Nissan Electric Car: 5 Advantages and Disadvantages

February 10, 2012

If you're thinking about purchasing a Nissan electric car, there are many things to consider. Below is a brief list of 5 advantages and disadvantages of owning a Nissan electric car, like the Leaf.

5 Advantages

  • Zero-emissions vehicle - The Leaf isn't a hybrid car, it's completely electric, it has no gasoline or diesel powered engine to supplement for power. Electric vehicles (EV's) utilize no fossil fuels, so there are no emissions whatsoever. EV's have no mufflers, no transmission and no fuel tank systems.
  • Instant power - Electric motors produce 100% of their torque at zero RPM.  What does that mean to you?  Instant acceleration with no lag.  
  • Quiet ride - Since electric cars don't have conventional fossil fuel engines (which utilizes internal combustion for power), they run smoother and quieter. At low speeds, electric vehicles are virtually silent.
  • Streamlined construction, less repair - The engine system for EV's is simple. In comparison to regular automobile engines, EV engines have less parts, less moving parts which can translate to fewer visits to a garage for repairs over the life of the car.
  • The Nissan Leaf battery pack - It consists of positive electrodes of manganese instead of cobalt or nickel, making the cost of the battery cheaper. Additionally, to save on the consumer side, Nissan believes that the right thing to do environmentally is to lease the battery pack to the EV owner. This saves the buyer about $7,000 off the sticker price, and transfers the responsibility of the battery (the performance and recycling of used batteries) to Nissan.
  • Tax credit - Buyers should be able to take advantage of a tax credit in 2011 up to $7,500 for purchasing a new alternative vehicle.

5 Disadvantages

  • Limited traveling radius - On one charge, EV's have a limited amount of miles the vehicle can travel. The Leaf has a higher mileage range than most EV's, at 100 miles. The average American travels about 30 to 35 miles per day for their daily commute, and while that might work for some, longer weekend trips of 40 to 50 miles one way may not eliminate the need for a fossil fuel powered vehicle.
  • Charging - EV's require charging after use. And while that may seem simple and straightforward, if you live in an apartment or don't have a garage or a place where you can plug in to a 220 volt outlet, charging your EV can be a problem. Additionally, the average charge time can be as little as 6 hours to as much as 10 for most EV's. The Leaf has a charge time of about 6 to 8 hours, which can mean charging your car overnight. Again, if you've used your charge, and don't have 6 to 8 hours before you need to use your car again, this can be a big disadvantage to owning an EV.
  • Price - For a Leaf, MSRP starts at about $30,000, which falls in line with most other compact cars. However, when you factor in the convenience of being able to instantly refuel at a gas station as well as the ability to drive for as long and as far as you want with a regular gas or diesel automobile threatens the overall value of EV's.
  • The Leaf's battery lease - While it may seem environmentally conscious and the right thing to do for Nissan to maintain the responsibility of the Leaf's battery pack, leasing it just adds an additional monthly charge to the consumer, a cost of about $125 per month. That amount is comparable to the cost of monthly comprehensive insurance coverage, if not more.
  • Less powerful - Electric cars have less power than cars with fossil fuel engines as a rule. Although EV's have fast acceleration--they have maximum torque from zero rpm, and no need for transmission--drivers who have a need for speed will be disappointed. Most EV's have a maximum speed of about 65 to 70mph. The Leaf electric car tops out at 76mph. While that may keep a driver from speeding violations, it may be a disadvantage to some depending on driving tastes.

Related Questions and Answers

How Does the Price of the Nissan Leaf Compare to Other Electric Cars?

The Suggested price of the Nissan Leaf all electric car is $32,780 for the standard model, and $33, 720 for the SL model. The base model has a number of options, such as solar panel spoiler and a rear view monitor. The Chevy Volt will also have a suggested retail price of $32,780 for the base model. The Volt with a number of options such as rear view package will have a suggested price of $40,000. These two all-electric cars are examples of the economy cars that will be available next year. Currently available this year, is the next generation sports car, the Tesla Roadster. Which is a much more expensive $101,500.

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