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Nissan to release new electric car

November 13, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Nissan is showing off its soon-to-be-released electric vehicle, promising that it will be efficient and affordable, but will the driving public and local governments be ready for it?How will we get around in the future without gasoline? Nissan helps answer that question with the roll-out of their upcoming electric car called the Leaf, which goes on sale in about a year.

"People are expecting solutions and they're expecting car makers to bring solutions, and that's the response," said Nissan CEO Carlos Gohsn.

Electric car technology has had a lot of false starts, but more auto makers like Nissan say the technology is finally ready for user-friendly models.

"It's possible today to have a range of 100 miles, and the cost of the battery is also totally under control," said Gohsn.

And with those costs down, Nissan says that the Leaf will cost about the same as a conventional car, once operating costs are factored in, around $30,000 is what they're hinting at right now.

Part of the equation might be that the battery pack would be leased. That could ease one of the worries of ownership, which is the thought of having to replace an expensive battery.

The other fear of many is that they'll get stranded with a dead battery

"The magic number is 100 miles range, and they've determined through various studies that is where people's level of anxiety goes down, never mind that almost no one drives a hundred miles in a day," said Dan Neil, a Los Angeles Times auto critic.

Invited guests got to take quick spins to see what those hundred miles might be like.

One of the questions when it comes to electric cars is where will you recharge them, and how long will it take? Well, of course you can charge it overnight at your house, but what about when you're out during the day going to work or running errands? They're working on that too.

Local governments and utilities are working to ramp up rapid charging stations that you'd use when away from home or work.

"You do need to deploy some quick-charging facilities along the roads that you think people are most likely to take," said Mary Nichols, chairperson of the California Air Resources Board.

The slow evolution to electric cars is going to take time due to the cooperation between car companies, utility providers and the government.

Many of these potential early adopters of plug-in cars are eager for that evolution to start happening soon and at last.

The new Nissan Leaf goes on tour this weekend.


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