It is late on Thanksgiving Day, at least here in Mile High country, and as I sit back and think about all the things in the automotive industry we have to be thankful for (see recent articles), I can’t help but look towards the future. It seems to be an amazing place, the future, with zero emission or ultra-low emission cars and a shift in the way we handle transportation. What’s more is that we are starting to see the shift today with cars like the Chevrolet Volt, MINI E and the Nissan LEAF. This story focuses on the Nissan LEAF because it may symbolize the major shift to come in our automotive lifestyles.

Nissan LEAF Charging Port

Nissan LEAF Charging Port

The Nissan LEAF isn’t the first and won’t be the last electric vehicle on the market. In fact, here in Denver they used to have electric cars in the early part of the 1900s that used to run around the capital area; said car is actually in the local Colorado Museum and supposedly still functions. So as you can see, the LEAF isn’t new in terms of being powered by electricity, but what is different is the partnership Nissan has managed with ECOtality’s eTec, which will all them to take advantage of what is being called “the largest deployment of electric vehicles and charging infrastructures in history.” The partnership is just a piece of the puzzle that helped eTec sign a $100 Million Transportation Electrification Project Contract with the U.S. Department of Energy.

Nissan LEAF Interior

Nissan LEAF Interior

The deployment will consist of 10,950 Level 2 (220V) Chargers, 260 Level 3 fast-charges and 4,700 Nissan LEAF zero-emission electric vehicles. The deployment will be in five states: Arizona, California, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington. The question most people as is when will it happen? The answer is: as we speak. The project officially commenced on October 1, 2009. So as they begin working towards the first infrastructure milestone, Nissan is right there along side making history.

Bottom line—The Nissan Leaf can carry five people, reach speeds up to 90 mph and has a range of approximately 100 miles (give or take a few miles depending on the driving conditions, accessories being used, etc…). With those kinds of numbers and a 5 year battery, it won’t be hard for some people to see there way to owning a zero-emission vehicle. As I have said before, 100 miles a day is well over the standard 15,000 mile/year lease.

 

For more information on eTec and the project mentioned above, visit: TheEVproject.com.