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EV Adventures – Part 5 of 6

January 3rd, 2012

The Nissan Leaf – Specifications and Quote

With a quote for the installation of the charging station in hand, I was now in a position to request a quote for the vehicle.  The Leaf comes in 2 versions; the SV and the SL.  The Leaf SL is the more expensive version and it has an optional quick-charge port, a rear view monitor, as well as a solar panel on the roof to charge the 12-volt accessory battery that runs certain accessory functions.  For my first request, I asked for a quote on the less expensive Leaf SV which has a MSRP of $35,735.  Adding options such as floor & cargo mats, splash guards and an organizer package for the cargo compartment, brought the price up to $36,495.  Adding in the installation of the charging unit brings the total cost to $38,883.

I plan to request a new quote excluding the charging station but changing to the SL version with most of the bells & whistles, including the optional quick-charge port.

The following technical features impress me about the Leaf:

Drivetrain – The Leaf has a synchronous AC motor with an output of 80 kW.  “Synchronous” means that this is a permanent magnet electric motor – very efficient and will probably become hard to find in the years ahead as China clamps down on the rare earth metals that are required for permanent magnets.  80 kW converts to approximately 107 HP.  Because an electric motor has 100% torque at low rpm’s, this car is fast!  I mean, this could be one of the fastest cars I’ve ever driven.  With a gas engine, the rpm’s have to get above 3000 or more before you get any serious torque…and then the transmission shifts gears 4 or 5 times before you get to 50 miles per hour.  Not so with the Leaf…no shifting.  The Leaf has a single-speed reduction gear box.  And the Leaf is unbelievably quiet.  Very different for those of us used to muscle cars that make all kinds of noise.

Battery – Nissan lists the lithium-ion battery at 24 kW on their speck sheet.  They claim the battery delivers 90 kW to the motor and the motor output is 80 kW.  The battery is located low in the center of the vehicle.  This gives it a low center-of-gravity adding to stability and handling.  Nissan backs the battery with a rather impressive 8-year / 100,000 mile warranty.  The Leaf’s regenerative braking can add an extra 10% to the range, but Nissan has a disclaimer saying this depends on the driving situation.  Still, I think regenerative braking adds considerable value and I like the idea of using some of that braking energy to generate electricity.

Electronics – Navigation, Bluetooth, XM Radio and all sorts of electronics to help monitor and manage power consumption are standard with either version of the Leaf.  I am still learning about the electronics.

 

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