garage. Many drivers, however do not own a garage, so a hybrid or public transportation may be better choices. Over time, we will see charging available at many employers and in multi-unit dwellings such as condos and apartments.
Many of the early adopters of the 40,000 EVs on U.S. roads use renewable energy (RE) to charge their vehicles. The RE can be solar or utility provided renewables. Electric car critics and opponents claim that EVs will only result in more coal power. So far this has not happened. Even if coal power were used, the 70% efficient EV uses far less energy than the typical 15% efficient gasoline powered vehicle.
The LEAF and charging unit is designed for smart charging. Through an Internet browser, smartphone, or the car’s display, you can set-up a preference for nighttime charging when unused electricity is available on the grid. When your utility provides for it, you can set-up a preference to charge when excess RE is available. At your fingertips, you can override a normal preference.
Much of this electric car is designed for recycling, and recycled materials are used in building the car. 98 percent of the lithium batteries are expected to be reused in stationary applications or recycled. Nissan LEAF makes extensive use of recycled and recyclable materials, such as seat fabric, instrument panel materials, and front- and rear-bumper fascias. The LED head lights reduce battery demand at night.
The 2011 LEAF offers more space than it would appear from an outside glance. You can seat 5 passengers. When it was brought to San Francisco, then Mayor Gavin Newsom at 6 foot, 3 inches, comfortably got in the driver’s seat. He also fit in the back seat. The 60/40 split fold-down rear bench seat is easily lowered when we load the car with school supplies, sporting equipment, bicycles, and luggage.
Safety features include vehicle dynamic control (stability control), traction control and six airbags. Nissan has included a number of safety features in the Leaf including:
- 3-years of roadside assistance including in price
- Advanced air bag system (AABS)
- seat-mounted driver and front-passenger side-impact supplemental air bags
- front-seat active head restraints (AHR)
- pipe-style steel side-door guard beams (all side-doors)
- Zone body construction with front and rear crumple zones
- Energy-absorbing steering column
- Tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS)
- Vehicle dynamic control (VDC)
- Traction control system (TCS)
- SL Model review monitor provides a video display of the rear camera for safer backups and parking.
- Length: 4445 mm / 175.0 in.
- Width: 1770 mm / 69.7 in.
- Height : 1550 mm / 61.0 in.
- Wheelbase: 2700 mm / 106.3 in.
- Weight 3,200 to 3,400 pounds.
Driving range over: 160km/100miles (US LA4 mode)
Max speed (km/h): over 140km/h (over 90mph)
- Max power (kW): 80kW
- Max torque (Nm): 280Nm
- Type: laminated lithium-ion battery
- Total capacity (kWh): 24
- Power output (kW): over 90
- Energy density (Wh/kg): 140
- Power density (kW/kg): 2.5
- Number of modules: 48
- Charging times: home-use AC200V charger: less than 8 hrs
- Optional quick charger DC 50kW (0 to 80%): less than 30 min
- Battery under seat & floor
Nissan started with a 50,000 car per year LEAF production in Japan. Nissan added U.S. manufacturing in 2013. The Tennessee assembly plant will grow to the capacity to build 150,000 Nissan LEAF electric cars per year, and 200,000 lithium-ion battery packs per year. The lithium packs also are used in Nissan’s hybrid cars. Within three years Nissan will be in volume manufacturing of the LEAF in the United States, Japan, and the UK. Nissan is going after the global market just as petroleum prices near triple their 2008 low and as major cities impose congestion fees for non-zero-emission vehicles and they have a lead worldwide in EV deliveries.
Other Cars to Investigate
Electric Cars. Nissan is facing battery electric competition from the Tesla Model S on the high-end and more directly from the Mitsubishi i, Ford Focus EV, Toyota RAV4 EV, Honda Fit EV, Chevy Spark EV, BMW i3, Smart fortwo EV and Fiat 500e with more to come. Top Electric Cars Report
Plug-in Hybrids may be a better answer if you only have one car and need greater range at times. With a plug-in hybrid, when your lithium battery is near depletion, a gasoline engine engages, giving you hundreds of miles of added range between charges or gasoline fill-ups. You can order a Chevy Volt with a 40-mile electric range, a Toyota Prius Plug-ins with a 14-mile electric range or a Honda Accord plug-in while Ford has both the Fusion and C-Max with plug-in versions. On the high-end, Cadillac just added the ELR, Porsche has a Panamera plug-in. Top Electric Cars Report
Neighborhood EVs. There are 40,000 of the GEM and other 25-mph low-speed electric vehicles on the U.S. roads in university towns, fleets, and retirement communities. With federal and local tax breaks, the net cost is often under $10,000. With the growth of electric cars and charging stations, sales may actually increase for cost-leading light electric vehicles. These will continue to be ideal for many fleet applications and the most cost-effective for short-range trips.
By John Addison (updated 9/14/11; original 4/27/10); updated by Michael Coates (9/14/2014)
Road Test: 2013 Nissan Leaf
Road Test: 2014 Chevy Volt
(March 30, 2010)
Sale, Lease and Reservation Details for the Nissan EV
Nissan announced U.S. pricing for the 2011 Nissan LEAF electric car, which becomes available for purchase or lease at Nissan dealers in select markets in December and nationwide in 2011. Nissan will begin taking consumer reservations for the Nissan LEAF April 20, months ahead of other electric cars in this price range.
Including the $7,500 federal tax credit for which the Nissan LEAF will be fully eligible, the consumer’s after-tax net value of the vehicle will be $25,280. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2011 all-electric, zero-emission Nissan LEAF is $32,780, which includes three years of roadside assistance. Additionally, there is an array of state and local incentives that may further defray the costs and increase the benefits of owning and charging a Nissan LEAF – such as a $5,000 statewide tax rebate in California; a $5,000 tax credit in Georgia; a $1,500 tax credit in Oregon; and carpool-lane access in some states, including California.
As a result of aggressive pricing and the availability of the $7,500 federal tax credit whose benefit is immediately included, Nissan will be able to offer a monthly lease payment beginning at $349, not including state or local incentives, which could further reduce the net cost of the Nissan LEAF.
The vehicle at the standard SV trim level is well-equipped with a variety of standard features, including an advanced navigation system and Internet/smart phone connectivity to the vehicle, including pre-heat/pre-cool and charging control. Nissan LEAF is equipped with energy-efficient LED headlights and makes extensive use of recycled and recyclable materials, such as seat fabric, instrument panel materials, and front- and rear-bumper fascias. Other standard amenities include Bluetooth connectivity; Intelligent-key with push button start; Sirius/XM satellite radio capabilities and roadside assistance. Safety features include vehicle dynamic control (stability control), traction control and six airbags. The SL trim level, available for an additional $940 (MSRP), adds features including rearview monitor, solar panel spoiler, fog lights, and automatic headlights.
Reservations on April 20
In order to ensure a one-stop-shop customer experience, Nissan is carefully managing the purchase process from the first step, when consumers sign up on NissanUSA.com, until the customer takes the Nissan LEAF home and plugs it into a personal charging dock.
■Nissan begins accepting reservations on April 20 first from people who have signed up on NissanUSA.com, and, after a brief introductory period, to all interested consumers.
■Consumers will be required to pay a $99 reservation fee, which is fully refundable.
■Reserving a Nissan LEAF ensures consumers a place in line when Nissan begins taking firm orders in August, as well as access to special, upcoming Nissan LEAF events.
■Rollout to select markets begins in December, with nationwide availability in 2011.
In tandem with the purchase process, Nissan will offer personal charging docks, which operate on a 220-volt supply, as well as their installation. Nissan is providing these home-charging stations, which will be built and installed by AeroVironment, as part of a one-stop-shop process that includes a home assessment.
■The average cost for the charging dock plus installation will be $2,200.
■Charging dock and installation are eligible for a 50 percent federal tax credit up to $2,000.
■Using current national electricity averages, Nissan LEAF will cost less than $3 to “fill up.”
■Nissan LEAF also will be the sole vehicle available as part of The EV Project, which is led by EV infrastructure provider eTec, a division of ECOtality, and will provide free home-charging stations and installation for up to 4,700 Nissan LEAF owners in those markets.
This major announcement gives Nissan a lead over Toyota, General Motors, Ford and others that will also be offering electric cars. Top 10 Electric Car Makers 2011 U.S. Offerings