12.04.2009 - by Marc Geller
LEAF looking fine in San Jose

LEAFSantanaRow The Nissan LEAF has been on tour in California the past few weeks. CEO Carlos Ghosn appeared at the inaugural presentation in LA, attesting to the electric car’s centrality to Nissan’s vision of our automotive future. I saw the car, kept safely behind the velvet rope, in an upscale San Jose shopping center, Santana Row, this afternoon. The LEAF is distinctive enough to stand out, while remaining a mainstream Japanese sedan. The car on display showed off its dual charger inlets – one for the new standard plug which will be capable of 120 volt or 240 volt charging; the other for DC fast charging. While the first cars delivered in areas with fast chargers will have both inlets, not all cars will. DC/Fast charge capability will probably become an option after the initial rollout.

The car will be on display there for the next few days. Then it’s off to Seattle. More information on the tour here.

LEAFmule While the LEAF stayed put on a pedestrian island at the mall, five flights up in the parking garage, it’s electric heart beat in a “mule,” a test vehicle that which I got to drive once around a short track. Bottom line: the car is fine. Quick off the line, corners well, better than good enough. A lot like my RAV4 EV in the ways that matter. Fair’s fair: I let one of the Nissan folks drive my RAV4 EV. He seemed to think it a pretty good car, too. I look forward to taking LEAF for a real drive one of these days.

[Photos: Marc Geller]

4 comments on “LEAF looking fine in San Jose”
  1. Anonymous says:

    Money wise this is a great car to have on your garage. With the escalating oil prices continues its way up this is a great car to have! Electric vehicles are not so expensive to maintain coz there are always available nissan parts whenever you get in trouble! Looking at the future cars will no longer run on petrol and all we gonna have are charging stations.

  2. Paul Scott says:

    I’m glad you caught that, Ray. We queried Nissan on how they arrived at that number and got no response. Well, they did talk to us, but couldn’t document it. My contact there said they’d probably stop using it until or unless they can confirm it.

    And to answer Mark Clifford’s question about how they can convince Nissan to include LA in the initial rollout of the Leaf, my answer is to call Nissan’s local dealers and tell them you want one. Then get your friends to do the same thing. It’s easy and it works.

  3. Ray Trimble says:

    I saw the LEAF in San Jose, and was impressed. Especially amazing was the amount of trunk space, since I had expected that to be filled with batteries.

    However, they had a group of information boards, one of which had a “fact” I found astonishing. It claimed that producing a gallon of gasoline requires 7.5 KWH of electricity, enough to take the LEAF 30 miles. Horrifying, and at the same time fantastic, if true, but I checked some DOE websites, and unless I’m crazy the numbers work out to between 0.5 and 0.75 KWH per gallon. I’m an avid electric fan, but I think wildly exaggerated claims do us a disservice.

  4. Mark Clifford says:

    What can we do to convince Nissan to include LA area in the initial roll out? My wife, daughter and I all saw the Leaf in Santa Monica a couple of weeks ago, and I now have total family “buy-in” to have it be our next car. Just not sure we can wait until 2012.

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