Gareth Huw Davies

Environment Blog / Green Technology

Drivers in US pick up first mass-market electric cars

Remember the name.  Amir Seif became one of the first people to take delivery of a mass-market electric car, the Nissan Leaf.

He picked it up the car, the third person in the world to do so, after drivers in  San Francisco and San Diego, in Phoenix, Arizona, on Tuesday Dec 14, 2010.

With his wife Shanna will use the car to commute, and share it with their three children.

The first 20,000 Leafs were sold to people who reserved online. Those people are just starting to collect their orders. Anyone wanting one now will have to wait until the list is reopened sometime in 2011.

Nissan say they plan to significantly increase Leaf production in the next few years, and earn a profit from the car.

The Seifs took possession of their Blue Ocean-colored Leaf and plugged it in to a charger.

It costs them $38,500 for the upgraded vehicle. They should be eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit.

The upgrade option gives them a free home charger, worth $2,000, and a $700 fast-charging port on the car.

Ecotality will supply thousands of public-charging stations in Phoenix, Tucson, San Francisco, and San Diego.

The standard 110-volt wall outlet will “trickle-charge” the car in about eight to 10 hours. “Level 2” chargers will charge the car in six to eight hours.

The federally funded EV Project includes about 310 public fast chargers: these can fill a depleted battery in 15 to 30 minutes.

The fast-charge ports are not standard on the cars.

Nissan say drivers can travel about 38 miles on $1 of “fuel,” based on the national average price of electricity.

The battery is expected to maintain about 80 percent of its capacity after five years of normal operation and recommended care,

the car with a communications system, Carwings, which is allows drivers to send the car messages from  smartphones.

For example, a driver getting off work at 5 p.m. can send the car a message to begin running the air-conditioning to cool off.

The Leaf also can send drivers messages. For example, if a driver stops to recharge the car at a fast Charger, the Leaf can send the driver a text message when it is 80 percent charged or so.

The system also can direct drivers to the nearest public charging stations and alert them when the battery is low. Credit::

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