Buy a Nissan LEAF Now or Wait to Buy a Ford Focus Electric? 7 Things to Think About.

By · January 30, 2011

Put aside, for a moment, the question of all-electric car versus plug-in hybrid—and the Volt-LEAF deathmatch that would likely ensue. We've had that question a lot here on PluginCars.com and much of the answer to it simply comes down to knowing your lifestyle and the driving needs generated by it. In many ways the two types of vehicles aren't even in competition with each other because they satisfy very different needs. As a result, the coverage of Volt vs. LEAF tends to be overblown and reality-challenged. It's a fake market comparison resulting from the lack of any other consumer-priced plug-in competition besides those two vehicles.

But, if you're in the market for an all-electric car, the lack of competition for the Nissan LEAF is about change with the impending arrival of the 2012 Ford Focus Electric. What this represents is no less than the first time ever that two mass-produced, relatively affordable, consumer-oriented, mid-sized 100% electric cars will be available for regular folks to buy and own. Think about that. A competition the world hasn't seen since the advent of the automobile.

It brings up all sorts of new questions and has sent more than few Nissan LEAF fence sitters and pre-orderers back to the drawing board to re-evaluate their allegiance. While it's difficult to compare the two cars—the LEAF has been out in the wild for more than a month now, whereas nobody's yet driven the just-unveiled Focus Electric—much is known about Ford's intentions and I recently had the chance to drive the gas-powered version of the 2012 Focus hatchback. Ford has promised that the electric version of the Focus won't lose any of the driving dynamics of the gas version. I've also had extensive time behind the wheel of the Nissan LEAF—including the world's first public full range driving test.

At this point I feel at least moderately qualified to answer some of those burning questions to help those who are now trying to decide what to do. I'll do my best. And I'll leave the question of styling preference up to you—I'd be daft not to.

1Handling

The Nissan LEAF is a fun car to drive. With its batteries low and in the exact center of gravity the LEAF has an exact 50/50 weight distribution making cornering effortless. Four-wheel disc brakes and stabilizer bars bring it under control quickly, and the electronic brake force distribution gives you the confidence to dodge impending obstacles with the best of them. With a 107 horsepower electric motor, and an always available 207 lb-ft of torque, the LEAF rockets from a standing start—beating even some high end performance cars at speeds from 0-40 mph. All that torque also makes passing on the highway a breeze. The Nissan LEAF has shown that it can reach a top speed of more than 95 mph.

Although no one has yet driven the production version of the Ford Focus Electric, I'm working on the Ford-professed principle that the electric version will lose none of the driving dynamics of the gas version—which I drove last week on the national media launch.

Like the LEAF, the 2012 Ford Focus is incredibly fun to drive. It, too, has four-wheel disc brakes, stabilizer bars and all the benefits of electric drive... plus it has a secret weapon—torque vectoring control. What is that exactly? A computer monitors the vehicle 100 times per second and when you enter a corner too hard it applies greater brake force to the interior slipping wheels and transfers more grip to the exterior wheels. The result? Even the worst drivers among us will feel like race car drivers. Ford will likely bring torque vectoring to the electric version as well. Although the Ford Focus Electric is rated at a higher 123 horsepower, it only delivers 181 lb-ft of torque. In the electric car world, torque is really the most important aspect of acceleration performance. Ford says the Focus Electric has a top speed of 84 mph.

Who Comes Out on Top?

Although the LEAF is fun to drive, if Ford can pull off its claim that the Focus electric will behave the same as the gas version, the Focus is the better handling vehicle. I repeatedly threw the Focus into corners rated at 25 mph at speeds of 50 mph and the car didn't skip a beat. I rarely ever heard any tire squeal and felt like I was in complete control the whole time. This is a car I would love to get out on a real race track.

2Charging Times

I dealt with this topic just yesterday in great detail. On a standard home charging unit, the LEAF is capable of adding about 15 miles of range per hour of charging, whereas on the same home charging unit the Focus will add about 30 miles of range per hour. The difference comes down to charging equipment on board each vehicle.

So, you say, it's clear cut. Not so fast. Among the two, the LEAF is likely to be the only one to support DC fast charging at launch—which can add about 80 miles of driving range in a half-hour of charging at commercial high voltage charging stations. Being able to DC fast charge brings an electric car much closer to parity with gas-powered cars for range capabilities. By the end of 2011 there will likely be 400 or so DC fast charging station spread throughout concentrated early launch markets in Oregon, Washington, California, Tennessee, Arizona and Texas.

Please see yesterday's post for more complete information.

Who Comes Out on Top?

Of all the comparisons, this is perhaps the least clear cut. But for resale value, future compatibility and functionality, the LEAF seems to be the strongest contender here—especially since you will likely be able to add higher speed home charging on par with the Focus within the next two years. The Focus Electric will never be able to add DC fast charging support if it's not included at launch.

3Battery Technology


The Focus Electric's battery pack is stuck behind the rear seats, a result of it not being engineered as an electric car from the ground up.

Ford has signed a supply agreement with Compact Power, a US-based subsidiary of LG Chem. Nissan's batteries are the result of a joint venture between them and NEC—called the Automotive Equipment Supply Corporation (AESC). Although initially both vehicles' batteries will be manufactured in Asia, starting in 2012 manufacturing will be shifted to facilities currently being built in Michigan (Compact Power) and Tennessee (Nissan).

Although both vehicles use very similar battery chemistry—flat, large-format, lithium-manganese, prismatic battery cells—the key difference here lies in how the batteries are managed. Ford's batteries will be actively heated and cooled using a liquid coolant circulated in tubes next to the flat cells. Nissan's do not have a sophisticated cooling system and largely depend on the movement of air through the batteries to keep them within acceptable operating temperatures. Nissan's approach ensures less-expensive manufacturing, but Ford's may help extend the lifespan of the battery pack.

The conventional wisdom is that heat is the biggest killer of battery lifespan—hence Ford's claim that liquid conditioning will extend the lifespan. All lithium-ion batteries degrade over time and may need to be replaced after 7-10 years. But given that the only data we have related to lithium-ion longevity comes from lab tests, it is hard to know how an entire battery pack will perform in daily driving use. Nissan has provided an 8 year/100,000 mile battery warranty and Ford will likely provide a minimum of the same.

In addition to battery longevity, external temperature tends to affect range in an electric car. Although these effects are not nearly as bad as with old lead-acid packs, lithium-ion can still see quite substantial effects when outside temperatures get extreme, lowering the range by 10-20%. The LEAF deals with this by pre-conditioning the batteries when the car is plugged in to keep them warm when it's cold—but this doesn't deal with extreme heat. Theoretically, the Ford Focus will be able to deal with temperature swings to a greater degree and may be better suited to more variable climates.

Who Comes Out on Top?

This is an incredibly difficult call, but without considering price, Ford's active liquid cooling/heating looks like the best option.

4Storage Space

The LEAF has a cavernous rear hatch and monstrous interior head- and legroom—the result of being engineered from the ground up as a dedicated electric car. There are videos floating on the internet showing parents fitting two big strollers in the back of the LEAF with other equipment and gear on top—as well as putting three high-backed booster seats across the back bench.


The Focus Electric's rear hatch volume is seriously handicapped by the location of the battery pack.

While there are no parent-made videos of the Focus Electric yet, it seems that the Focus will be hobbled from the get go because it wasn't designed as an electric car from the ground up. As a result, the batteries have been crammed into spaces normally reserved for cargo... as you can see in the picture to the right with the rear seats folded down. That huge hump filling up what looks like a full quarter of the useable space in the hatch is all battery.

Who Comes Out on Top?

I think the winner here is clear. The LEAF's huge hatch without intruding batteries makes it infinitely more functional.

5Wait Times

The Nissan LEAF is available now and the pre-ordering phase opened up last year. As a result Nissan has stopped taking reservations and is slowly releasing more pre-orderers for delivery. In fact, the lack of speed of delivery has cause quite some consternation on the part of the earliest adopters. Nissan is now saying that they will reach full production volume by March which should go a long way to reducing the wait list and reaching Nissan's promise of delivering all the cars that were pre-ordered by the end of Summer 2011. Even so, if you aren't on the reservation list already it will likely be late 2011 before you get your vehicle.

So, you say, I'm just going to take my money elsewhere an buy a Ford Focus Electric because they'll be available at the end of 2011. Not so fast. Although Ford has yet to detail the launch strategy and production numbers, you can be almost positive they will roll out tentatively as well—meaning that you may have a several month wait to get a Ford Focus Electric from the time they go on sale to actual delivery.

Who Comes Out on Top?

Nissan is already producing cars and will reach full production by March. As a result, if you are already on the wait list you are likely to get your vehicle, at the latest, by fall of 2011, and if you aren't on the wait list you will likely be able to walk into a dealer sometime in early 2012 and simply choose from a vehicle on the lot. Smart money says that Ford won't able to offer that until at least mid- to late 2012.

6Driver Displays


Top: The Nissan LEAF's main driver display.
Bottom: The Ford Focus Electric's main driver display.

Some have said the LEAF's displays are too sparse and lacking in information to help you maximize your mileage, as well as tell you how much actual energy there is left in your batteries. This lack of coaching and driver information means that the car is doing all the calculations for you and you may feel like you are operating inside a black box at times.

Although the Focus display has only been seen as a mock up at this point, what it looks to offer is complete customization and very helpful coaching applications. Based on the same driver displays developed for the Fusion Hybrid and complemented by MyFord Touch, the Focus Electric display appears to be a winner.

Who Comes Out on Top?

Based on admittedly-incomplete information, it looks like Ford will be the early front runner for electric car driver information available on its various displays.

7Pricing

We, of course, know exactly what the LEAF costs: a base MSRP of $32,780 with a $7,500 federal tax credit can knock that down to $25,280. Some states offer their own lucrative credits or rebates as well—in California the LEAF can be had for just a hair over $20,000. In the end, even without the California rebate or other state rebates, you'd be hard pressed to find any vehicle loaded with as much stuff as the LEAF for less than $28,000, making it one of the best automotive deals in the U.S.

We really don't know what the Focus Electric will cost. I've seen the $30,000 number thrown around in various places and we here at PluginCars.com even use it as our estimated price on our Focus Electric page. While that may be the target price for the Focus Electric, it is unclear if that means before or after the $7,500 federal tax credit. My bet is that it is after, given that the Focus has such a sophisticated battery thermal management system.

Who Comes Out on Top?

While we won't know Focus Electric pricing for some months, the best educated guess says that it will be more expensive than the LEAF before tax credits.

Comments

· · 3 years ago

I own a 2009 Ford Focus (automatic), and have the Leaf on order, hoping for delivery by April or May.

I love the style and paint job on the Focus, and their Sync system is way cool. But, the cons are that there's zero foot room in the back seat - expect to have to turn your feet perpendicular to the car to enter/exit, and you'll also learn quickly to duck your head whenever going over even slight bumps. I'm 5'8" and crack my head on the roof frequently in the back. The interior is also poorly insulated for road noise, so forget conversing with the front passengers or listening to music unless you really boost the volume.

When I test drove the Leaf, it was so quiet it almost felt like it was floating on air, and there's tons of headroom and back seat space. While the 2011 Focus is newly styled, seating space and headroom look to be pretty much the same as the 2009 and 2010.

Those issues and the Leafs other BEV attributes make the decision for me pretty simple - can't wait for my Nissan dealer's call.

· · 3 years ago

Bruce, keep in mind that the Ford Focus is completely redesigned for 2012, so any qualms you may have with the 2009 model won't necessarily carry over to the 2012 model. In fact I can tell you that the back seats in the 2012 model are roomy—I fit in them just fine and I'm 5'8" as well..

· Stephen Taylor (not verified) · 3 years ago

Nick, do you really think there will be Leaf's on dealer lots just waiting for people to walk up and buy them in early 2012? You couldn't do that with a Prius for a couple of years after they came out.

If the Leaf is going to be just sitting on the lots in early 2012, it seems like waiting to see what the competiton is like might be the best idea. That way you can make the most informed decision.

· Steven (not verified) · 3 years ago

Great article! For better or worse, it looks like I'm back in the LEAF camp. My recumbent bike will fit into a Nissan Versa with a reasonable amount of effort. It looks like that would not be the case with the Ford Focus Electric (FFE). (I am 6'4" - long torso. Any idea how I'd fit in a Focus?)

At this stage is there any way to get a feel for longevity and maintence? Both the LEAF and the FFE tout an interior made with recycled materials. I plan on keeping my EV so long I'd have no problem with the nastiest, most durable synthetics on the planet.

· · 3 years ago

Stephen, the Prius wasn't in short supply everywhere, only in some markets such as California. That's what happens when you have a dealer-centric distribution system... many of the cars go places they're not in demand, leaving other spots high and dry. That's what Nissan was trying to avoid. But based on my conversation with Nissan's Brian Carolin at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month, it sounds like Nissan is strategizing to switch from the current customer-oriented system to the dealer-oriented one within the next year. If that's the case there will be some spots in early 2012 that you can go and buy a LEAF on the spot and some where the waiting list will be very long. It won't be until the end of 2012 that supply eases up everywhere but my bet is that by early 2012 you'll start seeing LEAFs available on the spot.

· · 3 years ago

Steven, of course, the only reason I know for sure that big people will fit in the LEAF is because I performed the first test of it with willing subjects (I'm only 5'8" myself) and others have now said it generally fits them (of course, it all depends on your ratios—if you have a long torso you may still not fit). But, having sat in the Focus hatchback I can tell you, it, too, seems to have ample room above my head... I'm guessing that means you'd fit, unless the seats rise for some reason in the electric version—which I really don't think they will.

As for the interior longevity issues, the only thing I know is that some LEAF owners are complaining that the light fabric of the LEAF shows stains easily. Other that, only time will tell... literally.

· · 3 years ago

At the end of the day the LEAF is a purpose built electric car and the virtual 2012 Focus EV isn't. The performance and cargo space of the virtual 2012 Focus EV suffers as a result. Not to pick on Ford here, the same is true of many other cobbled together EVs. It's just very difficult for an OEM to create a dual propose product platform. Kinda like a desert topping floor wax.

· · 3 years ago

By the way, the instrument cluster on the virtual 2012 Focus EV is interesting. I do like the 1957 Chevy feel to it.

· · 3 years ago

Great comparo, Nick! Very tough call for me personally. Styling, handling, faster charger, battery management...all point to Focus. My guess that LEAF will have a bit more room in back, quick charger, quicker availability...says LEAF. Price is the big deciding unknown. It might come down to whether or not Ford announces pricing by the time my Nissan dealer calls.

I think it's fantastic that soon enough we'll have two models out there, and Nissan and Ford (and others) can learn from each other's shortcomings. As exciting as Gen One of these cars will be, can you imagine how cool Gen Two will be?

· theflew (not verified) · 3 years ago

Everyone mentions how the Leaf batteries can be preconditioned on cold days when plugged in. What about when you're at work for 8+ hours and it's sitting in cold? That seems to be the bigger issue than when it's at home in your garage and such.

· · 3 years ago

Theflew, good point. The batteries are actually very dense and have a huge thermal inertia. What that means is that they'll hold their heat very well. Unless it's Artically-cold outside or you are leaving it sitting without being plugged in for more than a day it will likely remain warm enough to avoid serious range degradation.

· · 3 years ago

Mark Perry mentioned (at the Boston Science Museum tour date) that in very cold temperatures (below 20F?), that the Leaf should be okay for about 2-3 days, without charging to keep the battery pack warm.

I had a 2004 Focus ZX5, and it handled very well indeed. I'm fairly confident that The Stig knows about good handling, and his review of the Leaf mentions how well it works. We'll see how they compare soon enough.

My hope is that we'll have an even better choice in the Honda Fit EV, soon. As a base chassis, I can attest that the 2010 Fit works very well for people as tall as 6'-6" in the front seat and 6'-4" in the rear. And the storage space and flexibility has no equal -- hopefully they get the battery pack in where the gas tank is; under the front seats!

Neil

· · 3 years ago

Nice summary Nick. One thing to keep in mind is how will the Focus EV compete with 2012 Leaf ... above comparisons are for MY2011.

BTW, since this gets repeated - I've couple of things to say about the sophisticated BMS of Volt/Focus EV.
- LG uses an older technology. They need liquid thermal management. Let us not make a virtue out of a neccessity. Rumor is that next gen LG batteries won't suffer this handicap (read it a while back on gm-volt in comments, so take it with a bit of salt).
- Liquid cooling/heating apparently doesn't help with range in cold climates. See various Volt reports.
- Nissan will have a "cold weather package" to warm the battery if needed in MY2012.

· · 3 years ago

BTW, anyone with a Leaf order that will be delivered soon, don't cancel. There is someone on the leaf forum willing to pay $42K (that is 10K premium ?).

· · 3 years ago

I think that the biggest disadvantage to the Focus's small trunk volume is symbolic rather that functional. It looks Mickey Mouse. Ford probably said "A family is unlikely to load this up for a long trip... trunk space is not too important, as long as there is space for groceries." While I think that the reasoning is probably pretty close (and they no doubt have the market analysis to back it up), the trunk still shouts "compromise, afterthought, conversion, not quite ready for prime time, not purpose built, other shortcuts that might be hidden?" etc.

While I think the Focus exterior looks much better, I find the driver displays on both to be too cluttered (same comment applies to the Volt). What ever happened to good ergonomics? There is one gauge that you should be able to read at a glance: speedometer. Secondarily, you need to refer to the "fuel gage". (But with either of these vehicles, the vast majority of owners will get into a routine in which you plug in every night, and commute. Unless you happen to have a commute that strains the range, even the fuel gauge becomes unimportant -- check it once in the morning to make sure the car is charged.)

In the old days, some cars had "economy" lights (typically tied to manifold vacuum). People would play with them for a week or so, and then forget about them. Perhaps a chime that would go off when you are using unusually high amperage would suffice. Few owners, I hope, will hold up traffic to minimize electrical consumption. We don't want people muttering: "Another blasted EV in front of me!!"

I don't want to kill off my customers, so I want them looking outside the cockpit all the time, unless there is something that demands that they must look at the gauges. Butterflies -- just an unnecessary and potentially unsafe distraction.

· · 3 years ago

Does anyone know how Nissan is doing with their cold weather package? Will it be available later this year when I hopefully will be getting my leaf in Illinois?

· · 3 years ago

@Ken,

I agree 100% with your comment/perception re, "Unless you happen to have a commute that strains the range, even the fuel gauge becomes unimportant -- check it once in the morning to make sure the car is charged."

While I appreciate the way the early adopters are practically obsessing about battery tech and range, once I have driven my Leaf long enough to get a feel about my specific area's topography and roadways, I expect to simply plug in at night and drive normally except when traveling to places outside my usual area. The Leaf appears to provide sufficient info to the driver so unless the driver is in La-la land, it'll alert one when range becomes an issue.

· · 3 years ago

@dutchinchicago

Nissan has said they will have the cold weather spec ready when the cold states order.

· james (not verified) · 3 years ago

I haven't been keeping up with the electrics but isn't the issue with the Leaf the battery leasing program while the Focus does not have one? You can pay off the car and still have a hefty payment with the Leaf or has something changed and i misunderstood? Thats my beef with the Leaf.

· · 3 years ago

@James You are way behind. Nissan isn't selling the car & leasing the battery. You either buy the whole car or lease the whole car - just like all other cars.

· · 3 years ago

James, About two years ago Nissan was considering the idea of a battery lease with the LEAF, but that ceased to be a consideration more than a year ago. It may be an option on future vehicles, depending on what the market demands. So, if that's your big beef, it's time to let go of it :) When you buy or lease a LEAF, your one payment gets you the whole kit and kaboodle.

· · 3 years ago

@Nick I believe Nissan dropped the battery leasing proposal because of the way tax credit works. We would need changes in that before Nissan will reconsider that decision. I actually liked that option - considering all the talk about battery warranty etc - I think it would have been a popular option.

· JP (not verified) · 3 years ago

Great article for two excellent vehicles!!! I am personally holding off for the Focus BEV. However, at the end of the day it will come down to pricing. If the Focus EV is priced higher than the LEAF then I will walk onto a Nissan lot that have a LEAF in stock and start negotiating. =)

· · 3 years ago

@JP "then I will walk onto a Nissan lot that have a LEAF in stock and start negotiating. =)"

Good luck finding one ...

· David (not verified) · 3 years ago

New enthusiast from washington state, been following Nicks blogs and joining in on the gossip and constructive feedback and information about EV's

· JP (not verified) · 3 years ago

@EVNow Patience grasshopper...

· · 3 years ago

@JP "Patience grasshopper..."
Well, I've been waiting for 10 years. Thats enough ;-)

Anyway what I meant was - you will probably find out Focus EV's price sometime the 2nd half of this year. I doubt you will be able to walk into a Nissan dealership and get a Leaf on the lot until you get to MY2013 when they start making Leafs in Smyrna.

· JP (not verified) · 3 years ago

Ha funny, I have been waiting a long time as well so I hope the price is reasonable. Cost is my biggest obstacle so I will have to wait until 2012 if I have too. Also, I would skip all of the options if I could get it in a lower price range.

I wonder if the C-MAX Energi will cost less than the Focus BEV because it will have a smaller battery pack?

· · 3 years ago

Nice article Nick!! Too bad we have to still speculate. 2012 cannot come fast enough for some EVers. However, knowing that we will soon have the option to pick & choose an electric of your choice is music to my ears. In the Leaf camp still. Going to the Chicago Auto Show to check out both next weekend. Hope they let you test drive them as well.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

Great Article Nick!

I will be waiting for the 2012 Focus EV. I don't use my car for too much hauling so the 'hump' behind the back seat won't matter. Besides, there is space on both sides of the 'hump' and on top, so it's not an issue.

I thought about a Leaf when it was the only option, but after seeing the Ford Focus EV......it's the styling, handling, fast battery charging, and overall technology that sold me on the Focus EV. The Leaf seems to have aged dramatically since the Focus EV became available. Just look at them side by side. The Focus looks more like a premium car inside and out.

But I am sure it will be a lease, since this battery technology is so new, it's really not the time to buy just yet. So the 10 year battery life is not an issue either.

Since 99% of my driving is commuter/in town, range won't be an issue at all. I have another car for long road trips and hauling stuff. It will just be nice to never have to buy gas for 99% of my driving needs.

As far as the Focus EV delivery time-frame, what I am reading is that Ford will be able to avoid the long wait list/expectation gap here in the US that Nissan is dealing with, since the Focus EV is being manufactured here in the US, for deliveries here in the US. No filling home market requests first or shipping around the world.

Manufacturing in Europe and other countries will handle deliveries for those countries with the new technology/manufacturing plants.

4th Quarter 2011 is when Ford states it will be available. They seem to be on plan with the gasoline 2012 Focus that is scheduled for Spring 2011(April Launch) delivery, and 2,500+ already went out to dealerships here in the US at the beginning of Feb.

So just waiting for pricing (but I am sure it will be competitive with the Leaf, as it is the clear target), and how I can pre-order.

I keep checking the Ford website to see if there are updates, but nothing yet.

· · 3 years ago

@JP (not verified) · "I wonder if the C-MAX Energi will cost less than the Focus BEV because it will have a smaller battery pack?"

Not sure. I think Energi will be priced similar to Volt. The ICE version of C-Max itself will probably cost around $30K. I expect the hybrid version to be around $35K and Energi to be about $40K.

Focus BEV may be around $35K - probably $37.5K - making it under $30K after tax credit. Energi, if it has less than 16 kwh of battery will not get 7.5K tax credit and thus will be more expensive after credits than Focus EV, even if priced the same.

· · 3 years ago

@Anonymous (not verified) "The Leaf seems to have aged dramatically since the Focus EV became available."

Ofcourse, Focus EV looks great on paper. Afterall Ford didn't even say anything about the cannibalized trunk space - that was found out by a journalist. Ford obviously had told us only about the best of Focus EV. Expect all the negatives on Focus EV to come out later.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

I would prefer to buy domestically and will do so unless I feel I'm really being hosed on price, etc. Any news on the Mitsubishi EV? Its' smaller size may mean smaller batteries & price, but we'll see.

· · 3 years ago

@Anonymous,
Nissan set a fairly low price on the Leaf, setting the bar rather low initially (kind of like if Apple had initially rolled out the iPhone at $150). Everyone rolling out an EV will now have to be competitive. I can't see Mitsubishi coming out at any less than the low $30k's before incentives. Before the Leaf price announcement, I heard rumors that Mitsubishi thought they'd be able to sell the "I" for over $40k. I'm pretty sure this won't happen now.
Because of Nissan's low start, all new EVs will be being sold with low profit margins so it will take a while to recoup development costs. The good news is that this means the major auto manufacturers will have to either be serious about EVs or not play at all. There won't be any more milking the market with an economy car being sold at luxury car prices like BMW did with their Mini-E. They won't be able to just dabble in EVs without committing to serious mass production.

· · 3 years ago

Anonymous, this article provides some information on where Mitsu is headed with the i-MiEV price:

http://www.plugincars.com/us-spec-mitsubishi-i-miev-get-americanized-siz...

About half a year ago they were saying sub-$30K. At the LA Auto Show in November, Mitsu strongly hinted to me that with the yen-dollar excahnge rate not so good right now, meeting that target would be difficult b/c all the i-MiEVs are currently made in Japan. I think with Mitsu's new focus on electrification, they will likely be tooling a plant in the U.S. to build EVs and will also try to source batteries in the U.S. to avoid the shipping charges on such big, heavy items. Pure speculation right now, but I can't see any other way for the i-MiEV to be competitive in the long run.

· Chuck58 (not verified) · 3 years ago

Thanks for the comparison on the upcoming Focus and the LEAF. I did not know the battery pack on the Focus was going to take up so much room in the back. I viewed the LEAF at the DC Auto show recently and hope to get a test drive in March when the car tours the area. I am hoping to see Maryland be proactive on public charging stations. The I-95 corridor is perfect for fast charging at the rest stops. I have a LEAF reservation and was just told as you mentioned late summer 2011 to order. Maybe delivery by end of 2011. Good to see competition in the pure electric market regardless. it is a very good sign of change in the automotive industry.

· · 3 years ago

@Anonymous (not verified) "I would prefer to buy domestically and will do so unless I feel I'm really being hosed on price, etc"

How is Ford Focus EV domestic with the batteries being made in Korea and drivetrain in Canada ? Atleast with Nissan the entire car including batteries will be made in US from next year.

· · 3 years ago

@Nick

Do you know exactly where the battery pack / charger / inverters are ? I saw someone say Magna has placed the inverter at the back - not the batteries.

Not that it makes much of a difference to owners - lost trunk space is lost trunk space. BTW, I wonder why Ford didn't want to streatch the car a little like Renault did with Fluence ZE to compensate for the loss of trunk space.

· · 3 years ago

@EVNow, I don't think that hump is the inverter.

· Matthew Landry (not verified) · 3 years ago

Hey, Nick, I thought your comparison was fair and entertaining.

As un-American as US automakers are, I've always felt a need to support them. I figure, hell, they may not buy their parts from US companies but it's not like BMW or Toyota are, you know? I'm also not that über-American who has to buy American all of the time. I just choose to support American option when I can, especially when we're talking about an auto future I care about.

I bought a Ford Fusion Hybrid back around when the first came out, with it fully loaded minus the leather package (I'm vegan). It still had a leather steering wheel and for the park, drive shifter thingy, but it's a con I had to take. It's a great car and I intend to keep it until a price on the Focus Electric comes out and preorders begin. A minor problem with my car is that my living area is a little hilly, so though I try my hardest to get 40mpgs, going uphill to my house, I'll probably get 27 or less. Though, when I get good mileage, it's awesome. I've gotten upwards of 50-56mpgs going long distance to my vegan grocery stores. Good car, I want better.

Having all of that said, I do have a couple of questions about both cars. I do know that not much info is out regarding price and exact availability on the Ford option but I'm going to guess you'd have better, updated knowledge than Engadget; which is where I get all of my car info from (I know it's not much, but they talk about everything there).

1. I'm a teenager. This means I happen to follow the stereotype of being very social on weekends and such. That said, is there enough room to fill that role? As I said, I have the Fusion Hybrid at the moment and there is a good amount of space for friends when we decide to go places, as I'm usually the driver. Im the only one with a car that doesn't need to be filled up every week.

2. I'm a teenager. This means I, again, follow the stereotype of listening to music a lot, from my iPhone. I already know that Sync is amazing, I want to know if the speakers in the Focus Electric will be as great as the Sony speaker in my current Fusion. I know the Focus EV also has Sony speakers, but do you know if they are the exact same? I think my car has like 10-12 speakers total (5 in the front, 5 in the back). They sound great for stock speakers, hell, the best speakers I've heard in a car, and I just want to make sure that the fun driving experiences I have with my Fusion won't have to be sacrificed. If they have to be sacrificed, so be it. I'd just rather have you tell me than some salesman willing to say anything for his commission.

3. I do plan on trading in my Fusion Hybrid for this car but what incentives come with the purchase of an EV exactly? I live in Cali, and I heard that there's like a $7,500 fed tax credit and then another $5,000 credit in Cal for the Nissan Leaf. Would this be true for the Ford Focus Electric too? I'd understand if you don't know, I'll find out soon enough, it just gets me excited thinking I'd virtually be getting this car for a straight trade for mine if I got that $12,500 total credit.

4. Simply put, do think, know if there will be a moon roof option on the Focus Electric? I love my windy days driving down Pacific Coast Highway.

Finally. Do you know if MyFord Touch navi system is included in every car like the Leaf and it's standard navi system? I'm terrible with street names and such, navigation is really the only way I travel around. I'd definitely need to add this option if it's not included. This will help me prepare to save as much as possible for my impending purchase.

Thanks in advanced for answering my questions, Nick! I'll be checking everyday for your reply!

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

Neither one of these vehicles can be called an acceptable electric vehicle, despite the
over-the-top enthusiasm voiced by Chambers. Here is yet another case where early
adopters not only curtail imporvement of the vehicle, but entice the public into buying into what is an impractical vehicle for practically everyone. Neither of these vehicles has any provision for battery expansion, and the lack of level 3 fast charging is totally unacceptable.
Even with fast charging, the extremely limited driving ranges, which can be as short as 60 miles, means that trips of any distance are completely out of the question. This decision is anything but a hard call to make. It's a pass, until something as good as the upcoming Model S comes along. Nor is buying into these cars is not going to accomplish anything in terms of environmental benefit, unless one happens to live in South Carolina or Vermont, where electricity is carbon free. The smart money is on electrics that actually are competitive with existing ICE hardware. These two cars with their near-useless 60 to100 mile driving ranges and never-ending concern about running dry on juice, aren't worth their list prices, no matter how low. As they say, fools rush in ... Never more true here.

· · 3 years ago

Anonymous, many of your concerns and fallacies have been addressed here:

http://www.plugincars.com/top-11-electric-car-myths-86131.html

and here:

http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/electric-car-buyi...

And I'm clearly not over-the-top. I'd call my analysis fair and reasonable. But, then again, some people think Fox News actually is "fair and balanced," so your claim is not all that surprising.

· · 3 years ago

@Matthew Landry

Lets see.

1. Focus EV is smaller than fusion. Best to figure out would be to checkout the new Focus ICE when it comes out.

2. I'd say the Focus EV will have basic audio system.

3. Yes, you could get 7.5K + 5K in credits/rebates. Note that currently 7.5K is tax credit and you get it only if you have enough tax liability (do you file separately or with your parents ?). 5K is a rebate that everyone gets - but only if there is money allocated. So it is somewhat iffy.

4. I doubt initial (V1) Focus EV will have moon roof etc.

· Steve (not verified) · 3 years ago

Nice review. I went to the Auto Show in Portland and was distressed that the people in the Ford booth didn't seem to have a clue about the Focus BEV (though they did have the gas version of the 2012 Focus on the pedestal well out of reach). Considering they'd just had the big shindig in Detroit and of course the official roll out at CES I had expected they would have someone at the booth or at least a flier with the level of detail available on the Ford website.

My thoughts on the "compromise" nature of the Focus is that having a common platform brings several advantages versus a dedicated EV model like the Leaf, when it comes to parts commonality as well as Ford's claims to be able to shift production between various versions of the car as demand dictates.

I hope Ford does as least as good a job with pre-release information on the Focus BEV as they did with the Escape Hybrid once the finally got that one out the door.

· · 3 years ago

www.chilye.com
sae j1772

Suzhou Chilye Green provides service to the global EV, related charging facilities of electric vehicles, and battery converter station. In order to meet the global customers, we work hard to discover new areas of new energy technology. We want to be a professional EV accessories supplier with high quality and good credit and we also want to be the expert who can provide the solution of high-current connection.

The charging connectors of Electric vehicles,plug hybrid electric vehicles and electricvehicles charging station produced by Chilye have many specifications ,such as SAE j1772,IEC 62196 and China Standard and so on . High-pressure products (connector, harness) of EV interior connection effectively resolve the connections between battery and motor, electrical, DC/DC, battery chargers. At the same time, Chilye develops the battery replacement system for pure electric car. All these support the electric vehicle industry.

· Matthew Landry (not verified) · 3 years ago

@EVNow

I exaggerated on some parts. I'm not really a teenager by definition, but I am closer to being a teenager than I am a self-dependent adult.

1. Well, I thought the space might be a little different because of the gas components being taken out. I obviously don't know much about cars, I'm just going by what I've read on some site about the Leaf. Some site said it's a good sized car because of all the gas parts they didn't have to put in.

2. Ford's Focus Elec site says it has a nine piece Sony audio system, which is already a minor step below my car. As long as the quality can match my Fusion, I'll be good.

3. I'm going to infer that I'll be eligible for the tax credit because I received the tax credit on my Fusion Hybrid when I bought it, though the only reason I was wondering about the credit was because it's double what I got for my Hybrid; makes obvious sense though.

4. Really? Not even as a separate add-on package?

Thanks for the info.

· · 3 years ago

@Matthew Landry

1. Even though you don't need the ICE parts, you add in a lot of EV related stuff. Esp. the battery. Those are huge monsters.

2. As for as I'm concerned, all stick car audio is junk. You can always do aftermarket upgrades, which are usually cheaper than OEM audio options.

3. If you pay more than $7.5K in federal taxes, you can get all of that tax credit.

4. Obviously we have no idea. But in general since Focus EV is a V1 product, there will be few options. Esp. ones that increase weight.

· Michael (not verified) · 3 years ago

Nick, you forgot #8, Styling. Styling still sells cars (and always will). I've seen both in person, and the Focus wins hands down in that department. I think the Focus opens up the BEV market. A lot of people aren't willing to drive a "funky" looking car, even if you can plug it in.

· · 3 years ago

Michael, I didn't forget it, I put it right there at the beginning of the post. The last sentence before #1. Styling isn't an objective point to consider, which is why I've left it up to the audience to decide on their own.

· Shirley (not verified) · 3 years ago

Do you think that the Ford Focus Electric will be modified to support DC fast charging or there will be a after market option available? Also I don't put many miles on my car - maybe 100 per week average. Will this cause any problems? Do the batteries loose charge while sitting?

· · 3 years ago

Shirley, unfortunately adding DC fast charging after the vehicle is built is incredibly impractical. It would require completely rewiring the guts. Nissan has said that if someone didn't order the DC fast charging with the LEAF when they bought it, adding it later could cost multiple thousands of dollars—maybe even as much as $13,000. For a vehicle like the Focus, which apparently won't support DC fast charging at launch, even more modifications would need to be done, pushing the costs up so high that it just wouldn't make sense.

RE: problems with driving short distances. It sounds like you are more than perfectly suited to owning an EV. You will have your car plugged in while it's sitting in your garage/carport/driveway, so the battery will be conditioning itself when needed. There will be no problems associated with only driving 100 miles a week. In fact, your batteries will likely last longer than somebody who drives more regularly.

· Dairyman (not verified) · 3 years ago

Nick, no need for the Fox News bashing. I know that Fox comes to the table with a point of view, and I can take that into account. I wish most news organizations would drop the pretense of objectivity and just reveal their biases up front--and everyone has biases.

Conservation and conservative are not mutually exclusive. I am interested in conserving my income as well as the environment in which I live--thus my interest in EVs. EVs will become mainstream when they become economically advantageous. I believe EVs will reach that point sometime in the next two years or so if the tax credits remain in place and battery units prove to be resilient and trouble-free.

I am curious about the California tax credit. What stops individuals from buying an EV in California and immediately selling it in another state for a tidy profit?

· · 3 years ago

Dairyman, I don't think I was bashing Fox News... although I do like to do that, for sure. I also like to bash MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS and even CNN. Every rare time I turn one of those channels on (or am forced to listen to it while captive in a restaurant, office, bar or airport) I find myself compelled to immediately turn it off (or pop on my headphones) for lack of any tangible, thoughtful, or truly insightful content.

The way I view my comment about Fox News is through the lens of reality. It was merely a comparison. As you yourself say, "Fox comes to the table with a point of view." That only reinforces my statement of disgust that some people actually believe Fox is "fair and balanced"—Fox's motto. You know it's not too, so how is what I said bashing? The sad thing is there are people who do actually believe Fox News is "fair and balanced" which is why it's not surprising that someone would think my comparo of the LEAF and the Focus was over-the-top glowing, or some other B.S.

I never said anything about conservatives and their like or dislike for conservation. Your assumptions seem to indicate that because I don't like Fox News I think conservatives are enemies of the environment. That's quite a stretch from point A to point B. What I don't like is that there are conservatives who think that Fox News is telling them the truth—it's not that I don't like conservatives. In fact, EVs and EV infrastructure are some of the most heavily bipartisan supported issues we have right now. Right up there with praying for world peace.

As for your question about the CA tax credit, I'm not a CA resident, and I'm not sure what kind of contractual obligations the state has built into the rebate system. I would guess that there is a mechanism. Perhaps one of our California forum members can address that?

· Bad Rabbit (not verified) · 3 years ago

@Matthew Landry - So if I "only" pay $6,000 a year in federal taxes then I am eligible for only a $6,000 tax credit and not the full $7,500?

· · 3 years ago

@Bad Rabbit, As the tax credit is currently structured the answer is "yes". There is a proposal before Congress that would make it a rebate at the time of purchase, but it seems unlikely to pass in the current political environment.
http://www.plugincars.com/much-needed-electric-vehicle-tax-credit-reform...

· · 3 years ago

@Dairyman "I know that Fox comes to the table with a point of view, and I can take that into account."

LOL. They are a prominent player in politics - taking sides and influencing public opinion that suits their political buddies/masters. As they have said to courts, they don't think it is a crime for the media to lie.

"We report, you decide". Oh, sure.

· · 3 years ago

@Dairyman "I am curious about the California tax credit. What stops individuals from buying an EV in California and immediately selling it in another state for a tidy profit?"

CA law prohibits this. Anyone who receives the $5K rebate should pay back the proportionate amount of money if they sell it before 3 years. Should be easy to check based on yearly registration.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

Nick Chambers biased comment, "But, then again, some people think Fox News actually is "fair and balanced," so your claim is not all that surprising" begs the question whether he was objective enough to watch Fox News. NIck the scientific method posits the fact that one cannot draw conclusions without vaild experimentation.

Mercedes Hernandez

· · 3 years ago

Mercedes (Anonymous), what are you talking about? I'm not sure you make much sense without more explanation. In lieu of actually knowing what you're trying to get at, I believe all you need to do is read the comments just a few lines above this one to have your questions answered.

· JJ (not verified) · 3 years ago

Thanks for the detailed article Nick.

EVNow explained about the cold climat concerns that I have.

I'm weary of a cooling system because from my experience with ICE vehicles,
it will be one more thing to leak (coolant leak, tranny leaks, oil leaks) and for my vehicle to spend time in the shop trying to find the leak and going back multiple times to find the leak and keep fixing the leak. I look forward to maintenance free EV's especially a small work van like the transit connect.

I can't stand wasting time in the garage and going back and back and they can't find the problem and then on the road break downs.

I hope to hear about the transit connect work van someday when there is news on that.

I need long range because with service calls, I never know how far I'll be going in a day.

· JJ (not verified) · 3 years ago

Me again, the 2 cars look so similar except for the front grill on the Focus and the shorter hood on the Leaf but Nick reports there's more room in the back and the trunk.

From thinking about it, the Focus will need a pump and a radiator to circulate and cool the coolant.
From my experience, the cooling pump will leak or break, and the rad will leak and coolant will leak in the battery pack and mess up the battery. I know I'm cynical but it's based on repairs of my currant and previous ICE vehicles.

So my vote is with the Leaf at this point.
The less that can break, the better.

· Michael (not verified) · 3 years ago

I think the lack of 6.6 kW charging for the Leaf is a major disadvantage compared to the Focus. While the Leaf can fast charge, it shortens battery life, and it means you are going to have to find a fast charger and wait around while it is charging. With the Focus, you can run some errands in the morning, plug it back in, and by afternoon, it is fully charged again for a night on the town. Also if employers put in charging stations, employees can have fully charged cars by the time they leave, or even by lunch time for that matter. The Focus just sounds a lot more practical to me.

· · 3 years ago

@Michael, The lack of 6.6 kW charging is a disadvantage for the current model Leaf. But I'd be very surprised if the 2012 model Leaf doesn't have it. And that would be more comparable to the 2012 model Focus EV due out this Fall.

Of more concern to me is cold weather range. I'm hoping that the next model Leaf has some sort of cold weather package, as has been rumored. I have similar concerns as JJ does about the Focus EV battery cooling system. I'll be interested to learn how it really works and if it seems to be reliable.

· brian bee (not verified) · 3 years ago

Just a few questions from a red neck, Can the Leaf plug in to an emergency mobile gas generator that's being pulled behind? Will it run on this, like a Chevy Volt? And How much (on average) does it cost to fully charge a depleted battery?

· · 3 years ago

@brian bee,
Today, you'd have to pull over and stop in order to fill up your Leaf using a generator since it can't charge while driving :-( I, for one, hope that future EVs will have a feature to enable them to charge from a generator on a trailer towed behind. That would make the Leaf a good vacation car with a trailer to carry extra gear as well as to extend the range.
The Leaf takes about 25 kWhr from the grid to fully charge for ~100 miles of range. At $0.10 national average cost per kWhr, that would cost you about $2.50 per 100 miles or 2.5 cents per mile.

· Michael (not verified) · 3 years ago

@ ex-EV1 Driver,
" I, for one, hope that future EVs will have a feature to enable them to charge from a generator on a trailer towed behind. That would make the Leaf a good vacation car with a trailer to carry extra gear as well as to extend the range."

You know what kills this idea? Legal liability. The automakers are unlikely to encourage this, because there are too many sue happy people in this country, who will get themselves into trouble towing, and then sue the auto companies for their own driving mistakes. Also the car would have to be beefed up for towing, which would add weight and cost (heavier frame, bigger brakes, etc.).

· · 3 years ago

@Michael,
Sadly, I agree with you. The car companies also want to force you to buy a big, high-margin, gas guzzling SUV or pickup for towing.
Beefing up the car to handle a light trailer shouldn't be a problem but the liability one could be a death blow.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

There are areas where adding public charging just does not seem worth while. The city I live in most people drive few enough miles that day time charging would not make sense. I know the number from the study were over 90% of all drivers would have no problem with only home charging. It was ranked number 3 in the country for EV adoptability by a study. The study took into consideration, public charging, range and driving speeds and whatever else. So why are companies like Nissan and Ford avoiding areas like that with the rollout?

· · 3 years ago

@Anonymous,
Are there people who live further than 30 miles from your area whom business might want to have visit and do trading? Providing a few public chargers would help entice them to come in. Likewise, if there are people who live in apartments, public charging would help them as well.
A reason that Nissan and Ford may be avoiding areas like yours is that EVs are more useful for people who do a lot of driving, not those who don't drive a lot. Folks who don't drive much won't be affected very much by gas prices or consumption and are more affected by vehicle purchase price. As such, it would make sense that early EV rollout is focused on places with high numbers of commuters who drive between about 20 and 30 miles per day.

· · 3 years ago

@Anonymous (not verified) · "So why are companies like Nissan and Ford avoiding areas like that with the rollout?"

Tell me where you live and I'll tell you why you are not in the initial rollout.

Companies are looking for large number of early adopters of new tech. They look at hybrid % for eg. They are also considering the friendliness of local governments. Nissan specifically launched in states that were willing to enter into MOUs.

· rgeniec (not verified) · 3 years ago

FOX IS FAIR AND BALANCED...not the commentary but the news part

· · 3 years ago

@rgeniec (not verified)

When Fox shows "R" Senators caught in a scandal as "(D)" is that news or commentary ?

· JJ - from Canada (not verified) · 3 years ago

I'll pick the Nissan Leaf, I've spent enough time at the Ford dealership's garage.

· curt (not verified) · 3 years ago

I'm close to getting my Leaf (next week maybe). I applaud that Ford is finally taking a toe-dip toward BEV with the Focus. The one thing I will definitely give them the edge on is the InSync system is better than the Leaf's (a bit clunky from what I read, hoping a software update will address those issues).

Anyway, I think Nissan's got it right concerning battery thermal management. It should be an optional thing and not built in. In my case I don't need it in Southern California and I agree with JJ comments not having it simplifies your vehicle and less can go wrong. Complexity and longevity is especially important in my case since I keep 4-wheel vehicles on average of 20 years and 2 wheelers about a decade.

Nissan's got my sale mainly because they were the first to make a viable EV vehicle I could use. Now we have to get that charging infrastructure in place and all will be well.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

The nissan leaf looks better on the outside. I think fords 2011 line up on the exterior looks a little like cars from the late 90s to early 2000s (especially the mustangs front lights)

· Chito Papa (not verified) · 3 years ago

I have a suggestion on how to extend the 100 mile range of both Ford Focus EV and Nissan Leaf,
Load a portable Honda electric generator in the trunk compartment and keep it running to recharge your car batteries. That makes your car a hybrid, doesn't it. Well, you can't have your cake and eat it too.

· · 3 years ago

@Chito Papa, Jokes about a generator in the trunk aside, there are people working on trailers that would carry a generator that could be used for longer trips beyond the EVs nominal range. It is an idea worth pursuing.

· · 3 years ago

@curt (not verified) · "The one thing I will definitely give them the edge on is the InSync system is better than the Leaf's (a bit clunky from what I read, hoping a software update will address those issues)."

From what I can see both Ford Focus & Nissan Leaf are based on Windows Automotive. But Ford uses full features of the Windows Automotive, whereas Leaf uses a lot of old stuff from Clarion ...

· DudLee (not verified) · 3 years ago

I had a Leaf on order. After study of our driving patterns and needs, I cancelled it in July and bought two Prius'. Now I am glad we did. We drive 125 per trip often, and
then return - and wouldnt have a place to charge. We have 10k on both of them, no trouble, and averaging 55mpg with both, and one is driven by our 21 yo son (he paid for his) The 100% electric car will work for alot of people, but with us travelling for work, school, and other business - Im afraid they wont work for us. I build lithium racecar batteries..... I have a friend with an 04 Honda Civic with 200k on it, original battery, and very very few repairs!!! and gets 40mpg without having to use coal fired energy electricity to charge them!

· · 3 years ago

@ DudLee,
Its too bad that Nissan isn't providing a choice of battery packs. One size definitely does not fit all.
A 150 or 200 mile pack might work well for you. but they are only available in the expensive, small Tesla Roadster today. I have a few colleagues in the same position. They badly want to be able to avoid gasoline but really do exceed the range of the Leaf like so many power-drivers do today.
The main hope I see near-term is if fast charging stations proliferate. A 5 or 10 minute recharge to add another 20 or 30 miles of range to a Leaf drive might make it work if that isn't your daily requirement.
The coal fired electricity isn't really a problem. The evils of coal are pretty much offset by the great efficiency of the electric motor - or you can put solar panels on you roof and avoid fossil fuels altogether.

· · 3 years ago

@dpcolorado,

"@Chito Papa, Jokes about a generator in the trunk aside, there are people working on trailers that would carry a generator that could be used for longer trips beyond the EVs nominal range. It is an idea worth pursuing."

None of the cars is rated for towing, and towing could void the warranty depending on the warranty item claimed.

No need for this anyway. The Chevy Volt comes with a generator built-in (put it in Mountain mode).

· Antonio (not verified) · 3 years ago

Instead of waiting, go check out the Think City, available now.

www.thinkev-usa.com

· · 3 years ago

The driving coach on the Focus is appealing. I like the Regenerative Braking display, so you can maximize energy recovery.

The liquid cooled/heated batteries on the Focus seem like a good feature for anyone using the car in hot and cold environments. I was a bit surprised Nissan didn't do this, since they are already liquid cooling the motor and controller.

· · 3 years ago

Hello Nick.
Your articles are always well thought out and thorough! I have had a reservation in for a Leaf since the first day you could order one and an order placed in November of last year. I am in the number one market in SF bay area and the car was scheduled on my personal account for December, then Jan, then Feb, then Mar, then April, May, then June and now been moved to the end of July. The dealer is just as frustrated as I am. Nissan tells them nothing. They were to receive a group of cars on one of the 6 ships on the water before the Oppama plant got damaged on March 11 but this didn't happen. They finally received a shipment of only two Leafs, They were promised more but it never happened. So far getting the car is impossible! I will have been waiting now for 15 months. Having a Ford Escape Hybrid, I have found Ford to be a great car and would take a Ford electric on general principles since Nissan has continued to lie about availability since early 2010. So I think an article that investigates the reality of what Nissan is really doing versus what the promise would be warranted. Again...your writing skills and detailed articles are outstanding!!! Thanks. Mike

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

i need to know the price my electric bill will increase even a rough estimate would be nice

· · 3 years ago

@Anonymous
How far do you drive?
I've calculated - based on other Leaf owners mile/kwhour - that it costs ~$.03 a mile to drive.

To figure that out I found the following:
-My electricity cost is a little more than $.11 / kwh
-Current Leaf owners are averaging between 3.3 and 4 miles/kwh - averaged to 3.65 miles/kwh

To get $/mile I performed the following: 0.11 / 3.65 = 0.03 $ / mile

Now calculate how many miles you drive a month.
If you drive 700 miles / month then the cost your electricity bill will go up 0.03 * 700 = $21 / month added cost to your electric bill

· · 3 years ago

To expand on my previous post let's calculate the savings over an ICE car

I drive a 2005 prius and average 45 miles/gal. With gas prices at $3.85 / gal I can calculate the cost / mile with: 3.85 / 45 = $0.08 / mile

So the cost to drive an electric car over a prius is 0.03 / 0.08 = 3/8 the cost! Double that or 3/16 if my car averaged 22 miles / gal - That's huge!

If I drive 700 miles / month in my prius the gas bill is 0.08 * 700 = $56 / month. So i'll save $35 a month or $420 a year.

If my car was getting 22 miles / gal this jumps to 0.175 * 700 = 122.5 / month. So i'd save $101.5 / month or $1218 a year!

· · 3 years ago

@ Anonymous
You can expect it to go up about ~2.5 to 5 cents for every mile you drive. It all depends on how you drive and how much you pay for electricity.

· · 3 years ago

@Travesty "Current Leaf owners are averaging between 3.3 and 4 miles/kwh - averaged to 3.65 miles/kwh"

I think most people are closer to 3.3 (or lower) than 4 m/kwh.

Cost of driving = MilesDriven * Rate * 3.3

In my case, the marginal rate is about 11 cents/kwh. So, I have to spend about 3.4 cents / mile - or as someone pointed out about 67 cents / gallon equivalent when compared to a 20 mpg gas car.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

They both sound good but I need a car soon! I think I'll get a leaf and then give it to my little sister and get the focus electric when I comes out!

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

On the "generator in the trunk" idea

Leaf takes 20 hours to charge at 110v, for a range of ~100m.
You could drive the 100m in two hours, then you'd have another 18 waiting for the generator to do its thing.

Or perhaps you get a fancy 240v generator on a trailer. 7 hours to charge. Still 5 hours in the truck stop for every 2 hours of driving.

· · 3 years ago

@Anonymous,
Why go with a small 3.3 kW generator (240 volts X 14 amps) just because Nissan myopically only built the Leaf to charge at that rate on AC. If you put a 20 kW generator (240 volts X 83 amps), you'll never have to stop at all.

· Ron Wagner (not verified) · 3 years ago

Will the Leaf and E. Focus be able to pull a small trailer for a generator? How large and heavy would such a generator be? What would be the estimated mpg equivalent loss? Would 220 be a lot heavier? I think the trailer would be most of the added weight. A nice looking rig should not be hard to design and make. It could be a nice after market item for entrepreneurs. It could also offer more storage space.

The generator would be nifty for long trips. We only make about 10 to 20 a year, like most families. It would be great if you could rent them when needed, or add an auxiliary battery pack. What do you think?

· · 3 years ago

@Ron Wagner, There has been some discussion of charging trailers for the occasional long trip. One model proposed was thought to be in the $15,000 range, IIRC. If so, that's a lot to pay for something not used very much. Renting such a trailer would seem more practical. For that matter, just renting a conventional ICE or hybrid car for long trips would likely be the cheapest solution of all.

One complication is that the current EVs do not permit charging while in motion. But that could probably be changed with some relatively minor modifications.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

I just got an e-mail from St Claire Nissan (Toronto) that Nissan Canada was still going to Lease it's batteries. That was on top of it's $39,000 purchase price !

· · 2 years ago

Anonymous:
St Claire Nissan cannot lease part of a car and sell the rest. Nissan wouldn't allow it. Nissan isn't offering a battery leasing plan, you can buy or lease the whole car, but not just the battery pack. In Canada the list price for a LEAF SV is $38,395 and a LEAF SL is $39,995. There is no battery leasing option so either the dealership that sent you the email is grossly confused or you misunderstood the email.

· · 2 years ago

buy a Nissan LEAF is OK, never wait

· rwkclark (not verified) · 2 years ago

I would like a leaf

· Brian (not verified) · 2 years ago

For many of this, it is "wait for a Nissan Leaf, or wait for a Focus EV". I got tired of waiting, and put the money I was saving into a PV system. This way I can reap the benefits now, and it will spill over to any EV I purchase in the future. The down side is now I need to save up for another year or two to afford to buy a new car...who knows what will be available here in Syracuse, NY at that time. Hopefully something, but I've had my hope destroyed before...

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

The Chevrolet Volt has only about 35miles to reach to switch to gas from electric. How many miles can the Ford Focus reach before needing a recharge

· · 2 years ago

@Anonymous, The Ford Focus Electric should have about the same range as a LEAF, which would be 70 to 100 miles, depending on speed.

Ford has been very quiet about the details of the FFE but claims a 23 kWh battery pack, which is similar to the 24kWh pack in the LEAF. If the car has a similar Coefficient of drag and weight, which seems likely, the range should also be similar.

My concern about the FFE is that the silence about the car is making it seem like "vaporware". Perhaps we will know more in a few months.

· cmooreNC (not verified) · 2 years ago

Well, I've had a Leaf on "order" since the second day I could reserve one, I think --- back in April of 2010. The waiting continues. I guess our problem is the fact that we live in North Carolina, but we'd really like to get our new car! Our home charging dock is being installed in our garage (thanks to a good deal through Duke Energy) on October 28th, but at the moment our "delivery date" is still not until December. If it takes any longer than that, we may give up!

· troy nall (not verified) · 2 years ago

i want a enclosed vehicle that runs off of electricity.
it needs to have a a round trip range of 50 miles.
i would be happy with 45 mph top speed.
i DONT need to AC, heater, NAV system or even a radio.
i do want wipers and lights if I need to get home.
i want to be able to charge it with 120 or 220 volts.
i want hydraulic brakes as well.
i am looking for to carry myself + 20 lbs.(210 lbs Total)
my credit is crap. below 600.
I have 5000 cash. what vehicle can i get myself into ?
financing available ?

· · 2 years ago

@troy nall,
I'd look at used EVs now. You might try http://www.evfinder.com/ or ebay. There are likely to be 1990's EVs that are fairly cheap now because of the selection of higher performance ones such as the Volt and Leaf. Don't forget that you might have to put in new batteries so leave a few thousand dollars for that.

· Scott (not verified) · 2 years ago

I am scheduled to purchase a Leaf in early 2012. I drive a total of approx. 55 miles (45 highway miles) each day M-F. I understand the Leaf will not charge via a generator while running but if my work won't allow me to plug in and charge I am considering charging it up w/a generator in the trunk... any thoughts?

Thanks!

· · 2 years ago

@Scott

55 Miles is easy with Leaf (or FFE). Really no need to do something drastic like charge via generator in the trunc. Besides being a fire hazard - what will you do with all the exhaust smoke ?

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

Well, the mystery is over... You can "build" your Focus E.V. now, and the cheapest model comes in at $39,995 in my zip-code or a $750+ per month lease. Game over, my choice is clear. I am picking up my new Leaf this wednesday! I like that the interior capacity is superior, and it is a purpose built e.v., not a retrofit, afterthought, catch-up car. Many happy technological advances ahead for us all!
-JS

· Marceli Firlej (not verified) · 2 years ago

It is great future for anyone to use electric car and charge it from inhouse electric plant. Solar energy is now profitable for anyone ... After few years those cars will get $20,000 mark.

· Jeff Carlon (not verified) · 2 years ago

Does the 3.3 vs 6.6 kW charger difference have an influence on trickle Level 1 charge times? This would be a big consideration for me, though it boils more down to going ahead with my ordered 2012 Leaf, or waiting for Nissan to upgrade.

· · 2 years ago

@Jeff Carlon, No, a faster charger on the LEAF should have no effect on the 120 Volt "trickle" charge time. 120 V charging is limited by the car charger to 12 Amps, because 120 V circuits have 15 Amp breakers and the continuous safe draw is 80% of the maximum.

In addition to being slow, 120 Volt charging is less efficient, about 75%, than 240 Volt, 16 Amp charging, about 85%. It is likely that 240 Volt, 32 Amp charging would be even more efficient.

Some numbers, the efficiency values are approximate:
120 V x 12 A = 1.44 kW "at the wall"
1.44 kW x .75 = 1.08 kW to the battery

240 V x 16 A = 3.84 kW "at the wall"
3.84 kW x .85 = 3.26 kW to the battery (i.e. "3.3 kW" charging)

240 V x 32 A = 7.68 kW "at the wall"
if this was 86% efficient it would deliver 6.6 kW to the battery

Whether or not Nissan will put a faster charger on the 2013 LEAF remains to be seen.

· · 2 years ago

@Jeff

At 120v (15amps), you're looking at 1700w (about) max power going into the car - so no, the Leaf and Focus would have the same (very slow) recharge time on a level 1 charger. The limit in that case is the incoming circuit wiring, not the charger on board.

Level 2 is 240v, but different amperage ratings. With the only 15amps you can only get twice the power (3.3kw), so the limit is STILL the external wiring/EVSE. But, as is common (and the case in MY garage), the circuit is 30 or 50 amps, which then gives me 6.6kw (at 30) or over 10kw on a 50 amp circuit, in which case you can charge faster with the Focus.

Incidentally, I am looking at the Mitsubishi i as a viable alternative to these two because the fueling costs are lower and recharge times are comparable - not because of a faster charger (I think it's still a 3.3kw charger), but because the pack itself is smaller, so it can charge in 65% the time of the LEAF on a level 2, but still give 80% the range (the reason is that 115MPGe on the i vs. the 99MPGe on the LEAF). If you don't need that extra powerful LEAF motor (80kw) (which my wife does say is quite fun!, she just test drove one today), or the 5th seat, the i is a very nice option. If you're going to need a 2nd car anyway (or rent a gasser/hybrid for bigger parties / longer rides), then it's a more economical option as well.

New to EVs? Start here

  1. What Is An Electric Car?
    Before we get going, let's establish basic definitions.
  2. A Quick Guide to Plug-in Hybrids
    Some plug-in cars have back-up engines to extend driving range.
  3. Electric Cars Pros and Cons
    EVs are a great solution for most people. But not everybody.
  4. Eight Rules of Electric Vehicle Charging Etiquette
    Thou shalt charge only when necessary. And other rules to live by.
  5. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
    A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
  6. Eight Factors Determining Total Cost of Ownership of an Electric Car
    EVs get bad rap as expensive. Until you look at TCO.
  7. Federal and Local Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
    Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
  8. Guide to Buying First Home EV Charger
    You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.
  9. Electric Car Utility Rate Plans: Top Five Rules
    With the right utility plan, electric fuel can be dirt cheap.
  10. The Ultimate Guide to Electric Car Charging Networks
    If you plan to charge in public, you'll want to sign up for charging network membership (or two).