World's First Nissan LEAF Owner Counters Electric Car Myths, Says Chevy Volt Wasn't a Consideration

By · December 11, 2010

The world's first Nissan LEAF owner, Olivier Chalouhi (right), gets into his brand new Nissan LEAF for the first time with Nissan's North American President, Carlos Tavares (left).

The world's first Nissan LEAF owner, Olivier Chalouhi (right), gets into his brand new Nissan LEAF for the first time with Nissan's North American President, Carlos Tavares (left).

This morning, December 11, 2010, the absolute first consumer-ready example of the world's first mass-market, globally distributed, and relatively affordable 100% electric car was delivered into the hands of its first customer at a Nissan dealership outside of San Francisco, California, and PluginCars.com was there to mark the occasion. Given the relative obscurity, misunderstanding, and, sometimes, outright hostility that electric vehicles have lived under for much of the last 100 years, there are a great many who never thought this day would come.

This first delivery marks the end of an era of punditry and tongue-wagging that the coming wave of modern electric vehicles have increasingly seen over the last three years, and the beginning of a new era where actual consumers evaluate them and share their stories. It is likely that by the end of 2011 Nissan will have made more consumer-available OEM electric cars than have been made in the last 90 years. "This is a very big day," said Marc Geller, an electric vehicle advocate and founding member of Plug In America in an interview with PluginCars.com. "This is basically the first time a car company is selling mass market electric cars—and they are selling them without special conditions."

In what Nissan representatives call a "democratic" process—one which they seem to be altogether proud of—the gentleman to whom the absolute first Nissan LEAF was delivered is not an A-List celebrity (or even a B-, C- or D-Lister). Rather he is a quite normal tech industry employee from Redwood City, California, who just by the luck of the draw, happened to be the first person to get his LEAF order in when the opportunity opened up back in August.

And so, just by the luck of the draw, there are several things about the first LEAF customer, Olivier Chalouhi, that break some of the common misconceptions electric cars have often been associated with. Saying, "I think that there's too much attention on me" and that Nissan deserves most of the credit for this day, Chalouhi showed quite a bit of modesty on a day when he was the center of attention of much of the automotive world media.


Top: Proud owner, Olivier Chalouhi, sits in his new Nissan LEAF for the first time and shows off his set of keys.
Bottom: Olivier Chalouhi and Carlos Tavares, Nissan's North American President, stand in front of the Nissan LEAF talking about the lack of an engine and what it means.

So what makes Chalouhi an interesting case for being the first customer ever? For one, he is not a homeowner. No, he doesn't live in an apartment building, but he does rent a house and has gotten permission from his landlord to install what's called a "Level 2," 240 Volt charging station. In addition, although he is installing a Level 2 charger from AeroVironment, Nissan's official contractor for the faster chargers, it was a last minute decision—and instead of having AeroVironment do the installation for more than $2,200, Chalouhi bought the charging unit for $750 and then had his own electrician install it for a total cost of around $1,300.

The reason Chalouhi waited to so long to install the Level 2 station? Originally he was planning on just charging from a standard three-prong, 110 Volt wall outlet saying, he "[doesn't] really need [a Level 2] station" because he only drives 20 miles a day on his commute and his wife has a Honda Fit in case he needs to go farther than the LEAF can provide on any given day so a standard wall outlet would provide a quick enough charge for him. At the first delivery event, Chalouhi said that he was only purchasing the Level 2 charger now because he wanted to take advantage of charging station tax credits that may expire at the end of the year and he felt it would be nice to have a bit more "convenience."

Additionally, although Chalouhi lives in the San Francisco Bay Area—one of the most electric-vehicle-open-minded-communities in the world—the region is not part of the EV Project, which will oversee the installation of 15,000 public electric vehicle chargers during the next year. So, although San Francisco will see many public charging stations installed with the help of local and state funds, it will not be even close to the level that the EV Project regions will see.

One major misconception people commonly have is that large amounts of intricate charging infrastructure are required for EVs to be successful, but in Olivier Chalouhi we see that is clearly not the case and that electric cars can be acceptable even without Level 2 stations at home and all over your town.

As for whether or not Chalouhi considered buying a Chevy Volt as well, he was quick to say it wasn't even on his radar. He specifically chose to buy a Nissan LEAF over a Chevy Volt for several reasons: one, he was put off by the fact that Chevy dealers were given the ability to charge whatever price they wanted for the Volt, raising the price of an already expensive vehicle by as much as $20,000 or more; two, he felt the Volt was "really expensive" to begin with and out of the reach of the average customer that wanted to outright own the vehicle and not lease it; and, three, the Volt is not a "pure" electric model.

In the Nissan LEAF Chalouhi found that the buying process was more customer balanced, giving the customer the right to choose what dealer he or she wanted to go to based on what price that dealer was offering. North Bay Nissan of Petaluma, California—the dealership Chalouhi settled on, has been very active in the community of early EV adopters and has promised to provide good deals at or below MSRP to the first LEAF customers in the Bay Area. "We thought this was a great product and something really special, so we didn't want to let dollars get in the way of that," said Ben Hannah, General Sales Manager at North Bay Nissan. Indeed, the strategy seems to be paying off with the incredible amount of coverage the dealership has gotten as a result of putting the customer first.

So, while today's events are in the history books, we here at PluginCars.com were happy to be a part of it all and there's lots more content coming from the day so look for it to hit the site over the next few days.

Comments

· · 3 years ago

That LEAF looks really good in black! I'm really happy for Olivier. He seems a bit overwhelmed by the whole event. The Nissan video stream didn't work of course, so I wasn't able to see the event. Good coverage.

· Schnute (not verified) · 3 years ago

Nice story. Can't wait to get our LEAF! :o)

· · 3 years ago

Ten years ago, things looked really bleak. Five years ago even bleaker. And now... finally, the dike is leaking and there aren't enough fingers to plug the holes. It is finally, really happening. Pretty awesome.

· · 3 years ago

The way the American automakers have lied to the American people about electric cars over the last century and especially the last decade. The American people should show their gratitude and only buy Nissan from now on. How can the American people ever trust the American automakers again??? A century of lies is hard to put behind you.

As far as "Jim1961" goes...you are just pathetic.

· Jim1961 (not verified) · 3 years ago

James Davis,

You might be surprised to learn I have a lot of respect for the Japanese. They don't buy cars from the US, Europe, or South Korea. Some people say that's because the Japanese government uses protective tariffs against foreign automakers. That may be true but I believe the Japanese people are more loyal and patriotic than the average American.

Your assertion that American car companies lied about electric cars is ridiculous. Perhaps you saw the film, Who Killed the Electric Car? In that film ALL of the big seven auto makers were steadfastly against the ZEV mandate including Nissan, Honda, and Toyota. No automaker anywhere in world could profitably mass produce an electric car with the battery technology of the mid 1990s. Why put all the blame on America unless you are just prone to being an America hater? The first company to produce an electric car capable of highway speeds was Tesla Motors, an American company. Some people say Tesla proved the big car companies wrong. I say Tesla proved them right. The Tesla is NOT mass produced and it costs $109,000.

· Jim1961 (not verified) · 3 years ago

As an electrical engineer I'd like to dispel a myth brought up by James Davis. Myth: The technology for electric cars has been around for 100 years and electric cars are quite simple. The motors used in those old electric cars used brushes and were not too efficient. The newer motors are much more efficient and brushless. These new electric motors are only possible because of recent advances in power electronics (insulated gate transistors) and high energy permanent magnets. The electric motor technology is only half the story. Very significant technological advances are being made in batteries. Batteries are the heart of the electric vehicle. Lithium-ion battery technology has been advancing over the past decade because of laptop computers and cell phones.

Electric cars using old technology were slow, heavy, and had very limited range. Jay Leno has one of those old-timey electric cars in his car collection. It has a top speed of 22 MPH.

· · 3 years ago

@Jim1961, however the Gen II EV-1 from the late 1990's ago featured an Ovonics NiMH battery rated at 26.4 kWh. The car had a 3-phase AC induction electric motor, a 100 to 140 mile range, top speed of 80mpg (electronically controlled). The bigger question is where would we be today had we continued to develop the EV technology from the late 1990's?

· · 3 years ago

Jim1961, I should warn you that what you say in your first comment is quite offensive and on the border of being out of line for the PluginCars.com forum. As an author on this site, and comment moderator, I encourage people have their opinions and I love the debates we have, but when they stray into being that offensive it becomes a question of whether or not I should delete the comments. And I'm not talking about your opinion that Nissan is un-American... I'm talking about your use of the word "Jap." You may think it's acceptable to use that term because of the context of your comment, but it's not. Not in today's modern world where the rest of us have moved past this characterization and realize that almost everybody who was alive during that time and remembers it is now dead and the Japanese are no longer our enemy.

Things change. Your comment indicates you have a tendency to hold grudges, a streak towards bigotry and an inability to forgive... those qualities feel rather un-American in my opinion. It seems silly to say the LEAF is un-American when Nissan employs multiple tens of thousands of people in and around the US, with the majority of them in the heartland at their Tennessee headquarters. It seems silly to say the LEAF is un-American when Nissan is building a $2 billion battery plant in Tennessee and will start making 100,000 LEAFs and batteries per year right here in the U.S. starting in 2012.

Every vehicle made today is made with components from around the planet, incorporating raw materials and basic parts produced in almost every corner of the world. Every major auto manufacturer is a multinational mega-corporation, and to actually think they are more supportive or more representative of one country or another is to fool yourself. If anything, you can only judge a company based on its actions these days and not on where it is physically located. Using that logic, Nissan would be the MOST American auto company because they are doing far more than any other company to help ween us off our oil habit and become more energy secure as well as stop meddling in the Middle East to secure our oil.

Some of our forum members were IN the film "Who Killed the Electric Car?"... they didn't just see it, they LIVED through it. Many of our forum members have been driving electric cars since those dark days when the electric car was killed. There's plenty of high quality experience to go around here, experience you shouldn't be so quick to pass off.

As for your dispelling of James's myth: All cars in the 1910's and 1920's had low top speeds. Jay Leno's one example doesn't do justice to the huge variety of EVs that were available from about 1910-1930. Many of them could go 40 mph, just like the gas cars of the day. The Model T could only reach 40 mph. The Toyota RAV4 EV of the CA ZEV days used NiMH batteries, had a 100 mile range and was highway capable (top speed about 80 mph)—and they are still running strong after ~100,000 miles using the same battery packs they were bought with. In fact, almost all the vehicles of the CA ZEV day were highway capable. Tesla was most certainly NOT the first manufacturer to build a highway capable vehicle. There is some truth to what you say, but there's also some truth to what James says. Together you tell the whole story.

Electric cars of the CA ZEV mandate days WERE in demand, but at the time the auto manufacturers were unwilling to spend the resources to develop them further because they didn't see a reason. At the time everything in the world was peachey and the economy was charging ahead so spending the extra money it would have taken to keep that program going seemed silly to them when they could just as easily sell more gas cars. It's not that they couldn't have kept it going or that they would have gone bankrupt doing it... it was just harder than selling gas cars... and it still is. The difference is that now a major manufacturer has chosen to go down this path on their own—under the leadership of Carlos Ghosn, Nissan's first non-Japanese CEO—and is willing to spend the extra money even though it is easier to sell gas cars. Kudos to Nissan for forever changing the face of the auto industry and forcing other manufacturers to do the same for fear of being left behind.

· Jim1961 (not verified) · 3 years ago

I'd like to apologize for using a derogatory word for Japanese people. That was very stupid of me. I'm deeply sorry.

Indyflick. The EV1 was truly an amazing car. It started out using lead-acid batteries and eventually used nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) batteries. NiMH batteries are quite expensive compared to lead-acid batteries. The EV1 was constructed mostly of aluminum to compensate for the extreme weight of lead-acid batteries. Aluminum construction plus NiMH batteries made the EV1 quite expensive. Each EV1 cost approximately $80,000 to produce. If you look at other aluminum intensive production cars (which are relatively rare) such as the Acura NSX, or Lotus Elise/Exige, or Plymouth Prowler you will see these cars are quite expensive. I don't know for sure but I'll have to assume GM did learn some things from the EV1 that were applied in the design of the Chevrolet Volt.

· · 3 years ago

@ Jim1961 -

I am curious how you arrived at your $80,000 per EV1 price. I won't even list the range of costs I've seen for the car (from GM itself, and from industry experts). GM at one time stated that the EV1 program cost them 500M. A couple of years later, the same spokesperson decided that 1B sounded better, so now that has become the accepted number. But what do you include in that price? As you mentioned, the technology is spread out over many cars that followed (the Volt only being the latest in a VERY long line). Just because the other follow-on cars were gasoline, doesn't mean they didn't benefit from the EV1 development (in aero, electric accessories, magnesium seat framds, etc.) Any way you slice it, that development money needs to be amortized over millions of vehilces - not just the few hundred EV1s that were made. What each EV1 cost is almost insignificant since they were all basically hand-made. ANY car made in small quantity and by hand will be expensive. (Imagine how much a Honda Civic would cost if only 1,000 units were made, and all made by hand with newly-developed, unproven technology). The idea is to get into mass production where we can have a valid comparison of development and build costs that are spread more thinly across millions of cars.

· · 3 years ago

Indyflick, thanks for your good comment and question. And Nick - thanks for your great comment and inclusive view.

@Jim1961 -

>> Your assertion that American car companies lied about electric cars is ridiculous. Perhaps you saw the film, Who Killed the Electric Car? In that film ALL of the big seven auto makers were steadfastly against the ZEV mandate including Nissan, Honda, and Toyota.<<

While what you say is true, it is of course not the WHOLE truth. All car makers were not equal in their destruction of the ZEV mandate. I will give you one clear irrefutable bit of evidence. I once leased (closest anybody could come to owning) an EV1. I offered to buy it at least termination. Wrote the check and presented it. I was denied. While working *perfectly* and with very low miles, that car was taken back and crushed. In that same era, I purchased (yes, bought directly from the dealer) a Toyota Rav4EV. That car has been driven every day, and is still parked in my garage doing over 90% of our daily driving chores. Fact of the matter is, GM was dilligently trying to destroy the very mandate that required the cars that they were pretending to be dutifully helping the state with. It was GM that partnered with the feds to sue CA. Yes, the others jumped on board - but GM spearheaded the destruction of the mandate and thus all EV programs across the board.

Pretending for just a moment that ALL car makers were equal in their lying... does that exhonerate the American companies from doing the same?

Oh and yes... I've not only seen WKTEC, I'm in it, and so are my cars. As Nick points out - I'm one of the folks who lived this stuff, not just read aboug it.

>>No automaker anywhere in world could profitably mass produce an electric car with the battery technology of the mid 1990s<<

In the same way that no automaker could profitably produce a car with a catalytic converter? With positive crankcase ventilation? With seatbelts? The auto industry told us with each new requirement that they'd be driven out of business. You can only cry wolf for so long. If something needs to happen, the auto industry finds a way. But before they find the way (the American public isn't going to stop buying cars, of course!), the first order of business is to fight *anything* new. It hasn't happened any other way that I've seen!

No new tech is cheap when it starts. And yet somehow those $2000 DVD players can now be purchased for $49. The bleeding edge is expensive. If nobody bleeds, it never gets cheaper. If it never gets cheaper, we stay with what we've got. And nobody can afford that any longer.

· Jim1961 (not verified) · 3 years ago

I'd like to apologize again for acting like a complete ass and making a racist comment. I wish there was some way for me to delete my first comment but I'll let it stand hope my apology will suffice. I do stand by my statement that the Japanese people are more loyal and patriotic than Americans.

@Darelldd

As far as the cost of the EV1 you don't have to take GM's word for it. Look at other cars constructed mainly of aluminum. The Acura NSX, Lotus Elise/Exige, and the Plymouth Prowler are three aluminum chassis cars I can name off the top of my head. I'll leave to you to look up the MSRPs of these cars. Add the aluminum construction with very expensive NiMH batteries and it only takes simple arithmetic to figure out the EV1 was very expensive to build.

As far as the conspiracy about someone killing the electric car I'll cut and paste a message I sent to someone on another forum regarding the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car?

Before I respond please know that I am 100% in favor of electric cars. I am also 1,000,000% in favor of reducing greenhouse gases and 10,000% in favor of using less oil and other fossil fuels.

A couple of months ago I watched a documentary called Freakonomics. In that film they talked about cheating in the sport of Sumo wrestling. At one point in the film they interviewed a very experienced Sumo wrestler. The Sumo wrestler said that because of his special knowledge of the sport it was easy for him to watch a Sumo wrestling match and know if one wrestler was intentionally losing the match. That is totally understandable but it would be difficult or almost impossible for him to explain to someone like me how to spot cheating as easily as he is able to spot cheating in a Sumo competition.

When I watched Who Killed the Electric Car I felt like that Sumo wrestler. I don't want to sound arrogant but I have special knowledge that allowed me to see a lot of distortions in that film. Allow me to explain my special knowledge. I am very mechanically inclined. I started repairing cars before I was old enough to drive. I took a three hour per day, two year long vocational auto mechanics class in high school. I never worked as a professional auto mechanic but I've done every kind of auto repair possible including complete engine rebuilds. In college I majored in electrical engineering. I graduated with honors from a well respected engineering school. As a design engineer I worked on a product that required batteries. I did research on different types of batteries including lead-acid, nickel-metal-hydride, nickel-cadmium, and lithium-ion. Like the Sumo wrestler who can't teach me to recognize cheating in the sport of Sumo wrestling I probably can't help you to see what I saw in Who Killed the Electric Car. I know with absolute certainty it was limitations in battery technology and high cost that "killed" the electric car.

I do have one question for you which I am really, really puzzled about. In the film ALL of the big seven automakers of this world were steadfastly against the ZEV mandate. NONE of the big seven felt they could profitably mass produce electric cars with the technology available at the time. Not one. Why does GM get all the blame? It's really strange that GM gets all the blame because they absolutely tried the hardest to make a viable electric car at that time. It was the best electric vehicle ever made up to that point but it was just way too expensive to build. Keep in mind the Tesla Roadster costs $109,000.

· · 3 years ago

@Jim1961, "I don't know for sure but I'll have to assume GM did learn some things from the EV1 that were applied in the design of the Chevrolet Volt."

Rick Wagoner, former CEO of GM, was asked in the June 2006 issue of Motor Trend which decision he most regretted as CEO. His response was:
"Axing the EV1 electric-car program and not putting the right resources into hybrids. It didn't affect profitability, but it did affect image."

1) It appears the first lesson learned was axing the EV1 was the most regrettable decision GM made during Wagner's tenure.

2) As a result of the worst decision, they learned they needed to invest in hybrids. So the Volt project was launched.

3) What GM haven't apparently learned, or at least Wagner didn't, is that brand image is tightly coupled with profitability. Anyone from Toyota care to dispute that comment? Anyone?... I didn't think so. :-)

BTW, according to Wagner, the per unit costs of the 2234 EV1's must not have been an issue in the decision to axe the EV1 program. Again, Wagner said axing the program was his "most regrettable decision". He also said it didn't affect profitability. Also everyone knows to reduce automobile costs you need scale that why every OEM wants a world car to sell into the global market.

· Jim1961 (not verified) · 3 years ago

There is a reason cars made of aluminum can't be mass produced. Aluminum can't be spot welded. Steel can be spot welded because it's electrically conductive enough but not too conductive. In other words, when electric current passes through steel it gets hot. Aluminum is a very good electrical conductor. It does not get hot when current passes through it in the same way as steel. Now, some of you might be thinking there must be a way to overcome this. Many, many experienced engineers have tried to crack this nut and all have failed. If you think you know more than them I suggest you patent your idea and you will be quite rich.

· · 3 years ago

@Jim1961, "Aluminum can't be spot welded". Sure it can. Look up the Fronius DeltaSpot aluminium spot welder . I'm sure there are numerous others, they've been around for awhile.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

Yes Toyota sold Rav4 EVs to customers but they only sold the ones they had already produced during the mandate days. They did not produce any additional units after the mandate was dropped. I read somewhere that Toyota sold less than 300 of them. They also sold for about $42,000. I'm happy for those of you rich enough to buy one but most people could not get an auto loan for that amount even if they wanted to.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

Indyflck,

Thanks for the information on this new welding technology. Perhaps we will see mass-produced aluminum cars in the future.

· · 3 years ago

Jim1961 -

Really my cost question was on the hard number that you presented. I just wondered where you heard it, and why you were confident enough in it to post it as fact. Looking up the cost of other expensive cars doesn't tell us how much the EV1 units cost to build.

Of course the EV1 was expensive to build. Just as I said - so would be a Honda Civic in those numbers with new technology. I think we can move away from the aluminum body parts though. GM made all kinds of crazy, expensive decisions that increased the cost beyond all reason at a benefit of almost unmeasurable results. The program was a shot at the moon. A follow-on model could have cut costs tremendously! How much did the first few Leaf's cost to build? The Volts? HUGE. Way beyond what the first production cars cost to build, and those will be way beyond what the second wave of production cars will cost to build. Blaming the cost of a prototype on the assumed high cost of a real production car is a bit off the mark. Nobody doubts that the initial EV1 would be almost impossible to mass produce at a reasonable cost. But take that first model as a prototype, and great things could have come from it. After spending all that money to make those Al-bodied wonders... then they spent thousands of dollars (for each vehicle) to have it crushed. Which money was better spent, I wonder? And did the crost of crushing get rolled into their cost of the car?

As for GM getting the blame, did I not explain that in my earlier long post? GM was the spearhead. GM was the most vocal. GM wouldn't bend a bit on their close-end leases (in comparison, Honda let the lease-holders keep the cars on a month-by-month basis until the cars needed major repairs. Toyota allowed lease extensions, buy-outs after the lease and eventually even out-right purchases like mine. Ford allowed their electric pickups to be purchased after we staged a rally that made 'em look bad (see in WKTEC... with me standing there!) It was GM that got with the Feds to sue CA. The others jumped onboard when it was convenient. GM led the charge. GM simply appeared to enjoy the process of destroying its EV program.

No other car company openly scorned EVs while they were still "trying" to place them on the road under the ZEV mandate. That the EV1 program ever saw the light of day is astonishing. The plug was almost pulled so many times that it would make your head spin. But it did see the light of day... and when CARB saw what an automaker could do as a first try, the ZEV mandate was born, and GM realized it had created a monster.

Saying that the expense and batteries killed the electric car is a bit like saying the expense and limitations of lasers killed the DVD player. But oops. It didn't.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

I wish some moderator person would delete my first comment. I feel really bad about it.

The $80,000 for the EV1 came from a Motor Trend article. Many people make an analogy between mass production of automobiles and consumer electronics. I've worked in both of these industries. It's like comparing apples and elephants. I'd like for everyone to see an automotive assembly line then take a look at a pick and place machine in action. The difference is insanely huge.

One of the problems with the EV1 is that is was totally unique. All of the parts were custom made. It would have been very expensive to supply replacement parts for repair of an EV1. By law auto manufacturers must supply replacement parts for 10 years after the last sale of a production model. The other car makers based their mandate era EVs on existing gasoline models. This meant replacement parts were not going to be prohibitively expensive. Perhaps that's why GM based the Volt on the Chevrolet Cruze.

· Less NOx (not verified) · 3 years ago

Nick, thanks for your comments confirming what I thought I knew, (despite everyone telling me I was wrong), about the RAV4 EV: "The Toyota RAV4 EV of the CA ZEV days used NiMH batteries, had a 100 mile range and was highway capable (top speed about 80 mph)—and they are still running strong after ~100,000 miles using the same battery packs they were bought with." I still see a few of these owned by Edison driving around in So Cal.

What I can't figure out is why is it that Toyota could get about the same range out of a heavy, non-aerodynamic suv w/ NiMH batteries as NIssan is getting over ten years later with a lighter, slicker, small car using Lithium ion batteries? I would have thought that with advances in regenerative braking, less weight, better batteries, newer technology, etc the Leaf would get almost double the range of the RAV4. What am I missing?

· · 3 years ago

>> Yes Toyota sold Rav4 EVs to customers but they only sold the ones they had already produced during the mandate days. They did not produce any additional units after the mandate was dropped.<<

Where does this stuff come from, I wonder? First off, I'm not sure what the point is. All car makers stopped producing EVs when they could. Toyota was no exception. But they allowed us to keep our cars, and they continued to service them through (and in most cases beyond) the warranty period. GM was the only maker to insist on all the cars coming back to be crushed. Toyota DID produce additional units after the mandate was stopped - if only to fulfill all the orders that were backlogged. This is the reason we have some 2003 model year units when the program was halted in 2002.

>> I read somewhere that Toyota sold less than 300 of them. They also sold for about $42,000. I'm happy for those of you rich enough to buy one but most people could not get an auto loan for that amount even if they wanted to.<<

What does their cost, and the wealth of the owners have anything to do with the discussion? There are100's of thousands of cars that are too expensive for "most people" made every year. And yet they're built and they're sold. OK for gas cars to be expensive but not electric cars??? Are you curious as to how many Rav4EVs were made? Want to know how many were sold vs. Leased? That data can be easily found if you desire. How many were *made* has very little to do with how many were sold. They were only sold in 2002. They were for lease since from 1997 through 2002. That there was limited production - just like with all EV programs - has nothing to do with their demand nor with their eventual mass production costs. Every EV produced by every car maker had a buyer (or lease holder). And even though there was more demand than product, ever car maker claimed that there was no demand.

- Darell
EVnut.com
.

· · 3 years ago

>> By law auto manufacturers must supply replacement parts for 10 years after the last sale of a production model <<

Incorrect. Please, if you would - show me this law. Anything at all about this law. It doesn't exist. It is used by the auto industry as their excuse. If it were a law, then it has been violated thousands of times. But it isn't a law, so no worries.

AS for the auto/elctronics comparison - no it is not ideal in detail. In the big picture it is relevant.

· · 3 years ago

>> Nick, thanks for your comments confirming what I thought I knew, (despite everyone telling me I was wrong), about the RAV4 EV <<

Everyone? I don't recall me saying you were wrong. What was it you said that's in contention? I have one parked in the garage and could even check if you have any questions about the specs.

· Jim1961 (not verified) · 3 years ago

The whole "demand" thing is really interesting. If you asked people if they wanted flying cars most of them would say yes. When you tell them a flying car would cost a million dollars they would not turn their "demand" into a purchase. California was trying to force manufacturers to make 2% of their cars electric. I'm not going to do the math but thats a lot of cars. Tesla has sold about 1200 Roadsters. Again, I'm not going to do the math but I'm sure 1200 is nowhere near 2% of automobile sold in California. Tesla could increase their sales dramatically if they lowered the price to around $20,000. They would lose tons of money on each sale if they were forced by mandate to mass produce and SELL that many cars.

· · 3 years ago

I never said or implied that the mandate was a good idea, now that it would work. All I can state with confidence is that there were more willing buyers with money at the ready than there were cars produced. And the EV makers never satisfied that demand before saying that there wasn't enough demand. Did they say the cars were too expensive to make? Nope. They said there wasn't enough demand. We were told the EVs sucked. And look. They must have been right because there aren't any on the roads! Pretty tough to increase demand of these cars by telling the buying public that they suck, yeah?

We'll never know what demand there might have been. We're about to find out what demand we have now though.

· · 3 years ago

the "now" above should be "nor". Oops.

In a hurry... gotta run...

· Jim1961 (not verified) · 3 years ago

One more thing about the idea that mass production lowers the cost of cars. Yes it does but to what extent? Auto manufacturers have decades of experience forecasting what a car will cost to produce in large numbers. If their forecast told them they would lose money at first but eventually make a profit then at least one manufacturer would have gone ahead and did it. If one of the big seven thought they could make an eventual profit back in the 1990s then at least one of them would have done it to make the others look bad. A lot has changed in the last 10-15 years. Lithium-ion batteries have come down in cost due to laptop computers and cell phones and competition among battery makers. The cost of gasoline has gone up. 9/11, the Iraq war and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has many more consumers wanting an electric car. If none of this would have happened you would not see all the big automakers planning on building electric cars today.

· · 3 years ago

While the back-and-forth discussion above has been fascinating, I'd like to sidestep that topic and return to the launch of the Leaf.

Like some others above, my reaction is something along the lines of "its about time!" "This is an exciting development!" I'm very pleased to see the delivery of the first mass market EV and hope to have an EV of my own in a few years when ranges improve or charge stations become available at my intended destination.

Meanwhile, I am going to double my current solar array next spring to prepare for the future EV.

· · 3 years ago

A quick comment on the price and shopping for dealers for the Volt as mentioned in the article.

Price gouging was an initial fear for the Volt but buyers have been able to look around for different dealers and reports of price gouging haven't really surfaced with most people, by far, reporting paying MSRP.

I admit to being a serious GM fan but I think the Leaf is probably one of the best 2-car family commuter options out there. I'm looking forward to seeing all the new EVs coming out in the next year or two.

· · 3 years ago

Jim 1961 -

I'm not sure I've gotten all my mileage out of that "ten year law" yet. I'd sure like to get that one settled since it has been used so often by all car makers (most notably, and first by GM) as a reason that they couldn't be expected to leave the EV1 out in the wild. Have you found the wording of that law yet? Is it state? Federal? How and why would such a law exist? When you were in the auto industry, was that law cited often? It sure was during the destruction of the EV programs. But I hadn't heard of it before that.

You once again, you speak the truth about how car makers would sell a car if somebody saw profit in them. The big missing piece of your puzzle is WHY there is no profit in them for the car makers that are 100% tooled for gasoline engines. If you don't want to build something - for whatever reason - it is pretty easy to come up with an excuse why. Much harder to change the bases of that excuse, and start doing what's best for the consumers. What's best for the car makers is rarely what's best for the consumer. Should we as consumers just be happy to buy what's best for the car makers? Well, it's what we've done so far. I'd like to see that change.

· · 3 years ago

dgpcolorado and Schanie -

Sorry for my part in the digression. I'll try to do better!

· Less NOx (not verified) · 3 years ago

darelldd,

Re: "Everyone? I don't recall me saying you were wrong. What was it you said that's in contention? I have one parked in the garage and could even check if you have any questions about the specs."

It's not all about you. I'm a first time visitor to the site and by "everyone" I meant friends in real life, not posters on the site. I was truly trying to get some insight on my question as I plan to reserve a Leaf once Nissan starts taking orders again. I work almost 40 miles from home so would definitely have "range anxiety" if I had to drive anywhere at lunch. Looks like there are a lot of bright people on this site but some seem more interested in picking fights than explaining the lack of range improvement from the RAV4EV to the Leaf.

But maybe everyone else is as puzzled as me.

· · 3 years ago

@Less NOx: The old RAV4 EV had a somewhat larger battery pack than the LEAF. Actually, the LEAF is doing better in terms of miles per kWh.

That said, I wish Nissan could offer a 150 mile range option on the first gen. LEAF, just as Tesla lets customers pay for more batteries if they need the range. Yes, the extra batteries would add weight and cost, but it'd be worth it for some people.

· · 3 years ago

Sorry, Less NOx - I was definitely confused about who you were aiming the comment at. Contrary to how it appears, I don't normally assume that everything is about me - just that I was fielding the Rav4EV questions in this thread and couldn't figure out who was telling you that you were wrong. And of course now I have no idea if you're also aiming the "fight picking" comment at me, but I'll assume not since not everything is about me...

Fortunately, your question is at least a bit back on track of the thread that I helped drail. And Abasile has answered it quite well. The Leaf is a more efficient vehicle than the Rav. It is also a less expensive vehicle than the Rav. If Nissan wanted to sell the car for $42,000, they could have given it more range. 100 miles is really the sweet spot for these cars today. Load them with 200 miles of battery and people will complain about the cost. Keep them to 50 miles, and people will complain about the range. Something has to give, and 100 miles really turns out to be the most cost-effective range to offer right now. Like every other option, there's no one thing that'll make everybody happy. Would be great if the follow-on cars offered a range of battery sizes (like the Model S is supposed to). Then everybody can choose how much their driving range is worth to them. There's really no puzzle here. We can make cars with lots more than 100 mile range. It just comes down to how much you'd like to spend.

You can buy a Leaf for $30k that'll go 100 miles. You can buy a Roadster for $109k that'll go 240 miles. The Leaf is a way better financial deal than my Rav4 was. I paid $42,000 for the Rav - it has the same range as the $30k Leaf, and less power than the Leaf. The Leaf offers many improvements over the Rav for less money. But range was kept the same on purpose - not because of any technological constraints. One other VERY important aspect to consider is the the Leaf has to use Li-Ion instead of the cheaper NiMH as found in the Rav4EV.

Does that help, or just muddy the waters more?

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

@jim1961

Nissan is un-American, but sending billions of dollars to the Middle East is?

How about refusing to sell the ev1 to customers, crushing the cars and then begging for a taxpayer bailout. Is that American? I guess that is what people like you call a free-market. Right?

How about polluting the air with ICE suv's so that kids get asthma. I bet that is also patriotic.

Ignorant, spoonfed Fox news watchers like yourself need to get a clue. Start thinking for youself instead of being a GOP sheep.

· JRP3 (not verified) · 3 years ago

I don't think NiMH is cheaper than lithium, especially since you can't even buy large format NiMH any longer. Not to mention that LiFePO3 and LiMn is less temperature sensitive, has almost no self discharge, and is lighter than NiMH. The LEAF uses LiMn because it's better than NiMH in all respects.

For jim1961, I'm not sure what type of EE you are if you think electric motors are much more efficient now than in the past. Brushed series DC motors are slightly less efficient than induction or BLDC motors but the controllers that run them are more efficient, so the over all system efficiency is fairly close. Yes modern electronics make motor control much better but the real breakthrough is in the batteries. The NiMH cells really were good enough as the RAV4EV has proven, and the new lithium cells even better, but who knows where we would be now if the EV program of the 90's had continued instead of being killed.

· · 3 years ago

>> I don't think NiMH is cheaper than lithium, especially since you can't even buy large format NiMH any longer. Not to mention that LiFePO3 and LiMn is less temperature sensitive, has almost no self discharge, and is lighter than NiMH. The LEAF uses LiMn because it's better than NiMH in all respects. <<

Well, we'll never know how much large format NiMH really would have cost at this point. The Rav replacements are all done with "reconditioned" packs of course. Maybe they wouldn't be cheaper at this stage of maturity, and maybe not. But certainly the chemistry is mature, and amazingly robust. The fact that it is unobtainable is of course why I mention that the Leaf (and pretty much all other modern EVs) really have no choice but to use something with Li. Which certainly doesn't have the stellar track record of NiMH.

That large format NiMH is unobtainalbe today really makes any guesses and comparisons somewhat irrelevant. I probably shouldn't have even brought it up!

· · 3 years ago

Huge congratulations to all on the first delivery of the revolutionary car!

Hallelujah!!!

· Jim1961 (not verified) · 3 years ago

Did you ever say something stupid and you felt bad but you couldn't take it back? That's the way I feel. All of you seem like really good people. I want you to understand why I get so emotional about these things. My father worked for Chrysler for 27 years. I remember when I first heard someone bad mouthing Chrysler. I was in grade school. It may sound childish but it hurt my feelings (and I was, in fact, a child). Imagine your father is a lawyer. Imagine what it feels like when you hear people say that all lawyers are greedy scumbags. Imagine your father is a used car salesman. Imagine what it feels like when people say used car salesmen are a bunch of dirty crooks. I've been hearing how American car makers are evil my entire life. I've probably heard it or read it thousands of times and that's no exaggeration. Both of my brothers and my nephew worked for Chrysler and my father-in-law worked for GM for 43 years. Less than two miles from my house is a Chrysler assembly plant. It's where my father worked. We moved here (St. Louis) in 1971 because the Chrysler plant my father worked at in Los Angeles had closed. My brother worked at this plant for 30 years then he retired. Over the years this assembly plant had it's ups and downs. When times were tough there would be layoffs and sometimes the plant ran at full steam with 3 shifts and overtime on the weekends. There were two distinct assembly lines. The plant employed tens of thousands of workers at times. It was one of the major employers in the St. Louis area. Two years ago the plant shut down for good. They are in the process of bulldozing the plant right now. And still I constantly hear that American automakers are pure evil.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

In the 1920's, my grandmother had a Baker Electric car.. It used lead acid batteries, had a range of 25 miles and a top speed of about 35 mph.(although, most were not driven that fast). Obviously it used a DC brush motor and a 'stepped' attenuator to control current to the motor. Very simple design and very practicle for someone who wanted to use the vehicle for picking up groceries and run small errands. If big oil had not killed rail and the electric's, think of how advanced EV's would be today. And yes, there was a conspiracy between big oil and the auto manufactures to kill mass transportation and the electrics.

· Samie (not verified) · 3 years ago

Great discussion however, the EV1 fell victim to short-term thinking and short-term profits. Economics of the time killed the EV1 despite the technological barriers that have been commented on. If I was Wagner, I would have done the same thing, to appease shareholders/board of directors by masking GM's restructuring problems with high profit margins (inefficient ICE vehicles and fighting of stricter environmental laws that would reduce short-term profits). GM and others followed the mandate but did not want EVs to become too successful (meaning validating legislators ambitions for new envr. requirements including possible federal standards from CA's mandates).

A lot of blame has been put on the auto-industry for discontinuing electric vehicles in the 1990's but I would also add to this the poor use of government. Government support should have been used to encourage market development of real production cars that let the consumer have the option of buying the vehicle outright and so what if Darell bought his RAV4 EV for 40k plus, at least he had the option as a consumer.

Example that relates to this is when I recently tried to leave a few comments on this site with a touch screen keyboard on a smartphone that I was trying out. I hated the experience (phone had a hefty price) and went back to a phone that has a slide-out keyboard instead. That does not mean in the future I will never use a touch screen phone or touch screens will never improve in user-ability or cost. So the point is we may have seen greater advances in EVs had the auto industry developed a niche market which included the option to buy electric vehicles, as this could have meant greater adoption to EVs by now. Government (United States and Japan) should have jointly encouraged this development without threatening to undermine the general market strategies of the major auto companies of the time.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

Way to stick it to the oil companies!!! I am absolutely loving the fact that there is a car out there that doesn't use a drop of gasoline.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

GM could have had a prius type car 10 years ago, instead they built gas guzzler that broke down (on purpose!) and went bankrupt. Why didn't all the electric car haters bail out GM?

· Less NOx (not verified) · 3 years ago

Thanks darelldd,
the explanation about the range of the Leaf helped a lot. I like your idea of having increased range as options for a cost. Thanks to the Federal and stare (CA) tax credits, the Leaf will actually cost me less than my Prius did 7 years ago. I for one would be willing to pay a little more not to have to sweat it driving home at night, but to others with a shorter commute it would not be an issue.

I heard this morning that the EPA rates the range of the Leaf as only 70 miles. Is this true or some misleading conversion, like the 99 mpg equivalent? I hope the reporter was mistaken-seems like there is so much misinformation out there. I would still buy one and just arrange to have an extension cord and at least 110 volt charge while at work.

· · 3 years ago

Gosh, I have no idea where the official range landed. All I know for certain is that the Leaf will be able to go 100 miles if driven with a modicum of care, and not through 6' snow drifts. My all measures (meaning battery capacity and aero considerations), the Leaf should be capable of more distance than my Rav, and I've gone WAY over 100 miles in the Rav.

Definitely arranging for a charge at work is the answer. Not always possible, but often easier than people think before they attempt to work it out. Good luck!

· · 3 years ago

Les NOx,

Your question about the EPA sticker was discussed in this article:
http://www.plugincars.com/nissan-leaf-finally-gets-official-epa-label-10...

It should answer your question as to why the Leaf has an "official" range of just 73 miles.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

Please stop wasting time and energy debating a closed mind. It's a waste of energy, Jim will always scrape up some way to defend his position that EVs aren't effective and we should just burn oil till it runs out.

· Rich (not verified) · 3 years ago

Two things form the article which really stuck out to me

- The car in the article is one car in a two car household. To me this is the most likely scenario. I would think there would be few single car households where a total EV would work well.

- The landlord of the rental house gave permission for the level II charger installation. I would be really surprised if the landlord/owner didn't give permission. It sounds like the Leaf owner/ tenant is paying for the whole installation and later when the owner is looking for a new tenant or selling the house he could use this as a selling point. The landlord is getting a great deal.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

Jim1961: About your comment that japanese are not buying foreign cars: Why should they buy american cars - american cars are unreliable and have horrible gas milage. With exception of some of the newer Ford models, I don't see any objective reason to buy an american car. Sure, you can buy one subjective reasons (like americans should buy american) - but I wouldn't waste my hard earned money on junk cars that pollute the environment. The Volt is way to expensive (and it was a big fat lie to sell it as EV - it is a [good] hybrid) - but even if I would spend that much money, I would be worried too much about repair cost and stranding on the street since GM cars are not known for reliability. Another thing to consider when buying american: Toyota e.g. builds many cars in the US creating jobs here, Ford on the other hand is importing european cars now that are NOT build in the US and don't create jobs. Get used to it, we live in an INTERNATIONAL world and there is no such thing anymore as a pure american car. Make your decisions based on what gives you the best quality for the money, stop wasting money on 'american things' that are no longer truly american.

· Alan (not verified) · 3 years ago

An interesting discussion. It is interesting to see and hear both sides of a story. The EV1 ultimately was a victim of its own success and the zero emission mandate turned out to be what killed the golden goose. The way GM handled it did them a great diservice. One can only hope that with the leaf we get a car and a zero emissions program which encourages and maintains a sustainable industry - to see todays EV's go the way of the EV1 would be a shame.

I think the comment about Japanese cars buyers buying their own product says more about the sad case of affairs with American Auto manufacturers than with the Japanese being patriotic. Car buyers in Japan do not need to look elsewhere to find a car worth considering - add to that import restrictions - which does not give them as much choice as we have - they will continue to support and buy their home grown product.

That sad case of affairs regarding the American consumer is evident outside of the auto industry anyway - we all buy the cheapest, most affordable items from Asia. What is really sad, is that it has been the arrogance of the US car makers which has turned off the American consumer. Its all well saying 'Buy American', but if you are screwing over your target audience in the process, that goodwill wears thin and after a while we really don't care. All we want is to be treated with respect, have a good, reliable, quality product - serviced by a competent and respectful company. Ford have managed to see the error of their ways and are well on their way back to finding that sweet spot. GM, still have a lot to do.

· Amanda (not verified) · 3 years ago

I like the Nissan LEAF car model. It's have a great shining. car contain features of Airbags which is seat belt, VCD, TCS, Latch system, front side seat high adjustable.

· Russ Finley (not verified) · 3 years ago

I''m a big fan of electric vehicles but don't buy the big conspiracy theory.

"...Electric cars of the CA ZEV mandate days WERE in demand..."

They was not ENOUGH demand. Only 328 RAV4 EVs were sold in 2002.

Electric cars were not feasible until battery technology improved and even now they are barely feasible. $33,000 is a lot of money. I'm hoping they succeed.

For example, the batteries in a 24 kWh Rav4 NiMh pack would weigh about 870 pounds. The batteries in the Leaf's 24 kWh lithium pack weigh 480 pounds. The weight difference is equivalent to carrying two 195 pound passengers everywhere you go.

http://www.smidgeindustriesltd.com/leaf/
http://www.evnut.com/rav_data.htm

Biodiversivist

· · 3 years ago

Russ-

Hey, you sound just like the auto industry.

GM says they could "only sell" 900 EV1's. Can you guess how many were available?
Toyota says they could "only sell" 328 Rav4EVs. Can you guess how many were available?

In the first case, none were for sale, but all ~900 that were made were leased. Some of them leased more than once. In the second case, only ~339 (the correct number) Ravs were made for the retail program, and every one of them was "placed". Truth be told, on ly 101 were "sold" initially. The rest were leased. Toyota stopped taking more orders literally the day after the mandate was crushed. Oh.. .and for how many were sold in 2002? They weren't even for sale for the whole year, so even that stat is skewed. Just as much relevance as saying only 328 Ravs were sold in the past 200 years. They were only for sale for about seven months.... with no advertising to speak of, and from exactly 25 dealerships in the entire country. And when the program ended, there was still a waiting list.

There was no way to really determine demand for the mandate vehicles - but at least having the facts gets us a bit closer to understanding what happened.

So all the makers made a fininte amount. Every one was sold or leased. Every maker left a waiting list. I know - I'm still on them. So how does this demonstrate how much demand there was?

As for weight... So we have 480 pounds of battery. Do we not get to offset any of that weight penalty with the engine, gas tank, exhaust system and transmission that does NOT exist in an EV? And how does this big weight penalty compare to the 6,000-pound Hummers and Escalades running around out there? If weight was a problem, how did those things get sold?

My "infeasable" EV has been our daily driver for over eight years now.

· · 3 years ago

Interesting how the EV1 story just will not die.
I wonder what prevented the manufacturers from pricing the cars at profitable levels. Bad PR, regulations, something else ? I imagine CARB, because I think the verbiage stated 'sales,' but I am in no way certain.

· Ernie (not verified) · 3 years ago

@jim1961:

Yeah? Well 3000 years ago your ancestors slaughtered my ancestors and boiled them in pots to eat! I hate you and wish you would die in a fire!

And Hitler designed the first Volkswagen! Volkswagen must be destroyed!

And only 25 years ago, Saddam Hussein was America's great ally in the middle east!

Annnd.... we could go on forever like this. But your obvious xenophobia (oh, I mean patriotism) will still continue.

· · 3 years ago

Keep in mind, I'm an EV enthusiast as well, with my own electric vehicle.

"..Hey, you sound just like the auto industry..."

Hey, you sound just like a conspiracy theorist.

"...GM says they could "only sell" 900 EV1's. Can you guess how many were available?
Toyota says they could "only sell" 328 Rav4EVs. Can you guess how many were available?..."

The Leaf sold 10,000 in a matter of months when "none" were available.

"...Toyota stopped taking more orders literally the day after the mandate was crushed ..."

As any for profit company would because it had proven to be a money loser.

"...And when the program ended, there was still a waiting list..."

A very small waiting list.

"...There was no way to really determine demand for the mandate vehicles - but at least having the facts gets us a bit closer to understanding what happened..."

And here are the facts; if the car had potential to be profitable they would have captured that profit, like Nissan is trying to do now that battery technology has advanced this far.
.
"...So all the makers made a fininte amount..."

As opposed to an infinite amount??

"...So how does this demonstrate how much demand there was?...'

Right. You tell me. You have no proof there was adequate demand. On the other hand, corporations don't throw profit away. If there were potential to take market and profit from competitors they would have done so, as Nissan is doing so.

"...As for weight... So we have 480 pounds of battery. Do we not get to offset any of that weight penalty ..."

You missed the point entirely. Using NiMh technology the Leaf would have had a huge performance and cost penalty--the energy required to carry the equivalent of two 195 pound passengers at all times. None of the new EVs are using NiMh for that reason.

"...My "infeasable" EV has been our daily driver for over eight years now..."

I never used that quoted word. The car was unprofitable to make. Not that any of this matters. It's water under the bridge now.

· · 3 years ago

Russ -

I'm glad that you are an EV-owning enthusast. And I'm sorry that you're so angry about the ZEV mandate facts.

I'm not going to debate all that with you as it will obviously be a waste of time. I've not implied or mentioned any conspiracy. I just presented the reality of the situation from the ZEV mandate days. I lived it. I experienced every last bit of it from multiple EV leasing and purchasing, to testifying at CARB. To collecting VINS and counting cars. You can massage the reality as much as you like to draw the conclusion you have already formed. If a car maker only makes X number of units, you shouldn't be surprised that the same number is all that they could sell. Trying to use that low number of sales to make any sort of point about how big the demand was is silly at best. It seems you missed that main point. Turning it into a "they didn't make a profit" situation has no bearing on how many units were made or sold. If the cars languished on dealer lots unleased and unsold, you might have a point. But that never happened.

I will take you to task on the last line, since our posts cannot be edited and it is there for you to see.

You say you "never used that quoted word." I can't believe that I'm even debating this, but your phrase was "not feasable" and my quoted word was "infeasable". Trust me when I say that this will be the last time I debate something like this with you! And here is your quote from your first post,

"Electric cars were not feasible until battery technology improved."

My EV was from that period before battery technology improved, which by your definition, makes my eight-year-old daily driver, "infeasabl" - uh... wait... I mean "not feasable." I'm only using your wording and your logic here. Maybe by "not feasable" you meant that it couldn't turn a profit? I have no idea.

Best,
Darell
EVnut.com

· · 3 years ago

Oops. Allow me one more.

>> None of the new EVs are using NiMh for that reason.

Not true. Cost and weight are NOT the reason that modern EVs are not using NiMH. Read up on the patent for the NiMH chemistry and you'll learn the answer - and find out why I can't even buy new NiMH batteries for my Rav4EV.

· · 3 years ago

>> Interesting how the EV1 story just will not die.
I wonder what prevented the manufacturers from pricing the cars at profitable levels. Bad PR, regulations, something else ? I imagine CARB, because I think the verbiage stated 'sales,' but I am in no way certain.
.
Sage.. Which story? The one where "only X number of EV1's couuld be sold" while ignoring the fact that X represents every one that was ever built?

I think just the harsh reality of the cost to build these hand-built cars is what kept them from being priced at anything close to profitable levels. They had to put the cars on the road by mandate. If they only made 1000 units, and they had no plans to amortize the R&D over lots of cars, and they hand-built the things... to make a profit they would have needed to price them at $100,000 or higher? They wouldn't have gotten any on the road, and would then be in violation of the mandate. To me it seems like they grabbed a number out of a hat for the price. Of course the "sales" price didn't matter for a car with a close-end lease. That only wouuld have mattered if there was a way to buy them at the end of the lease for risidual value. Something that GM was not willing to ever consider.

· · 3 years ago

"...And I'm sorry that you're so angry about the ZEV mandate facts...."

Strawman arguments in internet debates are easily nullified by simply pointing them out, darell. I'm not the least bit angry. I'm just entertaining myself. You on the other hand appear quite angry at automakers for not producing a product at a loss.

"...I'm not going to debate all that with you as it will obviously be a waste of time..."

True. There is no greater waste of time than debating conspiracy theorists, be they moon landing deniers or twin tower bombers. They will bury you with unsubstantiated innuendo and logic (that makes no sense whatsoever).

"...I've not implied or mentioned any conspiracy..."

I've never met a conspiracy theorist who has.

"...If a car maker only makes X number of units, you shouldn't be surprised that the same number is all that they could sell..."

No car maker would continue to produce at a loss, a car that only has a few hundred buyers a year, year, after year.

"...Trying to use that low number of sales to make any sort of point about how big the demand was is silly at best..."

That's a nonsensical statement. Lead acid batteries were not and are not economically viable. NiMh was a step closer to viability and lithium just might be on the edge of viability (fingers crossed).

"...It seems you missed that main point. Turning it into a "they didn't make a profit" situation has no bearing on how many units were made or sold...."

Not true, or even rational. The car performance and price needed to cross an acceptable consumer threshold. The Leaf with lithium batteries may be at that threshold. It wouldn't be if it had NiMh batteries (and that's also why it doesn't).

"...If the cars languished on dealer lots unleased and unsold, you might have a point. But that never happened...."

No. The fatal flaw in the conspiracy is that any business will jump at the chance to profit. If the electric cars with NiMh technology were profitable, they would be ubiquitous today.

All cars regardless of model all get sold. It's a matter of how fast they sell and what the profit margin is. As with all of the lead acid battery powered cars that came before the NiMh versions, they cost too much for what you got. If the Leaf cost $50K to profitably produce and sell, it would not be marketable. It may still fail at $33K but I hope not.

"...I will take you to task on the last line, since our posts cannot be edited and it is there for you to see..."

Riiiight. Readers of our debate will decide on their own who is being taken to task here.

"...You say you "never used that quoted word." I can't believe that I'm even debating this, but your phrase was "not feasable" and my quoted word was "infeasable"...."

I pointed out that you put quotes around a word I didn't use. You didn't need to admit it. This is the internet. Any reader can wriggle their index finger over the scroll wheel to verify that you did it.

"...My EV was from that period before battery technology improved, which by your definition, makes my eight-year-old daily driver, "infeasabl" ..."

No. To successfully market a product, like an electric car, the price (and profit margin) and performance curves have to cross some threshold that consumers find acceptable. The Leaf may be crossing that threshold but even the Leaf is not guaranteed to be a success. Your car cost too much for the performance it provides to be mass marketable, and therefore profitable. Remember, using your batteries the Leaf would be carrying a performance penalty equivalent to two 195 pound passengers.

Best

Russ

Biodiversivist.com

· · 3 years ago

"...Not true. Cost and weight are NOT the reason that modern EVs are not using NiMH. Read up on the patent for the NiMH chemistry and you'll learn the answer - and find out why I can't even buy new NiMH batteries for my Rav4EV...."

Not true. The large format batteries were always for sale, were sold, and are still for sale:

http://www.energyconversiondevices.com/battery.php

They were only available in wholesale quantities:

"...large-format NiMH batteries (i.e., 25 amp-hours or more) are commercially viable but that Cobasys would only accept very large orders (more than 10,000) for these batteries...."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_encumbrance_of_large_automotive_NiMH...

That sounds like a lot but each Rav4 EV used 240 of them. If Toyota bought 10,000 cells they could only make 41 cars. About 1500 Rav4 EVs were built, so they must have bought about 36 lots of 10,000 each.

Nobody is using NiMh to power their electric cars for sound engineering and economic reasons. Adding the equivalent of two 195 pound passengers to the Leaf would degrade its range/acceleration, making it just that much less marketable.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

I know folks like to debate the past but I think right now is a time for positives.

The Volt, despite not being cheap ( like Hummers, or upscales ) is within reach of a lot of families and professionals. Being a plugin with shorter but decent base range for many people it will cause their gas use to plummet. The ability to extend range with gas is great. I hope GM is rewarded for finally getting their toes back in the water with a real production vehicle. Even in a plug in hybrid - bravo - very positive development.

I'm in the reservation line for a Leaf. I have an older paid off hybrid ICE which I'll keep for the 6-10 trips a year. The Leaf will do the lions share - all my commuting, shopping, and local drives.

I won't be replacing it's catalytic converter like my ICE. My neighbor just replaced a water pump to find - oops - the problem is really a cracked engine block. No oil changes, radiator flushes, muffler hangers breaking, tail pipes corroding, valves tapping, timing chains breaking, hoses bursting, belts whining, spark plug replacements, oxygen sensor issues, ....

I could go on but like I said this is a time for the positive.

They have pushed my Leaf delivery back to summer and while I'm impatient I am still tickled pink that I'm in line.

The electric car is back baby!

Dave

· · 3 years ago

@ Russ - Funny part is that you don't even understand that I agree with your main point here. I just don't agree with your slippery grasp of the facts or your logic ragarding how we arrived where we are today. That you consider me a conspiracy theorist is comical.

I'll try and be more careful what I put quotes around in the future. That's far more important than intent, of course.

You crack me up, Russ. Go get 'em. I'm done. You win!

· · 3 years ago

@darell,

"...Funny part is that you don't even understand that I agree with your main point here..."

The propensity for so many people to accept without skepticism or critical thought whatever they're told if it's what they want to believe?

I just don't agree with your slippery grasp of the facts or your logic ragarding how we arrived where we are today.

"...That you consider me a conspiracy theorist is comical..."

...says every conspiracy theorist I've ever confronted. If the shoe fits, wear it.

After spending billions on electric cars to test the market, the global car manufacturing community conspired en mass and pissed away a profitable product our of sheer spite?

Car makers would make cars out of little old ladies and babies if it were profitable and if they could get away with it.

"...I'll try and be more careful what I put quotes around in the future. That's far more important than intent, of course...."

By continuing to focus on your one inconsequential misquote are you somehow hoping to prevent readers from reading the above debate?

'...You crack me up, Russ. Go get 'em. I'm done. You win!..."

A) I don't crack you up
B) You didn't cede the argument
C) You are not done

Debates aren't about winning. They are about informing an audience. I would never have bothered with this discussion in private. There would have been no point.

· · 3 years ago

Russ - you clearly are better at my side of the debate than I am. Great effort!

C. I'm definitely done.

· · 3 years ago

Russ as long as I've known you as a commenter (both here and on Gas 2.0), it seems you've had to prove that you're the smartest guy in the room: as a contributor to the cause of EVs I generally think you do a good job presenting arguments but you often come off as somebody who'd rather prove he's right and nitpick unimportant points than somebody who want's to engage in a conversation and provide a concise argument... I'm guessing you know you have that issue and that people who are close to you in your life have told you that and you've taken it to heart. Please take it to heart as a contributor to PIC as well, it will make for better comments sections and more fun debates.

I do have a few things to point out:

-You know as well as anybody else that corporations can't be trusted to do the right thing, even with regards to generating profits. Indeed, all companies do what they believe will generate the most profit, but given that they are run by humans, they don't always make the right decisions. Saying, "if the car had potential to be profitable they would have captured that profit," indicates you think the car manufactures are incapable of making bad decisions. Just because an automaker claims they couldn't make a profit on something doesn't mean it's true. There are many other factors involved in what a car manufacturer considers when deciding to sell a car than simply profit. As I've said before, the car companies certainly could have kept making electric cars since the CA ZEV days, and selling as many as they made at really high prices and it wouldn't have hurt their bottom lines (regardless of battery technology expense). But at the time they had many other external factors at play including wanting to reverse what they deemed as government forcing them to do something they didn't decide themselves. That out of any other consideration, was perhaps the biggest threat to their profitability: not being fully in control of deciding their long-term product strategies. So, rather than continue to build products that would require extra effort and would show that they could keep up with a government mandate, they teamed up to say that they couldn't sell them and force a reversal of that government mandate. That's no conspiracy, it's the reality of how our economy and system of government work: Government sets mandates and corporations do everything they can to tone those mandates down or completely nullify them. A side effect of nullifying the CA ZEV mandate was that manufacturers had to stop making EVs because they had to show the government they weren't viable.

-Clearly Darrell is not a conspiracy theorist... you should get to know people before you start casting generalizations like that. He is one of the few people who was deeply involved in the CA ZEV days and spent incredible amounts of energy trying to even let people keep the EVs the automakers had already built and they had been driving for years. There are several others like him on this site. I'm inclined to trust them more because they actually lived through it. Rather than formulating opinions on what they've read (which ends of being incredibly biased) they formulated their opinions based on direct interaction and experience.

· · 3 years ago

It is Saturday morning, and I'll debate a bit with you Nick.
I would say that mandates exist in the first place, because the public/gov wants something that otherwise would not happen by individual or corporate choice alone. So it is not enough of an explanation to say that corporations simply fought a mandate by virtue of it being a mandate, we must answer why the corps avoided independent action in the first place.

I have to admit that I am not convinced by private individuals who are sure that they knew the financials of mass EV production better than the auto companies themselves. I think we can all agree that no auto company of the day thought EVs are a cash cow, short term profitable, or even middle term profitable.

Does GM have a reasonable expectation of the Volt being profitable over some time period ? To be honest, I doubt it. I suspect that federal monies surrounding the bailout and subsequent Obama green subsidies turned what what first was simply a PR exercise on GM's part into today's deliveries. I fully expect the Volt to die when the subsidies end, if not before then.

Nissan is a different story; I really do think they are making the first real attempt at a profitable EV venture by a large auto corp.

· · 3 years ago

@ sagebrush -

> I would say that mandates exist in the first place, because the public/gov wants something that otherwise would not happen by individual or corporate choice alone.<

I think that's a great way of viewing it. And it really gets us into thinking about the conflict between the wants and needs of the customers (or well-being of the world.... however crazy you want to be with it) and the profits of the companies who make the products.

I have heard people say, "If EVs are so great, then the car companies would be falling all over themselves to make them. Since the car companies don't see a profit in EVs, then obiously EVs aren't such a great product."

Interesting logic, certainly. Many people seem to correlate profitability with "good product." Afterall, if nobody is willing to purchase the product (for whatever reason... including high cost) then the product must not be good enough.

(as an aside: Many people who strive to get the most for their money are willing to donate money to charities, churches, etc. They give money to improve something, to help others - not to recieve product in return. Personally, favorite charity is the environment - and I donate to it with purchases of expensive EVs and solar power and various other expensive, energy-saving items that may not return direct monitary savings)

I think we can agree that customers generally want the product that's best for them, at a price they deem reasonable. Companies generally want to make and sell whatever makes the most profit - so they can pay their imployees and make shareholders happy. These two ideals are often at odds!

So if we assume that we "need" cars, and we realize that the only cars available for purchase are doing us harm at an accelerating pace - we, the customers, might start asking for cars that don't harm us quite as deeply or as fast. But the car companies tell us that these new cars will be WAY too expensive! The customers *think* they want them, but many won't actually write the check because of the extra up-front cost - the only cost that many consider in respect to a car purchase.

Then we get mandates. And lawsuits. It is a complicated animal, certainly! Too many facets to discuss thoroughly.

As for who can come up with the cost of a particular car... that is a tough number to nail down! GM put a price tag on the EV1 program (800M), and held to that price for about five years. After that period, they rounded the number up to 1B, and started using this shiny new, bigger number in all their discussion on the subject. The reason the number is slippery is that it depends so much on how the costs are amortized. There should eventually be a stable "build" cost per unit... but what of all the R&D, initial tooling, training, etc? Do you only spread that across a few cars for the program, thus making the cost of each car super high? Or is it more accurate to spread the expenses across the millions of follow-on cars that use the technology that was invented for the small program? Or better yet - spread it across millions of EVs? I don't think anybody questions the fact that it is VERY expensive to engineer an entirely new car from scratch, and build a few of them. Making a profit in that fashion is simply not possible.

Like you, I question *any* number that I hear for cost - from the car maker who wishes to make a point, and from individuals who want to make a point, and who read a number somewhere.

· · 3 years ago

How quickly we go off-topic :)
Before I delve into your argument, I want to say that I so much resemble your remark about the environment being my main charity! Beyond finding the Prius a terribly interesting machine, I thought it needed early adopters to flourish while petrol prices were low. That car has been my only personal new car purchase, ever. An EV will probably be my second, and then I'll be done.

To your argument, I think it boils down to a defense of government paternalism. Just as corps have to be restrained from only pursuing a profit motive by pollution regulations, you seem to be arguing that individuals do not always act in their best interest and a guiding hand in the form of government is beneficial. I do not discount this idea out of hand, although I have to say that smart government action seems to be easily balanced by government folly, inefficiency, and corruption. For the latter reasons I am more an advocate of taxation to cover externality costs. If people were faced with the *actual* costs of their choices, they would make much better choices.

· · 3 years ago

>> you seem to be arguing that individuals do not always act in their best interest and a guiding hand in the form of government is beneficial. I do not discount this idea out of hand, although I have to say that smart government action seems to be easily balanced by government folly, inefficiency, and corruption. For the latter reasons I am more an advocate of taxation to cover externality costs. If people were faced with the *actual* costs of their choices, they would make much better choices.<<

Well, really I didn't have much of an argument there. Was just thinking out-loud about your comment re. how mandates come about. I'm all for showing people what their "actual costs" are - most definitely! How many drivers realize that the price of gasoline at the pump doesn't come close to covering the cost of getting it there?

I do think that there are just as many issues with taxation as with any other sort of government intervention. The same inefficincies and corruption that you mention all take their slice of the taxation pie as well. Would be lots easier if everybody would at least *consider* the results of their purchases and actions. But we've never found a way to legislate consideration and compassion (or to tax ignorance and stupidity?) :-)

· KenO (not verified) · 3 years ago

Jim1961, you're simply wrong about the "old" EVs.

San Francisco's Toyota RAV4 EVs are driving fine on Highway 101 with zero problems. I rode in one recently in the rain and it performed swimmingly well.

I don't know anything about NiMh batteries and very little about EVs, but I'll tell you that these Toyota EVs are still running. The "electric car problem" has never been technological but political. (Who makes the most money quickest, if you want me to spell it out for you. Check out the movie "The Watchmen.")

Do you recall that the US napalm bombed Vietnamese, firebomed Germans and nuclear bombed Japanese? We're all human in every country and there is no perfect country. There is certainly no reason to be mindlessly patriotic either, even though I'll always strongly prefer to buy the locally/US-made item to help "my" local economy/ community.

We could all do ourselves a favor and bicycle/walk more to lose some fat.

· · 3 years ago

I am a Leaf to be owner sometime very late in 2011. I would encourage everyone here to check out this link for questions regarding range for the Leaf. I believe that someone from this site was the actual driver from this article.

http://www.plugincars.com/nissan-leaf-116-mile-range.html

Myself, I would like to see charging stations (both 240 & the faster charging stations that work in 30 minutes to a full charge) be put into place right now every 80 miles along every major highway in each and every state. The electric car is here to stay and we need to snuff out the "Range Anxiety" people that are out there. Just like there is a gas station every 5 miles or so along the highway, there should be a charging station (preferably powered by a large solar array or a large wind turbine) along the highway as well. Forget about having to build more power plants, do the sensible thing and go green to power green. This may take more green at the front end, but we will be using those solar arrays and wind turbines for decades to come. Put this thought into the Inbox/mailbox/voicemail of each and every elected politican you can contact. Shoot! I would love to have the $$ to put these charging stations up all over Wisconsin and make driving an EV be the norm here. Including the electric delivery van that is coming into the marketplace here soon. Now that is a co-op that I could really embrace. Talk about your money maker. Keep providing us with info regarding your Leaf performance and push the envelope on your off days to see what kind of range you can really get.

· the doctor (not verified) · 3 years ago

HEY ,WHAT WOULD ANYONE SAY IF I TOLD YOU THAT I HAVE A DEVICE THAT CAN BE INSTALLED UNDER THE HOOD OF ANY ELECTRIC CAR THAT WOULD DOUBLE THE DRIVING RANGE BEFORE RECHARGING THE BATTERIES?

· · 3 years ago

@the doctor: The people here would tell you to go see a real doctor. You need to take your vaporware to a site that might fall for it.

· · 3 years ago

HEY, I WOULD SAY IT DOESN'T EXIST. THEN I WOULD ASK WHAT THIS HAS TO DO WITH THIS THREAD. FOLLOWED BY ASKING YOU TO LAY OFF THE CAPS LOCK.

· · 3 years ago

lol

· the doctor (not verified) · 3 years ago

wow did not expect sarcasm on this site. so you people are content to purchase an electric vehicle with very limited driving range? by the way don`t judge any suggestion without having checked out the specs. and just because posters do not have anything or any idea for improving either a hybrid or electric vehicle,does not mean it is not possible.

· · 3 years ago

And I wasn't expecting anybody to come here and yell at me about snake oil. Yet here we are. My guess is that one of our fine mods will eventually just prune all of this wildly off-subject content from this thread... so I'll keep going!

To answer your question: Yes. I am content to purchase an EV with "very limited driving range." In fact I have. Three times now over 11 years. What is your experience with EVs? So apparently, you know of a way to double the driving range of EVs. You have a way to do this that the untold thousands of highly educated EV engineers have not thought of.

1. If you have this magic device that will revolutionize our transportation, why are you posting it on this site, and specifically in this thread where it will have such a limited audience?
2. Using your same logic: I've never seen a pink elephant in my closet, and that doesn't mean that there IS no pink elephant in my closet. I actually took a logic course in college, and we started with this very idea on the first day. I admit it got more complicated after that, but still... it messes with your head a bit, doesn't it?
3. I'm not judging the "suggestion" - I'm judging the general concept, and how it was presented. How are we to judge the suggestion's "specs" if they are not offered?
4. Can I take a guess at your "suggestion?" It is a generator of some sort. Super efficient. Like nothing that has ever been demonstrated before. It isn't actually *called* a generator though, because those are "old school" and this is way beyond that. It either uses "wasted" friction or air movement or momentum of the vehicle or shocks or wheels or motor. It recaptures energy that would otherwise just be tossed aside. Though there are no scientific tests done on this device, it should extend and EV's range tremendously. It isn't an easy concept to explain to people with closed minds. But the logic of its operation, of course, is sound.

Maybe we can start a new thread for this subject. I'd love to discuss it further and learn the specs so that I CAN start to properly judge it.

(you guys know you can toss all this at any time - but it's a nice break from the hard-core EV stuff, isn't it??)

· · 3 years ago

@darelldd, Yes, it is amusing to see these "wonder device" discussions from time to time. I don't have your patience in composing cogent responses, however. Sure enjoy reading yours though!

What bugs me are the SPAM comments that are frequently posted to bump older threads and that contain links to sites selling something or other. I'd appreciate it if the mods would zap them even if they pretend to be real posts. But I'm the newbie here, so what do I know?

· · 3 years ago

Be sure to hit the red flag on any posts you think should be removed. I know from experience that mods can't be all places at all times, and self-policing is the most effective way to keep the forums clean. The mods do a GREAT job here, but there are just not enough hours in the day!

· the doctor (not verified) · 3 years ago

last post. thanks for allowing me to get a bit of input about alternative vehicles. will not bother this board again.

· rangerup! (not verified) · 2 years ago

Enough with the leftest America bashing. The car looks stupid, and if you think it looks good, you are the proof that liberals are stupid. And enough with the right wing BUY AMERICAN! Flag waving. You're ignorance and narrow minded rants are making the rest of us conservatives look stupid. Nissan employs americans too you jackasses, and the liberal unions haven't corrupted their company yet, so good on them. The engine in my frontier says made in Tennessee. So as far as im concerned, it is American. I don't care who at the top gets rich, it seems the japanese have more in our best interest than the leaders of GM or Ford ever have. So screw both sides, and come to the middle ground. Good idea, but the car looks retarded.

· · 2 years ago

rangerup!,

While we here at PluginCars appreciate your enthusiastic input and appeal to come to the middle, we try and moderate the site to avoid hurling insults. Please refrain from it in the future, it is unnecessary to get your point across.

As for your comments about how the LEAF looks, it seems that you ascribe to the belief that there is some sort of "absolute" beauty that all humans are aware of and that those who find the LEAF endearing and even good-looking are simply unable to see true beauty? That would be an incredibly arrogant claim for someone to make given the fact that there are countless billions of people in the world in countless numbers of different cultures all with different upbringings and ways of looking at the world. By saying that if nobody else can see that the car is ugly they are idiots and it's proof that liberals are idiots, you don't do yourself any favors for others' abilities to take you seriously.

Some people don't think sunsets are pretty. Some people think cloudy days are the best. Personally I don't like either, but I would never say that somebody who did was an idiot.

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