A new breed of electric car - the LEAF
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02/14/11 Sarah Curran
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday | Listen to this entire show:

Most people judge a car by the way the engine purrs, however the LEAF is as silent as a bat. Nissan gave Floridians a chance last weekend to not only view its new completely electric car but also take it for a drive. The car requires no gas and releases no emissions. The secret behind the revolutionary car is its state of the art battery that took the company 20 years to develop.

“Here in this room this is the battery pack that powers up the vehicle, most people will never see it open like this, you guys are getting a cool insider look at it. “

Kate Quigley is a product specialist for the LEAF. She gave attendees a tour of the cars features.

“The battery pack holds 24-kilowatt hours of electricity. That’s important because the price of charging the battery is pretty low, its about 2.75 for every 100 mile charge, which means on average it is about 3 cents a mile to drive a car. The battery is stored in the floor of the vehicle so literally right beneath where you sit the battery sits, it weighs about 600 lbs so that’s important because its going to give the car a nice low center of gravity and you should be able to fell that when you handle it today especially on turns.”

Other than the high tech battery the car can be completely controlled from an iPhone or computer. When it’s cold outside, you can heat the car before you even step foot in the garage.

“Lets say you got to bed at ten you set your car the charge form midnight to seven, you can set a timer like that on the car, and midnight rolls around and the car is not charging for some reason, lets say you forgot to plug it in, the cars gonna call you on the phone and let you know that its not plugged in. “

However even though the car doesn’t run on gas, the electricity has to come from somewhere.

“The issue with this car, it’s a beautiful car and seems to be certainly the future of electric cars in America, but the issue is we are still having to grab the electricity to charge it from a coal fire plant.”

That’s where people like Scott McIntyre come in. He owns solarenergymanagement.com.

“We came up with a system whereby it’s basically a prefab solar car charging station. That collects the energy from the sun during the day when your driving around and dumps it to the grid so you don’t have the expensive batteries so you are collecting the equivalent of the needs of the electric car for the day and dumping it to the grid so it really is at that point a completely carbon neutral car.”

The solar grids McIntyre’s company is working on would also use the power stored and not used for the car for your house. With all its features and possibilities, product specialist Chris Lafleur, says the car is like nothing else on the market right now.

“Our Nissan LEAF is 100 percent electric, completely free of gas run off of the same kind of electric motor the volt has but yet we don’t have the generator on board. Our LEAF can go 100 miles on one charge, and just put it in the garage overnight, plug it in and your good to go the next day.”

Some automobile clubs and electronics stores will soon offer charging stations where you can charge your electric car in about 15 minutes. You can learn more about the LEAF at NissanUSA.com.

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