Nissan Leaf Vs. Chevy Volt
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Nissan Leaf Vs. Chevy Volt

The Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt are two different vehicles, but in comparison, the Leaf gives you a better deal for your money.

With the rollout of electric cars being highly anticipated in the American automobile market, it's natural to compare the two vehicles first in the lineup scheduled to roll out as "electric vehicles." There have been attempts to tap the electric vehicle market before in the late 1980s and 1990s, but the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt are the first two attempts by major manufacturers to actually hit the sales floor. Here we can take a moment to note the Honda fuel cell vehicle FCX Clarity, which was advertised in 2007 and currently has about 50 Clarity cars on the road in the U.S. Honda anticipates that they will be ready for mass production by 2018.

Direct from the Nissan Website, then, the following data is published about the Leaf:

  • MRSP $32,780 (after tax credits, as low as $25,280)
  • Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV, proudly adverrtised as lacking a tailpipe)
  • 80 KW AC Synchronous Electric Motor (110 horsepower, basically, non-slip motor producing torque at synchronous speed)
  • Range of 100 miles
  • Max speed of 90 miles per hour
  • 5 passengers and 5 doors
  • 24 kWh lithium-ion battery
  • 3.3 kW onboard charger
  • 120 V portable trickle charging cable3
  • 240 V home charging dock
  • 50 kW DC fast charging
  • Regenerative brakes

It becomes information overload after this point. Above, the important information is in bold italics.

Straight from Chevrolet's website is the following information about the Volt:

  • 40,280 MSRP (Ironic: after tax savings it becomes the Leaf's starting price at $32,780
  • Low Emission Vehicle (LEV, has an optional usage onboard gas generator)
  • 111 KW electric motor (150 horsepower)
  • 40 mile range; 300 using the onboard 1.4 liter generator/engine
  • 100 mph max speed
  • 5 passengers
  • 16 kwh lithium ion battery
  • 4 hour charge by 240 volt line
  • 10 hour charge by 120 volt line

At about $10,000 dollars difference between the prices of the two vehicles, we can see that each is competing for very different markets. Each has something to offer, but the Nissan Leaf is the only true electric car of the two. With its more conservative motor and bigger battery, the Leaf offers the ability to make it home on a single charge, but the Volt probably won't even be able to get the average person to work and back without using it's "generator."

Incredible Demand

At the same time, both vehicles have managed to tap an incredibly strong buyer market. On the Leaf page, the following message appears when you try to reserve the car:

"To date, 20,000 people have already reserved a Nissan LEAF - a number that has exceeded our expectations.

We have completed the first phase of reservations. in order to provide the best level of customer service and premium ownership experience to the first Nissan LEAF drivers, we will not be accepting new reservations until the next phase begins. a subsequent phase of new reservations will begin this year after current reservations and orders have been processed.

We’re grateful for your understanding and patience as we work to bring this 100% electric car to you."

Where Does the Electricity Come From?

Bear in mind that much of the consumer sentiment regarding these vehicles comes from mistaken notions. Did you know that right about half of our electricity in the United States comes from coal? Did you further know that over 75% of our total electrical power grid comes from fossil fuels? Chevrolet claims right on the Volt's website that: "Put simply, electricity is a cleaner source of power." This is patently false. Until fossil fuels are eliminated from the electrical grid, these electric vehicles will be producing as much emissions as gas ones, because the emissions come from our power plants.

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