Nissan Leaf Details Revealed in National Tour

Nissan Leaf in Walnut Creek

The Nissan Leaf on display in Walnut Creek, Calif., on Nov. 24, 2009.

The national tour for the all-electric Nissan Leaf continues to make its way across the country. We were able to see the five-seat 100-mile-range car yesterday in Walnut Creek, California—a few days before it arrives at the 2009 San Francisco International Auto Show. This gave us an opportunity to confirm a few key points, and discover one or two others.

  • Priced Like Fully Loaded Prius

    The Nissan Leaf’s price—still not official—will be “about the same as a fully loaded Toyota Prius,” which means low-$30,000s. Only one package will be available, also fully loaded. No leather seats; the standard package features seats made from eco-friendly materials. (The Leaf is expected to qualify for a $7,500 tax credit.)

  • Battery Leasing

    No definite word yet on battery leasing, but it looks likely. In other words, a portion of the purchase price will come off the top, and be financed in a lease to cover the 24 kilowatt-hour battery pack. The goal is to alleviate consumer concerns about battery longevity. If anything goes wrong with the leased battery, Nissan owns it—so the company replaces it. At the end of the lease, you can upgrade to a better battery, if it’s available at that time.

  • Pre-Order in February. Wait for a Year.

    Pre-orders, with a “modest” deposit, will begin about February 2010. The first 5,000 cars go to the five markets participating in a Department of Energy project: Phoenix/Tucson, San Diego, Portland/Salem/Eugene (OR), Seattle, Nashville/Knoxville. Folks in other market will wait for their car to arrive in 2011. At that point, customers with deposits will take their first test drive, and decide whether or not to complete the transaction.

  • Dramatic Lighting

    When viewed up close and personal, the design of the prototype on tour—one of only two in the world—is gorgeous. The most prominent features are the curved vertical strip of LED-powered taillights, and the prominent raised headlights—designed to reduce wind noise and resistance by splitting and redirecting airflow away from the windows.

  • State-of-Charge Indicator Lights

    Three small charge-indicator lights on the top of the dashboard allow drivers to quickly glance at the car from the outside to see the state of charge—roughly one-third, two-third, or full (based on the number of lights). That’s an extremely convenient and useful feature.

  • Inconvenient Spot for 110-volt Charging

    The charging port at the nose of the car allows for 220-volt and 440-volt rapid charging. But what about so-called “opportunity charging” from a standard 110-volt source? It’s possible, but the inlet is on the underbelly of the vehicle near the rear right wheel. Full-charge time at 220V is four to eight hours, while the 110V is 16 to 18 hours. So, the 110V is not the ideal choice, but the awkward location will require you to reach under the car.
    Correction – Dec. 1: The same port that handles 22-volt charging will accommodate 110-volt charges.

That’s all for now, until we get a chance behind the wheel of the Leaf mule next week. Stay tuned.

More Hybrid News...

  • shopa

    The less an electric vehicle weighs, the better its range.
    The kinetic energy required to get up to a given speed is a function of weight.

    Because batteries have much less energy per pound than gasoline, electric vehicles cannot be as heavy as gasoline powered cars.

    Lighter cars do not do well in collisions. They have less steel to absorb the collision energy. The collision death rate of micro vehicles is double that of mid size vehicles.

    I have invented a way to make vehicles lighter and safer at the same time. Please help me promote this patent pending invention.

    My website is

  • sean t

    Why the USA still keeps 110 V voltage? Switch to 220/240V with the world and you don’t have to go under the car.

  • RandalH

    @sean t

    All American homes that I know of have 220V coming into the electrical panel. Either 110V or 220V circuits can then be run from this panel as needed. Low demand circuits (lighting and normal electrical outlets) are run as 110V. Higher demand circuits (ovens, dryers, heat/air) are run as 220V. I do woodworking and all the machines in my garage are wired as 220V.

    However, if anything, the movement here in the US is toward lower voltages (12V), especially for lighting as LEDs become more cost effective.

  • john iv

    Why so much difference for the “fill up” in the 220V? 4-8 hours seems a big margin. Does anyone know why such a big difference? And what about 440V? What times are we looking at then? Can a home be wired for 440V? Or are we looking at “fill up” stations will only be available in 440V? Sorry for all the questions, but this car looks great! I would love to own one. Can’t wait to hear more about the car.

  • AP

    Is anyone else tired of seeing “zero-emission” on EV’s and fuel-cell cars? Especially when we are increasingly concerned about global conditions, why only talk about local emissions? As another article pointed out, with coal-fired plants, the CO2 emissions created by the car are comparable to a gasoline powered car. They just might be emitted (downwind) at the power plant in Arizona, rather than California. Doesn’t do much for visibility at the Grand Canyon.

  • Mr.Bear

    Carbon emissions from a coal fired plant to charge an EV are about half those for a gas ICE. Better than half if you charge during non-peak hours. Check the archived stories.

    Let’s see, for me…. I work a 10.5 hour day. I have a 30 – 45 minute commute on both ends of that. So there’s 11.5 to 12 hours away from my charging socket. That means at 110Volts, the best I’ll ever get is 2/3 of a charge a night during the week.

    Why even offer the 110 Volt option if it takes 16 to 18 hours? And the location reminds me of the cars you have to remove the front tires to replace the spark plugs, only you’d be doing it every night.

    My main concern, though, is cold weather charging. What percentage of range will be lost in cold weather?

  • AP

    Mr. Bear, my point is that “half as much” is not “zero.” Either the phrase “zero-emission” is a lie, or else global warming doesn’t exist.

    The only thing worse than the zero-emission crap is “partial-zero emissions.” What on earth does that mean?

  • sean t


    If the electricity is generated by wind or hydropower or solar, then it can be considered “zero emission”. And electricity we use is generated from more than one source including oil products, hence may be the phrase “partial-zero emissions”?

  • Michael in Minnesota

    The vehicle itself produces no emissions. As we move toward more clean energy sources (wind, solar, nuclear), less emissions will be produced by the energy source.

    Battery power and life of charge is normally affected significantly by temperature – so colder climates will result in lower battery function. I don’t know if Nissan will provide actual test results, but hopefully an independent testing group will conduct cold weather tests and report on them.

    I am disappointed in the battery charge time. I would have estimated that the 220V charge option would have charged the battery much more quickly. It is extremely important the vehicle can be charged during the off-peak electrical hours (10 pm – 6 am) to a full charge. Drivers should expect a fully charged car in the morning.

    This truly could be a revolutionary car. I am excited for its production.

  • Anonymous

    Mr Bear

    it’s probably assuming charging stations would be made available at employment parking as you work. However, this also brings up another concern. The combined cars charging during work time is bound to spike the grid demand during the high demand hours.

  • AP

    sean t, the average likelihood of the electricity for an electric car to be powered by wind or solar is less than 1%. Most electric plants are coal-powered (we should be using way more nuclear power).

    Michael in Minnesota, the emissions at the power plant ARE directly caused by the charging of an electric car. If you didn’t charge it, the electric plant would burn less coal. This makes it a “Remote Emission Vehicle,” not a Zero Emission Vehicle.

    And if we do move toward cleaner electricity sources like wind and solar, we will spend so much on the electricity that we will not be able to afford electric cars. The investment cost for wind or solar is so high per kW, they will never compete with conventional power plants. Especially when it’s cloudy or night time (for solar) or there is no wind. To make up for that you need to spend twice as much on infrastructure, and hope that it’s windy at night.

  • Peter in PDX

    AP gives a typical red-herring argument; a typical nay-sayer. My electricity is 100% renewable offset and I pay about 1cent/kWh extra. Here in the Pacific Northwest wind energy is competing quite well. I can only assume that AP works for the coal industry and wants to keep people using coal, hence the use of his F.U.D.

  • Eric

    I think the 110v is hidden because that would be used when parked in public spaces and keeping it discreet would lessen the likelyhood of having someone tamper with it while charging. I could be wrong, just a guess, but it seems logical.

  • nycsolar

    To those of you disappointed by the battery charge time… You need to understand that the charge time is relative to the capacity of the battery. The Leaf’s 24kwh battery is huge. Most houses ust 10-15 kwh a day. Check your electric bill. The power stored in a Leaf’s battery is pretty substantial. 24 kwh =24000 watts x hours… which is equal to 110 volts at 15 amps for 14.54 hours. Normal household power lines are wired for about 15 amps. Some are wired for 20-30 amps, and a 30 amp line would cut charging time in half.
    A good analogy would be like filling a large pool with water. Filling time depends on how fast you can get the water coming in. Volts would be similar to the thickness of the hose you’re using. And amps would be similar to the speed at which the water is moving in the hose.
    As for normal drivers, 110 volt charging is probably fine 90% of the time. Most people drive no more than 50 miles in each direction, probably using 1/3-1/2 the capacity of the battery. Then they stay (at home or at work) for several hours. At 15 amps, they could recharge about 1/2 the capacity in 7 hours. Then they’d be ready to go.

  • nycsolar

    As for AP’s infrastructure argument… 110 volt power is available everywhere that buildings exist in the usa. 220 volt power is also readily available in most homes and almost all businesses. Most of the infrastructure is there. That’s why we have computers in everyhome and business, electric lights, ovens, etc.
    How much infrastructure is necessary to transport oil, refine it to gas, distribute it to gas stations and the real estate necessary for all those gas stations, pumps, storage tanks, etc.? How much energy is used to deliver oil from the ground to the pump at your car? No one mentions this….
    Renewable energy can and is often installed on-site, removing the need for infrastructure to transport energy long distances (resulting in significant losses). Since Renewable energy (wind and solar) is very scalable, and not dirty, there is no legitimate concern about Not In My BackYard. In fact people think… Right on top of my house.
    While upgrades to infrastructure can help with the distribution of renewable energy (actually all energy).. It is not absolutely necessary. We can all buy the equipment to power our vehicles with an investment similar to the price of a car. Solar panels (photovoltaics) run about $4-5 watt.

  • Mr.Bear

    AP, coal fired plants operate at 90% capacity even when demand is 50% or less. It’s easier for them to maintain the same output than to ramp up and down. Besides, they don’t want to risk being too low on production because that could cause an outage.

    If you charge during off peak hours you are using the surplus energy and the carbon emissions would have been made regardless if you were charging or not.

    Summary: Electric cars, themselves, are zero emission. The plant is not but has the same emissions at off peak hours regardless of if you are charging.

    Fuell Cells, though, are not zero emission. They emit water vapor, which is a greenhouse gas.

  • I am stupid

    No car is zero-emissions… humans naturally pass gass. Humans drive cars = cars pass gas.

  • AP

    Peter in PDX, I admire what you’re doing, but you prove my point when you say “MY electricity is 100% solar.” Yours may be, but CO2 emissions are a global problem, and individual efforts do little to help, when the other 99+% of electric cars will not be using renewable sources for a very long time. You may say that wind power is competitive in the Northwest, but how much subsidy are they getting? And since you can’t rely on wind, you still need to build (and pay for) conventional powerplants to fill in. As far as working for the coal industry, I don’t know where you’d get that, since I criticize people who think they are putting out no emissions when hooked up to a coal-powered plant (you might want to read a bit closer). I’m for anybody who can afford it to use renewable energy-it’s just that it’s out of reach for most people.

    nycsolar, my infrastructure argument does not dispute the availability of 110 V electricity (I have noticed these 3-pronged outlets in my house that greatly simplify my life), but the availability of electricity from renewable sources. You can’t pretend to be producing zero CO2 emissions just because your electric car COULD run on renewable sources, any more than a vehicle that COULD run on E85. You suggest that you can buy the solar equipment to charge your car (for the price of another car), but not everybody’s car is home during the day (most commuting cars are not). So you end up buying an electric car for twice the price of a comparably sized gasoline-powered car, plus the solar panels for a total of 3X, for something that won’t work for most people.

    Mr. Bear, I think you ar misinterpretting the term “capacity” when you say that “If you charge during off peak hours you are using the surplus energy and the carbon emissions would have been made regardless if you were charging or not.” A power plant is sized for when its load is maximum, usually during the day in the summer when everybody runs A/C. That means the power company (and you as a customer) need to pay for building a plant that can handle the “peak load.” The peak ouput in mega-watts is its capacity.

    When the plant is running at off-peak times, it is putting out less electricity than it could make, but it is not burning anywhere near the coal (or whatever the fuel) as it would at peak load.

    It is true that a SINGLE steam turbine driving an electric generator is inefficient at part load, but a power plant runs many turbines that can each be shut off when demand drops, and brought back on and synchronized with the others when needed. So each of the operating turbines runs near capacity, and is very efficient.

    So when you charge an electric car from the wall, you are directly causing the load to go up at the plant and directly causing emissions there, just as surely as if you burned gasoline in your own car. This is true even off-peak.

    The advantage in charging off-peak is avoiding the need to build a bigger, higher capacity plant (which reduces the infrastructure needed), but it does not reduce the emissions from your particular car to zero. So (back to my original point) the term zero emissions is false, misleading, and, from a global viewpoint, preposterous, unless the power source is 100% renewable, which no powerplants are. I wish the government had never come up with the term ZEV, but the governemnt is full of lawyers, not engineers (like me).

    There is a simple, safe, power source that does create zero CO2, whose power is available 24/7: nuclear power. Newer plants have 10% of the waste of the older ones. The emotional “Jane-Fonda” types have scared a gullible American public out of nuclear power for far too long. And don’t worry Peter in PDX, I don’t work for them either. I just want what’s best for the planet.

  • ex-EV1 driver

    While I agree that an EV is only as clean as its energy source, it is still orders of magnitude better than anything else we know of.
    Per Nissan, it takes 7 kWh of electricity to produce a gallon of gasoline. I’ve seen other similar estimates. This means that you can leave the gasoline from an ICE car in the ground and and EV can just take the electricity used to refine and produce it to run.
    As others have wisely pointed out, EVs can run extremely efficiently from nearly any energy source and we’ll be having to tap into other energy sources as our petroleum supplies run low.
    You’ll also be surprised how badly people want to get residential solar panels installed as soon as they’re driving EVs.

  • ex-EV1 driver

    “Partial Zero Emissions” was a phrase coined by the California Air Resources Board in collaboration with the auto manufacturers to save face when they were watering down the Zero Emission Vehicle mandate in the late 1990s. It is a sham but it enabled the auto industry to justify destruction of the production EV fleet of the 1990s in California.

  • ex-EV1 driver

    Let me try to help people understand charging speed. The charging speed depends on the power (Watts) that you give the car. The power (Watts) comes from the voltage (Volts) and the current (Amps) is actual the two multiplied together:
    Watts = Volts X Amps.
    In the US, the standard voltages are 440V, 240V, 208V, and 120V although residences generally only have 240 or 120 volts. The current is a different thing that depends on the thickness of the wire going to the street and the circuit breakers to the circuit. This is why there is a lot of confusion.
    A typical electric clothes dryer uses 240V at 30 Amps (7.2 kWatt) while a standard electrical outlet is rated for 120V at 12 Amps (1.4 kWatt).
    The Leaf can charge at about 4 miles per KWatt charging. This means that using a normal household outlet, you’ll go about 5 miles for every hour that you charge. In an 8 hour night, you’ll be able to charge the car for about 30 miles of driving the next day. For more distance the next day, you’ll need more power so I recommend you go up to 240V charging.
    The Leaf should eventually be able to charge at 240V, 20Amps or about 25 miles per hour. In 8 hourse of overnight charging, you’ll be able to drive 200 miles (except, of course, that the Leaf only holds 100 miles of range.
    If, for some reason (like thin wiring in your house), you can only charge at 240V, 16 Amps. You will be able to charge the Leaf fully overnight if you can provide this.
    I doubt that there will be any motivation to install fast, 440V charging at home but it could be very useful on the highway at public charging stations.
    Here’s a summary table of standard voltages and best-case charging time estimates for the Leaf:
    240V 70A 67 miles per hour (The Tesla supports this)
    208V 70A 58 miles per hour (some CA public chargers do this)
    240V 40A 38 miles per hour (RV parks usually provide this)
    208V 30A 24 miles per hour (old CA public chargers do this)
    240V 24A 23 miles per hour (standard dryer outlet)
    240V 16A 15 miles per hour (gets the job done but barely)
    120V 16A 7 miles per hour (barely works)
    120V 12A 5 miles per hour (only for emergencies)
    note: you mathematicians will note that my numbers aren’t exact. I rounded down conveniently.
    Charging times will also vary with temperature and some other factors. Chargin speed will probably slow down as the battery approaches full so these estimates will be low for a full charge. Often times air conditioning will be required during charging to keep the battery temperatures cool enough to charge. This will slow down the charge rate.

  • sean t

    Now I know that AP is pro-nuke. Nuke produces no CO2, is available 24/7 but safe? How safe? Even if it’s much safer than other powerplants, an accident at a nuke plant would be a disaster (remember Chernobyl?), and where to dispose the waste? “Not in my backyard” is what many people who are pro-nuke say because they know that nothing is 100% safe, even space shuttles. Nuke power plant can’t be excluded.

    Yeah, you can build more nuke power-plants, but “Not in my backyard”, as usual.

  • AP

    sean t, you said “now I know that AP is pro-nuke” as if it were a bad thing! I haven’t ever worked in that industry, but I’m an engineer and I know the basics of it. You probably could too.

    If you care about the planet, and are anti-global warming, you need an alternative energy source (that works). You should really research nuclear power before you bring up Chernobyl, because

    1) it was an obselete design, never used in the US, that used graphite (which is flammable) to control the nuclear reaction,
    2) it blew up because the Soviet-era controls didn’t have adequate fail-safes, and some unauthorized idiot over-rode the controls, overheating the reactor,
    3) the pressure in the reactor caused an explosion (not a nuclear explosion, a steam explosion) that exposed the nuclear fuel and the flammable graphite,
    4) a huge fire erupted and spread the radiocative material, requiring heroic people to sacrifice their lives to cover the remnants and seal it.

    None of these can happen in modern plants. Of course, thing can go wrong, but running the Chernobyl plant was like driving a car with open buckets of gasoline on the seats. If anything went wrong….

    Because of idiots like Jane Fonda in the 1970’s when the Three-Mile Island accident occurred, we have scared ourselves out of a technology that would have avoided global warming at an affordable cost. Yes, you can thank environmentalists for global warming!

    My physics professor was at the hearings after the accident, and after hearing Jane Fonda rant about the dangers of nuclear power (as if she knew anything), he asked her how she had traveled there. When she said she’d flown by plane, he said, “Do you know that you were exposed to more radiation by being in the upper atmosphere during your plane flight than anyone was at Three-Mile Island?” Of course, that didn’t affect the opinion in her prejudiced head. At TMI, many things went wrong, but the controls worked, and no one was hurt.

    As far as the “Not in my back yard” argument, large solar panels in the desert are under fire for anti-environmentalism, and windmills are under fire for making too much noise near residences and keeping people up at night.

    The only reason we don’t have a nuclear waste site is because the issue has become so emotional. So instead of contaminating a mile deep hole in a desert, we warm the planet and melt glaciers. Great alternative.

    Some people on this site might think I’m not open-minded, but actually, I am. I’m just looking at the releative merits of different technologies without “falling in love” with any, or being irrationally scared of any. At least I can justify my statements.

    I wish people would stop having “knee-jerk” reactions to things they don’t understand, because other people reading their comments might believe them! I’m afraid Americans have gotten away from actually studying and understanding things.

    I have been watching these technologies for about 30 years, and if you look at relative risks, nuclear was and is the way to go. So, now you do know I’m pro-nuke. And?

  • ex-EV1 driver

    Good points on the emotional baggage associated with nuclear. I, for one don’t see Fusion as being a long term solution to our energy problems, simply because it is not sustainable. There is only so much fissionable material in the world and it will eventually run out. It also takes a lot of energy to process fissionable materials so they are useful making the energy return much less than it appears.
    As a short term solution, however, nuclear seems like one of the many ways to go except that it takes plug-in vehicles for it to help with our transportation needs.

  • sean t


    You should justify why solar panels in the desert is anti-environment. Is it backed by science or by some crazy people like Jane Fonda?

    As NOTHING is 100% safe, a nuke power-plant may be 100 times safer than a coal power-plant but if accident happens, the damage is 1000 times more severe.

    About disposal of nuke waste, some countries still pay money for others to bury the waste for them. Why not burying in their own back yard?

  • hamilton

    Excellent dialog. The main point is, the impending sale of the Leaf and other PHEV/BEVs is shifting the debate to a healthy and overdue discussion about how “best” to generate energy to power our homes AND our vehicles. Meantime, I can’t WAIT until the Leaf “Zero Emissions” Tour) shows up in my neck of the woods (middle Tennessee), in mid-January.

    Unless we collectively decide to meet 50+% of (rising) electricity demand from burning coal (and let our grandkids bake), then “all of the above” – nuclear, wind, solar, energy efficiency, even tidal and geothermal – is the only responsible answer. Not either/or, but all of the above, as quickly as possible.

    It’d be great if his could take place on an even playing field that fairly accounts for direct & indirect subsidies (AP – don’t forget about Price-Anderson & Yucca Mountain when you’re rightly citing tax incentives, rebates and carve-outs for the intermittent RE sources). Too much to ask. But the subsidies should at least be transparent!

  • jake

    The “zero emissions” term is obviously referring to tailpipe emissions. The ZEV (zero emissions vehicle) mandate was mainly created to address smog issues that come directly from tailpipe emissions. And the Partial ZEV term (which understandably sounds like BS) was basically what ex-EV1 driver says, to help CARB save face.

    I think more than a few people are aware there are emissions associated with electricity, and the powerplant emissions are commonly mentioned when EVs are discussed. For hydrogen on the other hand, it might be more of an issue since people see hydrogen as fuel, unlike electricity, which most people see as a carrier.

    As for the solar/wind energy vs nuclear, I tend to like the solar/wind energy more. I get all the benefits of nuclear, but like most people, I still don’t like having to find a place to bury the waste. With solar panels, I can install on my own roof and be relatively energy independent. The only down side is longevity, which should be improving. For larger scale, solar thermal is also looking quite good. As for the base load, it is still a question mark. Energy storage, whether it is batteries (there might be a decent used battery market) or hydrogen might solve that issue, but in the meantime, natural gas or nuclear seems to be the better choices.

    @sean t
    I think he’s talking about conservationists who say solar panels in the desert will affect wildlife.

  • AP

    Thanks for the comments.

    ex-EV1 driver, I agree that fusion will probably not be viable anytime soon, if ever. The containment problems seem too great.

    sean t, the complaint about solar panels (which I figured was coming) is that they destroy the animal habitat by cooling the ground and air in the desert. This may be overblown (I don’t know), but the point is that no energy source is without issues. We need to pick out which disadvantages we are willing to accept, along with the benefits.

    hamilton, good points about the nuclear waste disposal. We need to find a good, stable, long-term storage ponit for it. The recent reductions in the amount of nuclear waste per kW-h means we wouldn’t need nearly the room the waste for new nuclear plants.

    jake, I agree that the “zero-emissions” refers to what comes out of the tailpipe (or lack of one). My complaint is the inconsistency of our governments (state and Federal). On one hand, they want to “solve” global warming with CAFE requirements (rather than a more effective shift from income tax to fuel tax), recognizing that emissions have an impact, no matter where they are emitted. On the other hand, they call an electric car “zero-emissions,” implying it has no ill effects. Which is it? I should know better than to expect government to not be hypocritical, but I would hope that the auto-makers would stop using the term.

  • ex-EV1 driver

    The reason CAFE is popular is that up until now, it has been easily subverted by the auto manufacturers. The last CAFE was completely ineffective because of the “Flex Fuel” loophole that was big enough to drive an H2 through.
    All a manufacturer had to do was put a fuel sensor on the fuel line to determine if E85 was in the fuel in order to adjust the mixture. This fuel sensor cost less than $10.
    The joke, however, was that if someone actually burned mostly E58, much of the cheap, normal, fuel system would rust out. The auto manufacturers assumed that for that very very small percent who actually burned E85, they’d just swap out the fuel system for a more expensive ethanol-capable one. For the rest of the people with “Flex Fuel” vehicles, it would just be business as usual.
    Having the “Flex Fuel” badge (and cheap fuel sensor) gave the manufacturers huge CAFE credit so they really didn’t have to do anything different from before.
    Of course, we also know that ethanol production from corn is so energy intensive that it, in itself, is mostly a sham as well.

  • AP

    ex-EV1 driver, you’re exactly right. There is a strong tendency for politicians to use bold words to make it look like they are doing something, while in reality it is ineffective. I am naturally skeptical of them, and also look out for unintended consequences, such as when the lower CAFE requirements for trucks drove people out of large cars and into trucks, creating the SUV market.

  • ex-EV1 driver

    I’ve got to agree with you there. 1st CAFE hurt fuel economy because it drove people from cars to trucks, 2nd CAFE maintained this status quo. I wonder how this next CAFE is going to screw things up?
    What I like about EVs is that the deeper I’ve been digging, the better they look. They only get better over time as we move on to renewable energy sources. They can run off of nearly any renewable energy source and they can be used for load stabilizing of intermittent sources.

  • Tom Hilton


    What about oblique impacts? Have you done any work to investigate the percentage of impacts that would be sufficiently perpendicular to not jam the slides?

  • Tom Hilton

    Auto manufacturers like EV because it shifts the carbon issue off them and onto power companies.

  • Hans

    Hear, hear. In Seattle my electricity is carbon-neutral (mostly from hydro) and this tired argument about pushing the problem around simply doesn’t apply.

  • RT

    Forty years ago I was rabidly anti-nuclear. I’ve softened a lot with age. Forty years ago I hadn’t given a thought to global warming. Now I consider it the most pressing issue the world faces — more pressing than nuclear bombs or world hunger or overpopulation, all of which are very serious.

    I am strongly in favor of expanding solar as fast as we can, but I don’t think there is any way it can be done fast enough, or pushed far enough, to come close to replacing fossil fuels. Nuclear power could replace virtually all use of fossil fuels for generating electricity within twenty years if we were to start now.

    But I’ve got caveats. Solar arrays in the desert? I’m not into desert ecosystems the way some are, so that doesn’t bother me too much. But … getting that power to where it can be used can turn out to be a major problem. Nuclear waste? Sure, we’ve got to address it eventually, but it builds up pretty slowly, and we have containment technology good for fifty years or more. But … I’ve heard knowledgeable people argue that cement production is a major contributor to global warming, and nuclear facilities use massive amounts of concrete. Of course that also applies to large hydroelectric plants, another “carbon neutral” energy source.

    There really are no simple answers. … Well, there is one. ICE vehicles mean hundreds of millions of carbon sources to be shut down in the future. Electric vehicles mean the carbon sources are centralized and can be corrected without requiring action by hundreds of millions of consumers.