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Will the Nissan Leaf Take On the Tesla Model S At Half the Price?

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the need-more-juice dept.

Transportation 398

cartechboy (2660665) writes "Ask most people why they won't consider an electric car, and they talk about range anxiety. And I can easily imagine why 84 miles of range isn't enough. Now it sounds like Nissan is listening, as well as watching Tesla's success. The company plans to boost the Leaf electric car's driving range with options for larger battery packs. Not long ago Nissan surveyed Tesla Model S owners, and they probably heard loud and clear that longer driving range is very, very important. So it looks like the Leaf might get up to 150 miles of range, possibly by the 2016 model year. The range increase will come from a larger battery pack, possibly 36 or 42 kWh, and more energy-dense cells. Either way, clearly Nissan is looking to expand the appeal of the world's best-selling electric car, and increasing its driving range is pretty clearly a key to doing so. I just wish Nissan would ditch the weird styling while they're at it."

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Oh noes, I can't drive X miles (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46815853)

Where X miles is some unit that has no relationship to the actual amount of driving you do.

Sure, if you're an Australian Cattle Rancher crossing the route from Perth to Adelaide, maybe you care about having range.

Grandma who never drives outside of town? What is she worrying about?

Re:Oh noes, I can't drive X miles (2)

manofyunk (122268) | about 5 months ago | (#46815889)

Or,
If you live in rural usa where there are no public charging stations.
Range is an issue with any electric vehicle along with charge times.

Re:Oh noes, I can't drive X miles (2)

repetty (260322) | about 5 months ago | (#46816041)

Everything is relative... In west Texas, pickup trucks with dual fuel tanks are not unheard of.

Urban drivers (most the the US population) would still be well-served by an electric vehicle.

Most people are more than willing to pay for more than they need, which explains a lot about cell phone data plans and such.

Re:Oh noes, I can't drive X miles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46816287)

Hell, in suburban fucking Maryland I had a summer job with a contractor who had a dual-tank pickup. He was smack dab between Baltimore and Washington D.C.

X Miles IS a standard for me (4, Informative)

Firethorn (177587) | about 5 months ago | (#46816355)

Everything is relative...

Bingo. My commute is 10 miles one way. The big town is 20 miles the other way. A very plausible trip is 10 miles to work, 30 miles to town, 20 miles home - 60 miles in one day. Given paranoia, I slap a x2 on there(I might get called into work again, another 20 miles, might forget to charge the night before, power outages, etc...), Thus I'd prefer a car with at least 120 miles of range. That's even without considering that a common camp site for me is 60 miles away. There's power there so I could trickle charge over the week end for margin, but it's something to consider. As is range losses due to heat/cold/age/etc...

As such, I say it's not just people want to pay for more than 'what they need', it's that most proponents of short-range EVs only look at median driving distances. Most purchasers of vehicles are going to be looking for a vehicle that satisfies the 90th percentile of their driving 'needs'.

It's hardly 'no relationship' as the AC said.

Re:Oh noes, I can't drive X miles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46816149)

Range is an issue with every vehicle. Horse. Ship. Plane. Car.

So is the effort to cover that range, whether it be provided by grass, wind, fossil fuel in the form of combustible hydrocarbons or electrical potential, or something else.

But the key is to have some relationship to the need. A lot of people? Don't even try to think about that.

Re:Oh noes, I can't drive X miles (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 5 months ago | (#46816037)

I commute about a combined 70 miles to and from work each day. 150 mile range would be perfect for me, as it would give me enough mileage to take into account traffic and only have to charge up every 2 days. 200 miles would be even better as it would give a lot more cushion, and would also allow for trips out of state to visit family.

Re:Oh noes, I can't drive X miles (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 5 months ago | (#46816119)

I commute about 2 miles to and from work each day.

But the Leaf is ugly, the Tesla S is expensive and neither is convertible.

Re:Oh noes, I can't drive X miles (1)

macpacheco (1764378) | about 5 months ago | (#46816209)

Then forget about the electric car, it will always be too expensive for you. Electric cars make economic sense for those who drive a lot. But those will feel range anxiety the worst.

Re:Oh noes, I can't drive X miles (3, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | about 5 months ago | (#46816217)

2 miles? I walk that from the parking lot to the hangar where I work. Why would you need a vehicle? Maybe a bycycle.

Re:Oh noes, I can't drive X miles (1)

q4Fry (1322209) | about 5 months ago | (#46816317)

Two miles? A bike is cheap, and sort of convertible*.

* Bike on nice days. Drive on others.

Re:Oh noes, I can't drive X miles (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 5 months ago | (#46816417)

if you drive a car you are insane, 2 miles can be leisurely walked in 15 minutes. get a small folding bicycle and you can make it there in less than 5 minutes.

Re:Oh noes, I can't drive X miles (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 5 months ago | (#46816557)

Indeed. I'd love that kind of commute.

I drive 65 miles... and I would love to live closer, but it's either too expensive or bad neighborhoods!

Re:Oh noes, I can't drive X miles (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 5 months ago | (#46816565)

65 miles one way, to be clear...

Re:Oh noes, I can't drive X miles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46816419)

Two Miles? Fuck at that distance you could walk, jog, bike, skateboard... WTF do you need a car for that commute?

Re:Oh noes, I can't drive X miles (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 5 months ago | (#46816551)

Wow, even a peg leg can walk that far.

Re:Oh noes, I can't drive X miles (2)

macpacheco (1764378) | about 5 months ago | (#46816229)

EVs are mainly charged at home, so they are usually charged daily, even if the battery still has plenty of juice.
Charging an EV is just plugging an electric cord on your car at home.
A Tesla can be programmed to wait until 1AM to charge or something of the kind. Can a LEAF do the same (plug in when you arrive at home, and the vehicle waits for the cheapest time to charge) ?

Re:Oh noes, I can't drive X miles (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 5 months ago | (#46816361)

Out of curiosity, what will a Leaf at half the price of a "S" car look like?

Re:Oh noes, I can't drive X miles (1)

macpacheco (1764378) | about 5 months ago | (#46816421)

The LEAF already costs half of a Tesla Model S. You just need to compare the LEAF to a 60kW model S without a lot of optionals. On the high end, a model S costs 3x a LEAF.

Re:Oh noes, I can't drive X miles (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 5 months ago | (#46816525)

Yes, the Leaf can be set to charge during off-peak hours.

Re:Oh noes, I can't drive X miles (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 5 months ago | (#46816397)

Because mile ranges change based on driving.. Grandma can eat up the 100 mile range driving around in town on a 102 degree day without ever going more than 20 miles away from home.

You might like the possibility of having to push the car home, Grandma on the other hand does not.

Re:Oh noes, I can't drive X miles (3, Informative)

mythosaz (572040) | about 5 months ago | (#46816537)

You can always eat up 100 miles, staying 20 miles from home, if you drive in a circle for two hours....

But no, your 102 degree day doesn't drop your mileage by 80% -- that's straight FUD.

[n.b. I own a Leaf in Phoenix Arizona.]

Re:Oh noes, I can't drive X miles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46816439)

The average person I know of goes on a relatively long drive at least once a month. I, for example, end up driving a solid 100 miles to another city about once a month because the city I live in is only "medium" size, which means anything specialty is either a drive, or you have to order it. And there's times where seeing it in person is necessary.

There's also things like concerts and sporting events, both of which happen in three different cities, all about 70-100 miles from myself. Throw in things like going to the drive in movies (I know, that's a bit oddball... it's what I like) or visiting friends in those other cities and it can easily become once a week.

Sure, you could charge your car in those other places. I took a look (I'm certainly interested in getting an electric car, problem is the Tesla is for rich people at the moment), and it's possible. I'd also have to wait for at least 30 minutes NOT at my actual destination, but rather 10 minutes drive away from it, after only 1 1/2 hrs of driving. And most of those places don't have restaurants attached to them. That sucks.

This situation is very common. Electric cars work great if you live in a big enough city you never have to travel. Then again, in those cities, you typically get decent public transportation, so they solve a need that doesn't really exist.

FWIW, I'm in the 10th largest city in Canada.

Re:Oh noes, I can't drive X miles (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about 5 months ago | (#46816443)

If it's your only car and you can't drive round trip to the largest near by city (Dallas-> Fort Worth and back ) on a single charge (can't always find a charging station in a strange town) it's not much good. Sure you can rent a gas car for long weekend trips, but that's really inconvenient for emergency trips or if you want to go see a concert, art festival, state fair etc one county over.
 
Right now it's just a supplemental car. If I could get 200 miles out of it, I could drive to Austin on Friday after work.

Re:Oh noes, I can't drive X miles (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 5 months ago | (#46816539)

I drive 120 miles, 5 days a week. ... what kind of cycle count would these batteries have?

mmm sexy batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46815855)

as an off gridder they are pure drool material. 150 miles or run my house for 10 days? hmm...

News just in... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46815859)

in a survey, most people said they'd prefer it if it was a bit longer

They forget the coolness factor (2)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 5 months ago | (#46815863)

Tesla is the Apple of the electric car world: even if Nissan comes up with equivalent models for cheaper, people will still prefer Teslas because they're perceived as hip or upmarket.

Re:They forget the coolness factor (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 5 months ago | (#46815937)

even if Nissan comes up with equivalent models for cheaper, hipsters will still prefer Teslas

Re:They forget the coolness factor (2)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 5 months ago | (#46816083)

Hipsters don't buy $80k cars.

Re:They forget the coolness factor (1)

macpacheco (1764378) | about 5 months ago | (#46816253)

There are millions of upper middle class hippies in the USA. They have grown up and gotten good jobs after woodstock.
Those are exactly the ones willing to pay premium for a Tesla because they believe in the cause.
It's not by chance that Tesla is still working with a production backlog in the order of 8 weeks. They can make enough cars for current demand. And demand is increasing non stop, even without any formal advertising. The Tesla X car dealer fight is a big win for Tesla, free advertising.

Re:They forget the coolness factor (3, Informative)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 5 months ago | (#46816345)

Hipsters are different than Hippies. Very different.

Re:They forget the coolness factor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46816387)

Hippies are not the same as hipsters.
Hipsters are millenials.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hipster_(contemporary_subculture)

Re:They forget the coolness factor (4, Informative)

bobbied (2522392) | about 5 months ago | (#46815993)

Yet androids sell like hotcakes too.

Tesla's problem is price. Their price is way beyond what most can pay, even if they wanted too. If Nissan can come up with a viable alternative that goes the distance of a Tesla and they can sell them at a price the masses can afford, they will out sell Tesla in units. Just like Ford did with the model T. Sure there where better and more desirable cars in the model T's day, but Ford didn't have much trouble selling them because of price.

Re:They forget the coolness factor (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46816097)

They also have another problem: Elon Musk. No matter how much money his cars cost, I wouldn't give that pasty-face South African asshole my business, ever. The way some people literally worship him the same way they did Steve Jobs is downright disgusting.

Re:They forget the coolness factor (0)

macpacheco (1764378) | about 5 months ago | (#46816291)

They don't worship him, they worship his accomplishments and the way he's making a lot of conservative corporations look really bad.
If you can't see Elon Musk as a model citizen, then I have less than zero respect for you.
I never worshiped Jobs or Gates or Ellison. Cheering worshiping. I do cheer for his success. Go Musk Go ! Make Detroit, ULA, Rocketdyne, coal look really bad. Go !

Re:They forget the coolness factor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46816305)

That is an odd thing to hold against him.

Re:They forget the coolness factor (1)

Drethon (1445051) | about 5 months ago | (#46816549)

Wait, Tesla is Apple and Nissan is Android... I can completely reprogram a Leaf?

Re:They forget the coolness factor (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about 5 months ago | (#46816113)

Tesla is the Apple of the electric car world: even if Nissan comes up with equivalent models for cheaper, people will still prefer Teslas because they're perceived as hip or upmarket.

Hip or upmarket? Uh, those who can afford a $100,000 car are the ones who "prefer" a Tesla.

I prefer Tesla too, but it has nothing to do with being in fashion. The masses can afford iDevices easily, so it's stupid to compare it here. Only the 1% is spending six figures on a car.

Re:They forget the coolness factor (2)

benjfowler (239527) | about 5 months ago | (#46816199)

You're right in another way -- Tesla is like Apple, because they're not optimizing for sheer sales volume; they're optimizing for profit.

what happens when the batters wears out? (1)

alen (225700) | about 5 months ago | (#46815895)

how much is it to replace it?

i can drive my honda CRV until it falls apart with some basic maintenance that doesn't involve spending thousands of $$$ on a new battery

and my honda doesn't cost $600 a year in an annual checkup like Tesla charges

Re:what happens when the batters wears out? (4, Insightful)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 5 months ago | (#46815933)

The Leaf's battery is warrantied for 10 years. Most people don't own a car for 10 years.

The overall maintenance schedule is ridiculously light. No $600/year checkup. No oil changes. It's pretty much just cabin air filters and brakes.

Re:what happens when the batters wears out? (3, Insightful)

repetty (260322) | about 5 months ago | (#46816067)

The overall maintenance schedule is ridiculously light. No $600/year checkup. No oil changes. It's pretty much just cabin air filters and brakes.

Which is why dealerships in the various U.S. states have been fighting Telsa so vigorously. The Leaf doesn't scare them... yet.

There's a lot of money to be lost in empty service bays.

Re:what happens when the batters wears out? (3, Insightful)

macpacheco (1764378) | about 5 months ago | (#46816371)

The LEAF doesn't scare them, because they control LEAF sales. Have you ever seen a Nissan dealership actively offering a LEAF, or they just have them in case you already made up your mind ?
BTW. When I lived in the USA I owned a Eagle Talon (the Mitsubishi Eclipse). Even though I drove it 150k miles over 7 years, I only gave it a single trip to the dealership, right before I sold it, just replaced fluids and tires. Replaced the battery once. There are many IC cars out there that can be driven for 200k miles with perhaps 3 trips to the dealerships.
It's the sucker idiots that insist on buying a crappy Detroit car that is built to break down every couple of years.
Unless forced to, I'll never buy an american designed car, except for a Tesla, ever again. Japanese/German cars rule.

Re:what happens when the batters wears out? (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 5 months ago | (#46816473)

No, the dealerships are fighting Tesla’s direct market strategy, not the fact it is electric. Nissan’s Leaf is sold through the traditional franchise dealership.No strong reason for franchisers to fight over that.

Re:what happens when the batters wears out? (1)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about 5 months ago | (#46816181)

But most cars last longer than 10 years, and become the used cars many people buy.

Re:what happens when the batters wears out? (2)

EvanED (569694) | about 5 months ago | (#46816307)

This is actually correct: the median car age in the US in 2011 (latest year mentioned in wikipedia) was 10.8 years [wikipedia.org] . And the average age is going up, and electric cars will only make it go up more.

Re:what happens when the batters wears out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46816485)

But most cars last longer than 10 years, and become the used cars many people buy.

Yes, despite the fact that most cars have only 4-5 year warranties, they last for 10+ years, and people still buy them secondhand after they're long out of warranty. Why would the Leaf be any different?

Re:what happens when the batters wears out? (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 5 months ago | (#46816255)

It's a disposable car. Use it ten years, throw it away and get another. I'm at 16 years on one vehicle and 13 on the other. I have an old truck that's a '77 but I don't drive it much as it's an old style 4X4 that's really better offroad than on.

Re:what happens when the batters wears out? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 5 months ago | (#46816477)

https://www.google.com/search?... [google.com]

  Average age of a car on the road is 11.4 years that means MOST people own a car longer than 10 years.

Re:what happens when the batters wears out? (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 5 months ago | (#46816533)

The average new car is owned for just under 6 years.

http://www.kbb.com/car-news/all-the-latest/average-length-of-us-vehicle-ownership-hit-an-all_time-high/2000007854/

Re:what happens when the batters wears out? (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 5 months ago | (#46816575)

That's the average age of a car on the road. Your statement would only be true if nobody ever bought a used car.

Since people buy used cars, your assumption that MOST people own cars longer than 10 years is complete and utter bullshit.

More FUD.

Re:what happens when the batters wears out? (2)

adric22 (413850) | about 5 months ago | (#46815967)

While it is true, if you keep the car long enough you'll eventually need a new battery. The battery warranty is for 8 years, or 10 years in some states. Nissan hasn't released a price for a replacement pack. Most experts believe the battery costs around $5,000 currently. But it will probably be half that price by the time you need to replace it. On the flip side, the electric car requires almost no regular maintenance like your CR-V does. And when you do replace the battery, the car should be good to go for another 10 years because the rest of the car should last much longer than a gasoline car.

Re:what happens when the batters wears out? (1)

queazocotal (915608) | about 5 months ago | (#46816165)

5K for a 24kWh battery that lasts 8 years - under any circumstances - that is unlikely.
At that price, I'm buying one for off-grid use.
That is noticably cheaper than lead-acid cells.

Re:what happens when the batters wears out? (2)

Bryan Ischo (893) | about 5 months ago | (#46815971)

The Leaf is a better comparison to your CRV than the Tesla is; the Tesla is in a totally different segment of the market than the CRV.

The CRV has tons more working parts than a Leaf does (gas engines have lots and lots of complex moving parts; the drivetrain of a Leaf is incredibly simple in comparison). I would expect that on average a CRV would require much more maintenance over its lifetime than a Leaf would.

This would, to some degree, mitigate the battery replacement cost of the Leaf. Additionally, depending upon your locale, the Leaf's charging costs may be close to zero; here in Silicon Valley it's very common for workplaces to provide free charging stations for electric cars. I am pretty sure that at least a dozen of my co-workers pay nothing for recharging since they just plug in at work and recharge there every day.

The fuel costs of a CRV would be somewhere north of $1,000 per year, so the equivalent $0 charging cost of a Leaf would more than pay for a battery replacement over the lifetime of the car.

Of course, not everyone will get free charging for their Leaf. But my point is just that the CRV is not guaranteed to be cheaper to run over its lifetime than a Leaf is; and in some situations, the Leaf will definitely come out ahead.

I have ridden in one co-worker's leaf quite a few times for lunch trips and it's really a nice car. But butt ugly :)

Re:what happens when the batters wears out? (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 5 months ago | (#46816009)

and my honda doesn't cost $600 a year in an annual checkup like Tesla charges

You mean you don't go to the Honda Dealer every year? Are you nuts? (Apparently not.. )

Re:what happens when the batters wears out? (1)

alen (225700) | about 5 months ago | (#46816087)

$30 for an oil change AT THE DEALER
$100 or so once you get to like 50,000 miles for a check up and some more at 100,000 miles and more. say $400 to change the tires out at 75000 or 100,000 miles
if you figure 12000 miles a year for "normal" driving and maybe 4000 for me, it's A LOT cheaper for me to own honda or any normal car than a tesla

Re:what happens when the batters wears out? (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 5 months ago | (#46816163)

Yea, I know. I love my Honda too. I was not trying to attack you, but make a joke about the Tesla and the owners of same. Personally, I think they have more money than sense, but I guess there is value in the appearance of being green that a Tesla buys you.

Re:what happens when the batters wears out? (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about 5 months ago | (#46816127)

how much is it to replace it?

i can drive my honda CRV until it falls apart with some basic maintenance that doesn't involve spending thousands of $$$ on a new battery

and my honda doesn't cost $600 a year in an annual checkup like Tesla charges

When complaining about annual costs, please remember the original price you paid has a hell of a lot to do with ongoing maintenance.

Tesla charges $600 a year because they know their owners can afford it, not because it (or any other service) is "worth" that price tag.

Re:what happens when the batters wears out? (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 5 months ago | (#46816465)

It should, you are just not maintaining it 4 oil changes at $50 each = $200 Each year you should do one other service item, This year I had brake fluid flushed at $325 (I'm up to $525) next year is a transmission fluid and filter at $600. Last year I had the AC serviced to the tune of $400 and saved me from having an expensive Compressor failure later on. 2 years from now is time for a tuneup, etc....

And that is my honda civic. Most cars have about $600 in basic maintenance costs. Some need it more like the GM garbage that started to fall apart after 5 years.

Redesign the body too... (1)

x0 (32926) | about 5 months ago | (#46815905)

Because, honestly, the leaf is *not* a good looking car.

m

Re:Redesign the body too... (2)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 5 months ago | (#46815959)

It's an odd looking car because every design decision was made to decrease drag, which has a huge impact on range at highway speeds. The most notable feature on the front is the big bug eye headlight covers. They push air out of the way and create low pressure bubbles around the rear view mirrors- decreasing drag.

Where the hell are all these batteries coming from (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46815909)

I thought the whole reason that Tesla wants to build a huge battery factory in the US is because the world supply of deep cycle rechargeable batteries is hilariously dwarfed by the demand posed by any growth at all in the electric vehicle market.

Re:Where the hell are all these batteries coming f (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 5 months ago | (#46816273)

I'd bet that Nissan will be building a battery factory too.

Mass transit (4, Interesting)

Katatsumuri (1137173) | about 5 months ago | (#46815915)

I hope that eventually logic will prevail and properly organized mass transit (including maybe self-driving taxi cabs) will replace most of the private cars. Then we will not have to argue about the little details like individual vehicle range, styling or retail price.

Re:Mass transit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46815951)

I'd just be happy with self-driving cars, so I can spend my time reading a book and not watching out for the intoxicated or incompetent on the roads.

Re:Mass transit (1)

LookIntoTheFuture (3480731) | about 5 months ago | (#46816299)

I'd just be happy with self-driving cars, so I can spend my time reading a book and not watching out for the intoxicated or incompetent on the roads.

Not me. I like to drive.

Re:Mass transit (1)

alen (225700) | about 5 months ago | (#46816109)

i'm all for mass transit and use it almost every day, but i'm in NYC
a lot of cities in the US aren't dense enough to support the costs of the system

Re:Mass transit (1)

Katatsumuri (1137173) | about 5 months ago | (#46816311)

I think we have several technologies (some ready, some getting there) which could gradually make this realistic in more areas:
- passenger apps for route planning and cab calling
- smart traffic scheduling/dispatching systems
- self-driving cars

Re:Mass transit (3, Insightful)

bobbied (2522392) | about 5 months ago | (#46816133)

In the USA? Shesh, you do realize how that's not going to happen right?

Where I'm all for mass transit (mostly in the form of buses) in urban areas, it is totally out of step with your average citizen's attitudes about how and when they go places. Folks in the USA want to go, when they want to go. They will gladly take the bus, if it's going where they want, when they want and they are assured they can get back when they want, but if any of these requirements are not met, they will take a car.

Problem for mass transit is two fold. First, by financial necessity, it only runs during and close to peak usage times. Weekdays are great, but middle of the night on the weekends it doesn't make sense because there are not enough riders. If they do run off-peak times, it is usually at a reduced schedule and convenience. Secondly, some kind of transport is necessary in the USA because walking is not possible due to the large distances involved, even in our urban areas. Citizens will feel it necessary to maintain cars in all but the largest urban areas and once they HAVE a car, they will use it because it is simply faster and more convenient than mass transit can ever be.

So, until we can do away with suburbia, the automobile is here to stay, at least in the USA.

Re:Mass transit (1)

EvanED (569694) | about 5 months ago | (#46816197)

They will gladly take the bus, if it's going where they want, when they want and they are assured they can get back when they want,...

and if they don't have something that is awkward, difficult, or impossible to take with them. And if the ride isn't prohibitively longer than driving.

Re:Mass transit (1)

Katatsumuri (1137173) | about 5 months ago | (#46816249)

Maybe if you add modern computer-assisted routing both for cars (intellectual central dispatch) and for passengers (smart phone apps), and add self-driving small cars to the mix, it can become more realistic. And we don't have to replace all cars overnight. This can happen gradually, extending the network reach and usefulness area by area.

Re:Mass transit (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 5 months ago | (#46816333)

I loved mass transit when I was stationed in Germany. You could set your watch by the busses and they ran regularly. Waiting times were minimal. None of that applies anywhere I've been in the US but maybe the real big Metro areas might be better than what I've seen. Then there are crime issues that didn't seem to exist in Germany.

Re:Mass transit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46816177)

There is nothing inherently logical about that statement. If your goals meet those of mass transit, then it's logical. If you have different end goals, it does not.

Mass transit favors an urban living style, which many people like, but many do not. It also favors directed paths and most efficient routes for large groups of people, which again, appeals on pure efficiency grounds, but misses the point that if I'm living, I want to be living in comfort and have convenience.

I do believe that there should be more and better mass transit, and I would use it when I am in urban areas, but there is nothing logical about having to give up comfort or convenience. It's a trade off. You might suggest that growing populations and faltering economies mean that there are energy shortages and sprawl issues. I'd just tell you that maybe people shouldn't have as many children and should work towards other energy sources and certainly better efficiency per unit.

However, it doesn't mean I have to accept the lowest possible state of efficiency, even at the cost of comfort, just to satisfy some minimalist urban ideal of squeezing as many people as possible into sardine can living arrangements.

We need to have a discussion about what is important to actual humans, and then what it takes to get us there. In this case, I feel like the answer is coming before the real question.

Class difference (2, Insightful)

SirJorgelOfBorgel (897488) | about 5 months ago | (#46815921)

As usual with a Slashdot article title ending with a question mark, the answer is no?

These are not the same class of vehicle. Around these parts there are quite a number of Tesla Model S's - in fact I would have gotten one myself if it had been possible to get it delivered before January 1 (long story, tax breaks) - and all the owners I know of are small to medium business owners with money to spare. Had they not gone for the Model S, they would have gotten one of the bigger models Audi, BMW, or Mercedes - electric or not. I can't see a single one of these folks getting a Leaf instead, not even at half the price.

Then again, maybe the target demographic for the Model S is different on your side of the pond ...

That would have me considering it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46815975)

At a 150 mile range, that would be good enough for me to use on most of my regular weekend trips; I'm lucky enough to be able to walk to work, so I don't really need to drive much during the week. If they offered it as a convertible I'd be very likely to buy one (I know I'm in a minority in thinking that a convertible is essential). We're a family of 4, so we're always going to have a larger, longer range vehicle too, but for a stupid second car a convertible Leaf or Volt would get me to sell the 3 series convertible we have now.

No (4, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 5 months ago | (#46816011)

The summary answers itself:

I just wish Nissan would ditch the weird styling while they're at it.

This is why Tesla is getting so much public attention: the cars they make look like cars people actually want to drive. Stop making every electric car look like a midget minivan (a miniminivan?) and more people would actually buy them.

Re:No (2)

LookIntoTheFuture (3480731) | about 5 months ago | (#46816161)

The summary answers itself:

I just wish Nissan would ditch the weird styling while they're at it.

This is why Tesla is getting so much public attention: the cars they make look like cars people actually want to drive. Stop making every electric car look like a midget minivan (a miniminivan?) and more people would actually buy them.

Right. For most people, the way a car looks is a high priority. The question electric car manufacturers should always ask themselves is: "How well would this car sell if it had a gas engine in it?"

Re:No (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 5 months ago | (#46816429)

It's because the car is mainly for the Japanese market, where they actually rather like it looking different. I'm somewhat surprised they even sold it in the west. Thing is Japanese manufacturers seem to get away with it to some degree - just look at the Prius. I expect the next Leaf model will look more "normal" though.

Re:No (2)

ndavis (1499237) | about 5 months ago | (#46816547)

The summary answers itself:

I just wish Nissan would ditch the weird styling while they're at it.

This is why Tesla is getting so much public attention: the cars they make look like cars people actually want to drive. Stop making every electric car look like a midget minivan (a miniminivan?) and more people would actually buy them.

This is part of the reason why I ended up with a Ford Focus Electric. My wife liked the fact it looked similar to the regular car rather then some unique shape that made people look at it.

It's a great car (5, Informative)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 5 months ago | (#46816073)

I have leased a Leaf for the past year and I love it. It's not just a great electric car, it's a great car. The single speed transmission (not CV) is fantastic. You don't realize how obnoxious gear changes and engine noise are until you drive without them. It's like floating on a cloud.

My lease is $300/month, but I'm saving almost $100/month on gas. The electricity costs me about $30 per 1000 miles. Never having to stop at a gas station or get an oil change is nice.

They're not for everyone. If you have a house with garage that you can install a 220V outlet in, it's far more convenient. Having a second vehicle in the house for long trips is nice too. But I've probably traded cars with my wife out of necessity 2 or 3 times in a year.

It is an odd looking car, but every design decision was made to decrease drag, which is very important for range at highway speeds. I'm ok with function over form and I don't care what strangers think. The front and back seats are comfortable for normal sized adults, and there is plenty of cargo space in the back.

If you're in the market for a car that's going to spend a majority of its time going to and from work and short trips around town, you should really give the Leaf a test drive.

Re:It's a great car (1)

ananamouse (943446) | about 5 months ago | (#46816499)

>Having a second vehicle in the house for long trips is nice too. But I've probably traded cars with my wife out of necessity 2 or 3 times in a year.
That is why I have a Volt. When I need to drive 600 miles I just go. During the week I make it to work and back with a little to spare on nuclear and dirty coal.

And the point about shifting and noise is *RIGHT ON* I had forgotton how nice classical music was but now that I can listen to it again it is really a great bonus.

Another plus is the Voilt makes the Prius look like a mud fence. I know because my son-in-law parked his Prius next to my Volt one day and made that comment.

None on the Dealer Lots (1)

repetty (260322) | about 5 months ago | (#46816103)

The biggest improvement that Nissan could make to the Leaf, at least in Austin, Texas, is to actually have a couple units on the dealer's lots.

Last time I visited a Nissan dealer, they just had Leaf brochures.

Nissan: learn from Detroit's Old Dream Machines (2, Interesting)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about 5 months ago | (#46816153)

Look - you wanna sell a jillion Nissan Leafs? Make the look like THIS [conceptcarz.com] , and I would buy one in a fuckin' heartbeat. Electric cars don't have to look like lumpy golf carts.

Re:Nissan: learn from Detroit's Old Dream Machines (2)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 5 months ago | (#46816201)

Driving a spaceship down the street would be cool. But being able to fit 4 adults and some luggage is important too.

Re:Nissan: learn from Detroit's Old Dream Machines (1)

q4Fry (1322209) | about 5 months ago | (#46816343)

They don't parallel park where you live, do they? ;-)

Re:Nissan: learn from Detroit's Old Dream Machines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46816451)

Look - you wanna sell a jillion Nissan Leafs? Make the look like THIS [conceptcarz.com] , and I would buy one in a fuckin' heartbeat. Electric cars don't have to look like lumpy golf carts.

No offense, but that car looks like a space-age Reliant Robin [wikipedia.org] waiting to happen.

Re:Nissan: learn from Detroit's Old Dream Machines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46816495)

3 wheels? That's not a car, that's a motorcyle. (At least according to the laws in several states)

Re:Nissan: learn from Detroit's Old Dream Machines (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about 5 months ago | (#46816561)

It has 4 wheels. The front two are very close together.

Disregarding range, is this actually cheaper? (1)

Torp (199297) | about 5 months ago | (#46816189)

Considering the price premium on electrics, and that this is a daily commute car not a long holiday trip car, it's probably far more economical to get a small, gas powered car.
As your second car.
I live in a country smaller than a lot of US states, and it's still too big to use something with 150 miles of range on holidays. So you can't even consider it as the first car. Or what am I supposed to do, stop in halfway and recharge for 8 hours?

Re:Disregarding range, is this actually cheaper? (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 5 months ago | (#46816449)

Yup, just did this - replaced my '99 Altima (had 215k on the engine, still a good car but I have young kids and didn't want to risk being stuck with them) and got a 2013 Nissan Versa, just under $14k after all taxes, tag, etc.

Full tank of gas cost me $35 last night (and gas was $3.82 where I stopped), I can go almost 400 miles on that.

I would have to test drive it first. Duh. (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 5 months ago | (#46816223)

It looks pretty cramped, but looks can be deceiving. I friend of mine got a Hyundai Veloster. It's a tiny little car, but once inside it's a remarkable vehicle. My friend is also nearly seven-feet tall. The car handles very nicely, and handling is important. It uses gas, but easily gets fifty-miles to the gallon. That's almost as good as electric for me. Not to mention it handles itself very well in the snow which is important where I live. With options he paid ~$30,000. It worked out so well his wife got one.

Nissan only listening to some responses (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 5 months ago | (#46816227)

The Tesla is not mind-numbingly depressing to drive, while the leaf is. The Tesla does not inspire people to laugh at you when you drive by, while the leaf does. Expanding the driving range for the leaf is a great start, now make a car that is enjoyable to drive and doesn't look like a child's toy.

3 more expensive than a normal car, but worse (1)

tp1024 (2409684) | about 5 months ago | (#46816283)

$30,000 for a car that is equivalent to a $10,000 car that can be fuelled in minutes and has essentially unlimited range. If I get my imperial units right, you can by some 5000 gallons of fuel for this price ($4 per gallon seems to be the high end in the US) and drive about 200.000 miles @ 40mpg. And of course electricity isn't free either. The 50,000 kWh you need to drive this distance will cost you at least $5000 plus the price of at least one new set of batteries which are probably in the $10,000 range.

You may contemplate the numbers much more thoroughly than I did, while waiting a couple of ours for your Leaf or Tesla to charge up.

Price (1)

neminem (561346) | about 5 months ago | (#46816339)

Nissan Leaf MSRP: about $29k, according to Google. The car I drive, which I bought new a few years ago but google indicates a new 2014 is still about the same price: about $18k. *There's* your big reason: ignoring range, even at half the price of the Tesla, electrics cars are still crazy expensive.

Will they make it detachable? (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 5 months ago | (#46816373)

Will they pack the extra battery in its own tiny frame, that attaches to the front (or the back) of the car? I could easily imagine a two anchor point connection to the car with one central rubber wheel on the other side. The pack should be around 24 inches long, full car wide, and may be 30 inches tall. It should hug the car very close, and probably have about 12 inches of ground clearance. The central wheel should be pivoted. The anchor to the car also would have horizontal pins to allow freedom to swing up/down to take the bumps in the road. The push-packs (or the pull-packs) fully charged should be available at battery rentals. Rent one when you want to go far. Or buy one and leave it in the garage when you don't need it. Why haul the heavy extra battery on days when you don't need them?

In an ideal world the anchor points and the battery interface would be standardized and third party companies will come up with the push/pull pack battery rentals. But I expect every manufacturer to come up with proprietary non-interchangeable walled gardens of batteries, connections etc.

Problems with Electric (1)

q4Fry (1322209) | about 5 months ago | (#46816467)

Four or five years ago, I bought an efficient, reliable compact car. I hoped (and still do) that it would last me for 15 years, and that the next car I bought would not use fossil fuels.

My family has another vehicle, but we usually take my car for size and efficiency. The holdups we would have to buying an electric (sooner than later) are:

  • There are no chargers at our apartment building. Even if there were, people fighting over parking spaces would render them moot until most of the spaces had chargers.
  • The up-front cost is just too high right now. I paid off the last car in a few years.* My petrol bill isn't high enough to justify nixing it for a car payment at the current plug-in prices.

We don't have range-anxiety because of the other vehicle, and frankly none of us drives much anyway. We just wouldn't be able to charge the car in our quasi-urban living situation (which rather disappoints me).

* This has led to some amusement when the dealership calls and asks if I want to trade up to a newer model "for the same or lower monthly payment." Apparently they are unwilling to give me a new car for free.

Re:Problems with Electric (1)

q4Fry (1322209) | about 5 months ago | (#46816501)

Side Note: Fix your CSS, Slashdot. <ul>s should not look ridiculous in this day and age.

Range Anxiety and Sheep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46816483)

For supposedly smart people, you're a bunch of farking sheep.

You realize that "Range Anxiety" is like the "Big Bang Theory" in that it's completely valid and someone in marketing is just trying to mock something they don't want you to believe in, right?

It's not anxiety; some (most) people are accustomed to refueling their primary mode of transportation in under 10 minutes. We have *ALL* had to stop and pay too much for gas, or stop when we're really late for work because we didn't plan exactly right.

Cut the range in half, multiply the time by 3 (I'll be generous here). It's not Anxiety, it's a LIMITATION.

It's not just raw range, refueling matters as well (1)

eepok (545733) | about 5 months ago | (#46816567)

I work in Sustainable Transportation (more on modes, less on fuel types) and every time I talk to an EV owner, they all admit to having a fully separate gasoline-powered vehicle for long distance trips OR they integrate some form of car rental. Why? Because charging takes too long and they can't drive from Orange County to San Francisco in any EV on the market.

When EVs hit zero charge, they're done for 4 hours. That's not acceptable for most travelers.

"But Level III chargers are coming!" -- No they're not. They're a pipe dream to sell EVs, but will not ever materialize but for the Tesla owners nearby. They're expensive (to build and thus to use), taxing on the grid, and no one's willing to actually invest in them for financially sustainable public use.

EV adoption due to range and charge anxiety will continue to be a problem until either battery swapping is perfected or until another fuel source is adopted.

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