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USA: Chevy Volt Vs. Nissan Leaf: Compare Cars

For now, they’re the only two mass-market electric vehicles on the road. So, which one should you buy: the Chevrolet Volt, or the Nissan Leaf?
While both are electric vehicles, there’s an asterisk applied to the Chevy Volt, and for some buyers, the side note could be the deal-maker, not the deal-breaker. While it powers its wheels in almost all circumstances with its batteries and through electric power, the Volt also has a gasoline-powered four-cylinder engine as backup. When the Volt runs out of battery power–it’s good for 25 to 50 miles of electric driving, the EPA says–it uses its gas engine to maintain battery power, while also blending some gas-generated power in, directly to the wheels, in some instances, so the Volt will run more efficiently. The bottom line? The Volt can be operated for more than 300 miles on a single full charge and a single full tank of gasoline.

With the Nissan Leaf, it’s a much more straightforward proposition, and one that requires drivers know a lot more about how they drive and how they intend to use their new electric car. The Leaf runs on battery power alone. Its batteries and motors give it an effective driving range of somewhere between 73 miles and 100 miles, even more if drivers are careful to accelerate slowly and smoothly, and don’t use the Leaf in climate extremes of very hot or very cold weather. Driving the Leaf on medium-speed flat roads, without using air conditioning or heat, or even the radio, can net drivers a total Leaf range of up to 125 miles on a single full charge of the battery.

Just with this much information, some drivers will know which of these cars is perfect for them. Some don’t want to use any oil, period–and others can’t fit their daily driving needs into 100 miles, or may not think they can. But there are other factors that affect how you’ll use these vehicles, one of the most important being carrying passengers. That’s where the Leaf comes out on top: not only is it outfitted for five passengers to the Volt’s four, the Leaf has a more sizable cargo space behind the rear seats, where the Volt’s hatchback has a shallower storage area.


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