WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – It costs about 2 cents a mile to operate and runs entirely on battery power. Nissan’s all-electric car called Leaf is indeed a technological wonder. But CBS4 environmental specialist Paul Day found out what happens when the car runs out of juice.
The burst of acceleration is surprising — a lot of power without burning a drop of gas.
“It’s everything that my gas-powered vehicle wasn’t,” Leaf owner Leon Brodie said.
The fossil-fueled engine is gone and replaced by an electric motor. There’s no tailpipe and it’s zero emission.
“I really love this car,” Brodie said.
The Leaf is so new it’s not yet being sold in Colorado. Brodie bought his in California and had it shipped to the Denver area.
“It’s a commuter car, meant for city commuting is what they’re really designed for,” he said.
He’s already logged 5,000 trouble-free miles, except for a day in the mountains when he ran out of juice.
“A little turtle comes on the dash and you only go 5 miles an hour.”
The Leaf eventually coasted to a stop and had to be towed.
“I can tell you there are a lot more plug-ins where I ran out of juice than there are gas stations because this was up in Grand County.”
Recharging a dead battery with the factory-supplied 110 volt cable can take up to 20 hours. Or, for just a few bucks and a quick trip to the hardware store, Brodie built a 220 volt charging system. Now his car can be repowered in just 6 hours.
“It keeps track of all your trips.”
Everything is monitored by computer such as how far he drives and what he pays for power. That’s how he knows the Leaf costs around 2 cents per mile to operate.
Brodie said his purchase price was $23,000 after all the tax breaks.
It’s certainly not an all-purpose car, but it’s easy to understand why one automotive writer called the Leaf a “game changer.”
Nissan is taking deposits and has a waiting list for the Leaf. The first deliveries in the Denver area are expected in January.
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