Nissan Says Its Electric Leaf Gets Equivalent of 99 M.P.G.
DETROIT — The federal government has rated the Nissan Leaf, the
battery-powered car scheduled to go on sale next month in five states,
as getting the fuel equivalent of 99 miles a gallon, Nissan said Monday.
The Environmental Protection Agency, which tests vehicles for emissions
and fuel efficiency, has determined Leaf’s official range to be 73 miles
on a fully charged battery, much less than the 100 miles previously
claimed by Nissan.
Both figures will appear prominently on the Leaf’s window label, which
shows the estimated yearly electricity cost as $561. The E.P.A.
calculates annual fuel costs as $867 for the Toyota Prius hybrid and
$1,669 for Chevrolet’s Malibu, which like the Leaf, is classified as a
The E.P.A. puts vehicles through five tests to simulate varying driving
conditions and levels of climate-control usage.
Because drivers cannot simply stop at a gas station and refuel, the
Leaf’s range is expected to weigh heavily on shoppers’ minds. Adding to
any confusion they might feel, the Leaf will have a second sticker from
the Federal Trade Commission — it regulates advertising by
alternative-fuel vehicles — displaying the car’s range as 96 to 110 miles.
“Driving behavior, temperature — those things do affect your range,”
said Mark Perry, the director of EV and Advanced Technology strategy in
North America for Nissan. “We’re trying to be very open so folks are
making the right decision for them. We don’t want them to be surprised.”
The E.P.A. calculated the 99 m.p.g. equivalent figure by combining
ratings of 106 m.p.g. in city driving and 92 m.p.g. on highways. The
Leaf’s rating is nearly double that of the Toyota Prius hybrid, which is
The agency has not concluded its tests of the Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in
hybrid that also goes on sale next month in parts of the United States.
The Volt, unlike the Leaf, has a gasoline engine that allows the car to
remain operational after the battery, which General Motors says has a
range of 25 to 50 miles, is depleted.
“Their calculation is a little bit more straightforward than ours, so I
suspect they may have gotten through the process a little faster,” a
G.M. spokesman, Rob Peterson, said in explaining why the Leaf results
were finished first. “At this time we don’t have a definitive number.”
The Leaf’s rating is based on a formula from the E.P.A. in which 33.7
kilowatt hours of electricity is equivalent to one gallon of gasoline.
“The tough part with an electric vehicle is we have no gallons. We have
no gas,” Mr. Perry said. “But we understand the need to provide a
comparison and that’s what the formula does.”
Mr. Perry noted that electricity costs — assumed to be 12 cents a
kilowatt-hour for the purposes of the label — varied widely in different
parts of the country and in some cases depending on what time of day the
car was plugged in.
The Leaf’s window sticker will list the car as needing seven hours to
charge via a 240-volt outlet and consuming 34 kilowatt-hours every 100
miles. It will show the Leaf, which has no tailpipe, as receiving the
best possible scores for emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.
Nissan dealerships in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and
Tennessee will start selling the Leaf in December. Sales will begin in
Texas and Hawaii in January, followed by additional states later in 2011.
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