Nissan Electric Car

The Nissan electric car is for now the Nissan Leaf. The Leaf is in pre-production at the present time. The car has been making the rounds for several years now to almost universal positive reviews. LEAF is an acronym for Leading, Environmentally Friendly, Affordable, Family Car.

Nissan has recognized the problems of past electric champions like the ill-fated GM EV1. The EV1 was largely manufactured to meet the requirements of the California zero emissions mandate. The mandate was repealed in 2003 with the help of major auto manufacturers, and the EV1 was literally crushed. Ford recalled its Th!nk cars at the same time, and Toyota was sued for use of so-called proprietary battery technology in its electric cars of about the same vintage. Coincidentally, Chevron Oil Company was involved. Production of the Toyota RAV4 EV (still in demand today) was stopped. The electric car movement pulled off the road.

Nissan has been making cars since 1918. The company is not as traditionally as big as Toyota and GM, but is a major Japanese auto manufacturer with a global Leading presence. More recently the company has merged with French automaker Renault. As such, the companies have undertaken a number of projects aimed at producing cars, information for those cars, and the infrastructure to support electric cars.

The companies are working on battery switching technology along with the US company better place. Several governments are supporting the technology in large scale field trials. Israel with inter-city distances well within the range of the Leaf and charging stations at strategic locations makes an excellent test site for electric cars in general. Successful trials will help plant EV technology elsewhere.

Specifications for the Leaf:

Range – 100miles/160km average
Top Speed – 90mph/145kph

Electric Motor – 80kW/107hp
Energy Storage – 24kWh – around 3 quarts/Liters Gasoline equivalent

Empty Weight – 3400lbs/1545kg
Wt/HP – 32lbs/1hp
Battery Pack Wt – 480lbs/418kg

Charge at home 220V – 8 hours
80% quick charge at Nissan/3-phase charger – 30 minutes

As for sales, Nissan plans to produce 50,000 Leafs (leaves?) in 2011, with an eventual worldwide target of 200,000 annually. People can pay $99 USD to reserve a Leaf now. So far, people are reserving cars at a respectable pace. Hopefully the target production run will be met. About 20,000 orders have been placed as of the end of May, 2010.

Price estimates for the Leaf run from $33,000 – $40,000 USD. The actual sticker prices will be known when the first cars hit the showrooms by 2011.

Go Nissan Leaf!

The Saturn Hybrid, Toyota Prius and Other Green Cars – An Overview of Eco-Friendly Vehicles

Hybrid cars or the hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) are the best solution for the growing fuel shortage problems that we have these days. Most car makers today have resorted to the design and production of green-friendly cars in answer to the growing fuel crisis. And because of the ingenuity of the inventions, they are rapidly gaining popularity in the market. Terms such as “Saturn hybrid” and “Toyota hybrid cars” are now becoming ingrained in the lingo of auto enthusiasts.

The Government Supports Hybrid Use

The government for a number of good reasons is supporting hybrid cars. These cars are environmentally-friendly because they emit lesser pollutants. It has been noted that some hybrid cars lower pollution rates by up to 90% as compared to conventional cars.

Another good reason is that they are a wise solution to the growing fuel shortage. They economize fuel consumption, making them double efficient for what they usually provide. This is because most of the kinetic power that was wasted in the traditional fully internal combustion engine is now being converted into useful energy.

Because of these good features, the government offers tax incentives for buying these new types of cars.

Efficient, Low Maintenance and Fuel-Efficient

Hybrid cars need not to be plugged into an electrical outlet when charging the electric motor. They make use of a process called regenerative braking. While the vehicle is running with the use of the internal combustion engine, the electric motor is being charged. In driving situations where internal combustion engines are less efficient (as in slow city driving), the electric motor will take over with minimal intervention from the driver.

Initially, purchasing a hybrid is not easy on the pocket because price tag is higher than for ordinary cars. But in the long run, they prove to be more economical and they offer more benefits than the traditional cars.

In addition, hybrid cars have lower depreciation rates than traditional cars. Also, unlike traditional cars that run on internal combustion engine, they require lesser maintenance thus greatly reducing cost and trouble of having to owning a vehicle.

Hybrid Models and Car Makers

Aside from sedans, there are also available models of hybrid pickup trucks and hybrid minivans. Not only this, hybrid power technology in the area of public transportation is gaining rapid popularity and it is expected to be available soon in many areas of the transport industry.

Car makers have been competing to offer the market the best of hybrids. There are many beautiful models to choose from. The buyer may find it hard to make a decision given the stylish designs, performance and price of the various models. Consumers have a wide selection from low-end to high-end cars; they offer benefits that are worth their price.

Toyota Hybrids

There is a long line of Toyota hybrid cars but car reviews have shown that the Toyota Prius is the undisputed favorite. This hybrid car from Toyota is a real looker. In addition, it has the most efficient miles-per-gallon report.

Honda Hybrid Models

Honda hybrid cars also compete strongly in design and efficiency. The Honda Civic hybrid is the closest in comparison to the most priced Toyota Prius.

Saturn Hybrids

“Go green without going broke” is the slogan being touted by the Saturn hybrids. In support of this slogan, they offer good hybrids at lower cost. Their use of “mild hybrid” technology means that they can offer some of the benefits of hybrids without having to increase their selling price all that much.

Ford Hybrid Models

Ford hybrid cars offer their well-regarded Escape model. It has a very sleek design and competitive miles-per-gallon efficiency. The interior of the car employs modern designs. It is very efficient to use. In addition to the existing line of Ford hybrid cars, they are about to launch the model that will compete with Toyota’s Prius model.

Convertible Hybrids

While hybrid cars have been widely popular for quite a long time now, hybrid convertibles are on their baby stage as yet. There are not that many models to choose from in the market. Many car enthusiasts have been waiting for the arrival of this type of vehicle on the scene. There is a model launched in the market by Saab.

Whatever model a consumer may choose, green-technology cars such as the Saturn hybrid are better in many ways than the traditional gasoline-guzzling cars. In times when fuel shortage and pollution of the environment are recognized as two of the foremost public issues, the use of this new technology promises to bring a positive contribution.

Hybrid Cars and Auto Insurance

The reasons for buying hybrids vary. Some believe that the ‘War on Terrorism’ is a result of America’s dependence on oil and by purchasing a hybrid they are doing their bit to stop supporting it. Buying a hybrid car is also their way of lending support to organizations that channel resources into the discovery of alternative energy. Air pollution, the increase in smog and the greater incidence of respiratory diseases motivates others. Hybrid owners also receive tax deductions, which may be a factor to be considered. Whatever your reasons, if you’ve decided to buy a hybrid, you’ve probably done your research. You’ve checked out the facts and discovered that while they may cost more initially, hybrids are far more environmentally-friendly and you’ll save a ton on gas in the process. There is however, one relatively unclear dilemma about the practically of owning a hybrid: auto insurance. How do auto car insurance quotes differ when it comes to hybrid cars? Are hybrid cars at a higher risk and does buying one mean that you have no option but to pay higher insurance rates?

Let’s look at the issue from the perspective of car insurance companies. The average hybrid car owner would be someone who is environmentally conscious, has a sense of social responsibility, as well as the means to pay a little bit extra to do his or her part. People who fall into this demographic tend to be middle aged, financially stable, cautious drivers who are unlikely to engage in rash driving. Since demographics play a large part in determining premiums, from the perspective of insurance providers, Hybrid owners tend not to be high risk drivers and are in the age group which has the lowest accident rates, which should earn them low cost car insurance rates.

Hybrids however, employ some of the most cutting-edge technology and their maintenance and repairs tend to cost more than gas-only cars. Granted hybrid- specific components have long warranties and simple maintenance can be conducted at any repair shop but even so, cars with expensive parts tend to cost more to insure. Another issue is that small cars-hybrids and otherwise- tend to cost more to insure. They are harder to see on the road, tend to have more fragile structures, and hence are more likely to be involved in crashes and suffer more damages than your average SUV. While these concerns apply to all small cars, the size of the hybrid definitely affects its insurance rates.

This however, does not mean that Hybrid car owners need to resign themselves to sky-high insurance rates. Due to the fact that we’re progressively becoming a more socially and environmentally conscious society, the fact that the Hybrid employs the latest technology and safety features, as well as the increasing prices of gas, this model is rapidly gaining popularity, and as it continues to do so the prices will fall, the availability of parts will increase, and all in all, many of the financial problems associated with this car will cease to exist. As statistics supporting the safety and functionality of hybrids emerge, the insurance rates for hybrids will start to stabilize. Also, many insurance providers are now encouraging the use of hybrids by offering online car insurance quotes for hybrids. This means that even if your initial insurance rates look a little steep, your premiums will actually be much more affordable than you fear.

There is confusion surrounding the issue of hybrid cars and insurance rates- some say that hybrids and insurance-friendly while others hold the belief that owning a hybrid is like asking for exorbitant premiums. At the end of the day, thanks to hybrid- specific discounts, the rates are not dramatically higher for hybrids. And even the existing gap can be bridged by availing of other discounts such as a defensive driver’s credit, a good driver discount, air bag and safety mechanism installation discounts, etc. The lower gas prices, tax rebates and general sense of satisfaction from standing up for what you believe in may just tip the balance in the hybrids favor for many individuals. Besides, if you look hard enough, chances are you’ll be able to find reasonable auto insurance quotes, even for a hybrid.