On Friday, December 17th, the Nissan LEAF Drive Electric Tour came through Austin, Texas at the Domain shopping center in North Austin. Nissan had set up an enormous exhibit in the parking lot with detailed information about the new Electric car on the block. I was super pumped to be one of the first participants in Texas for this exciting event.
In January 2011, there will be two more stops in Dallas, Texas and Pearland, Texas. If you have the chance to make this event, I highly recommend you sign up now. Details can be found at http://www.drivenissanleaf.com But let's get to the good stuff below:
The Nissan LEAF is 100% electric. What does that mean? Well, for starters, no gas! That's right, no filling up the tank. This car has Zero Emissions to help the environment. The retail price estimated to be about $35,000. However, you will have extra separate cost options on how to "charge" the vehicle's battery. From what I was told, there will be 2 home options to choose from and then 1 for when you are on the road. The first home option would be to buy a separate hand-held charge (kind of looks like a jumper cable) that you can plug into a 220V in your garage, that takes about approx. 20 hours to charge the battery fully. The second home option would be to have a charging station installed by an licensed electrician (extra monetary charge) that could be a removable fixture in your garage but similar to a "gas" tank. See the photos to understand what I'm talking about. You could take it with you if you decide to move/sell your house, or it would be a great marketing tool for the future, if these vehicles take off. Similar to solar panels, you can market your garage as Green option with the plug-in station already installed. This option would take about 8 hours to charge your battery, so you can leave it plugged in while your are sleeping so the car will be fully charged in the morning. The last option would be to drive to some of the city charging stations that would be in and around town, such as at Whole Foods (while you are grocery shopping) and possibly in the near future, Cracker Barrel, for those freeway stops. In fact, the Whole Foods flagship store here in Austin, Texas has one. And you might even see our resident celebrity Lance Armstrong driving his LIVESTRONG Nissan Leaf around the Austin City Limits.
What is the catch? Well for now, the cars are designed to be drivin within the City Limits. Their initial charge only lasts for up to 100 miles. So therefore, this would be a most excellent choice of vehicles for a Realtor like me. Eventually, there are going to be charging stations on most of the heavily driven Interstate highways/freeways like I-10 which runs nearby from San Antonio to Houston and so forth.
p.s. I just recently switched from a 2006 VW Passat to a 2009 Chevy Malibu Hybrid to try and save some gas money. But 100 % electric would be awesome!
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Also, if your curious how my test drive went, and to hear more detailed information about the Nissan LEAF, watch my YouTube video below taken my the lovely marketing rep, Brigette, as she videotapes me driving.