Going Green – The Nissan Leaf

We all hear a lot of talk about “going green,” and whether you believe that there is such a thing as global warming due to mankind’s activities or not, we are all clearly impacted by pollution. If you have ever had the occasion to try to see through the haze of smog that engulfs many of our cities, you don’t have to read any reports or studies because you can see it with your own eyes.

It’s probably safe to say that all of us have some level of concern about the quality of the air that we, and our children and loved ones, are breathing, but even if you didn’t, wouldn’t it be nice to drive a car that cost you zero dollars for gas? It is almost kind of hard to wrap your head around the concept, isn’t it? Well, that possibility has become a reality. Nissan has announced that they are going to begin delivering their all-electric Nissan Leaf late this year, and the car is actually surprisingly affordable at $32,780 plus tax incentives that can bring the cost down to as low as $25,280. Some states offer additional tax savings; California provides a $5,000 tax rebate; Georgia will give you a $5,000 tax credit if you buy a Leaf; and in Oregon a $1,500 tax credit is available.

The Nissan Leaf is capable of going about 100 miles on a single charge, which is more than most people drive on a given day. Buyers have a charger installed at their homes and simply recharge the lithium-ion battery pack when necessary. The car is capable of 90 miles per hour, so there are no limitations in terms of speed on American highways. Nissan states that they are always looking at ways to increase the mileage range, and you can envision the potential for a chain of motels offering charging stations once they get the range up to around 300 or 400 miles. A very cool feature that is offered on the Leaf  is a solar panel on the rear spoiler that will assist in the charging of the vehicle accessory battery; perhaps solar panels will be able to power the entire vehicle as technologies advance.

When you factor in the money that you will be saving by not having to buy gas or other fluids besides coolant, brake fluid, and windshield washer solution, coupled with the tax incentives, the Nissan Leaf is quite competitively priced. If you live in California or Georgia and apply the state credit you’re looking at about $20,000 for a brand new car that will cost you nothing for gas.

The oil spill in the Gulf has undoubtedly gotten the attention of many who joined in the chorus of “drill baby, drill,” but their reasoning was that we should use our own resources and not rely on foreign countries for oil. Those of us who feel as though dependence on foreign oil is a problem and now recognize that domestic drilling can come with very serious consequences really have to take a long look at the Nissan Leaf.

We classic car lovers will always be able to indulge our passion as we see fit, but widespread use of electric vehicles for commuting sound like the common sense solution to environmental and geopolitical challenges. And even if you have no interest in owning one just yet, you have to admit that the Leaf is a newsworthy piece of technology that may indeed be the future of the automotive industry.

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