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2012 Nissan LEAF — The EV goes mainstream

I was more than skeptical about Electric Vehicles (EVs) — until I actually drove one. I came away a believer that EVs are the future — not everyone’s — but for a lot of folks. While the automotive industry has seriously experimented with alternative fuels or the past decade, they’ve settled on electricity as the alternative power source.

To clarify the difference between a hybrid and an EV, hybrids, such as the Toyota Prius, run on a combination of gasoline and battery power, while a pure EV is 100 percent battery-powered.

Nissan is committed to EVs — so much so, it now offers an EV cargo van, the NV2500. Nissan has put its money where its mouth is, gambling almost a billion dollars that the LEAF will change our driving habits. And make no mistake, EVs are not just coming — they’re already here and available right now. The high-performance, Tesla sports car and ultra-luxurious Fisker sedan; Ford’s EV version of its Focus; the long-anticipated Chevy Volt; Mitsubishi MiEV; and a plug in version of the Toyota Prius are all available today. More are coming.

Research shows that 90 percent of the U.S. population drives less than 100 miles per day, and 72.4 percent less than 50. Meanwhile, 26.5 percent drive only 5 to 10. On weekends, 66.3 percent drive less than 50 miles and 23.5 percent between 20 and 29. The LEAF has a range of 100 miles on a charge, so, for the typical driver, it will get you there and back.

As the first automaker to actually bring an EV to market, Nissan knew it had to get this right coming out of the starting blocks, because if they stumbled, the viability of EVs would always be questioned.


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