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Nissan Leaf Owners Answer Common Electric-Car Questions


2013 Nissan Leaf

2013 Nissan Leaf

Enlarge Photo

For many people, electric cars represent the unknown.

The internal-combustion engine has held sway over the automobile for most of its existence, so it's difficult for consumers to picture themselves in a car that re-energizes at a plug, rather than refueling at a pump.

That's why Nissan is trying to demystify the electric car by giving potential customers answers to their most common questions from actual Leaf owners who use the cars every day.

ALSO SEE: Compliance Car Update: Which Electric Cars Are Loss Leaders?

The Japanese automaker has set up a page on its website where users can submit questions to be answered by Leaf drivers.

2013 Nissan Leaf

2013 Nissan Leaf

Enlarge Photo
These include common inquiries such as detailed particulars of the Leaf's real-world range and how much money owners car actually save by going electric.

"Range anxiety" is at the head of a growing list of electric car-related emotions, but the owner responses (conveniently) back up Nissan's claim that the Leaf's EPA-rated range of 84 miles is adequate for suburban or urban commuting.

One owner felt 90 miles of driving on a single charge was possible in urban traffic conditions, while several noted that their daily commutes were in the 50-to-60-mile range.

A couple of owners said they had run out of charge while driving. One blamed a closed charging station; the other said it was because he hadn't read the car's range meter properly.

There are more practical questions as well, including the best time to charge (the consensus is overnight) and what items will fit in Leaf's cargo area (a 36-string Celtic harp, if you fold the seats down, according to one owner).

One of the biggest problems with electric car adoption has been getting "butts in seats"--showing customers what an electric car is actually like to drive.

While a curated online Q&A session isn't the same as getting behind the wheel, it could give owners some idea of what it's like to own an electric car.

Or, at least, what kinds of musical instruments will fit in one.

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