Nissan’s all-electric LEAF gives a run for Volt’s and Better Place’s money. Nissan has no plans, however, to target infrastructure-poor Middle East.
The battle over which company will market the first practical electric car is becoming more intense with the introduction of Nissan’s new total electric LEAF model. The Japanese carmaker is marketing this new entry into the electric car market as being one which is totally electric, as compared to hybrids and GM’s Volt model (which also has two engines, even though the gasoline one is only used for charging the batteries for the electric engine). I’ve compared the Chevy Volt to Better Place’s Renault prototype model, and pointed out the differences between the two concepts.
Th Better Place-Renault model can travel for around 160 km or 100 miles on a single charge, and then can either be recharged at a plug-in “charging post” or simply driven onto a lift or special platform, where its lithium ion or “Li-ion” batteries will exchanged for newly charged ones in a matter of minutes. How does this compare to the LEAF? And will the LEAF be available to curious readers living in the Middle East? Apparently not, says Nissan’s CEO.
Nissan, which is a partner with Renault, seems to have jumped the gun on the French carmaker, which is also going to be selling Z.E. (zero emission) total electric cars in 2011.
Although not mentioned specifically in their advertisements, both Nissan and Renault may very will be using electric car technology designed by Better Place, which involves the above mentioned battery exchange stations, allowing drives much more driving “range”.
The Leaf is being marketed as a more affordable electric car, which besides having the same “between charges” driving range as the Volt also offers an IT global information technology, which will “connect” drivers to a global data center, to provide support, information, and entertainment for drivers 24 hours a day.
The car will also have an on-board remote-controlled timer can also be pre-programmed to recharge batteries.
Video on Nissan’s LEAF, what it looks like and how it works.
The LEAF will first be manufactured at Nissan’s Oppama Japan plant, and will later be made elsewhere, including at a large facility in the American state of Tennessee. Although the car will be available through Nissan’s world-wide network of importers and dealerships, the success of owning one will depend on the accessibility of charging stations or “posts,” many of which are being planned to be installed in places like parking lots at shopping malls, train and other public transport stations, as well as in parking spaces in housing complexes.
A full battery charge takes about 8 hours, using a 200 volt current; but ‘quick charges’ for batteries not completely drained will be able to recharge a battery sufficiently enough in 30 minutes to get home from work or from the mall.
No room for a green leaf
Availability in Middle Eastern countries will depend on modernity of cities and residential neighbourhoods. So far Nissan has decided that countries that aren’t environmentally aware won’t be a target, and that includes Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi’s National reports that there will be “No place for a green leaf in the desert.”
In the National, Carlos Ghosn, the chief executive officer of Nissan and Renault, was in Abu Dhabi for the global launch of the 2010 Nissan Patrol 4×4 vehicle. And while he said the Middle East was shaping up to be “the main market” for the Patrol, the reverse is true of Nissan’s forthcoming electric Leaf car.
“The Middle East is not a prime target for electric vehicles,” Mr Ghosn said at a press conference, citing a lack of government interest in the region for zero-emission cars. “We give priority to governments who are ready to provide incentives for electric cars, like infrastructure,” he said.
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