Sunday, April 22, 2012

It's Earth Day and Here we come....

Happy Earth Day,

So for the four month mark at 4100 miles the Leaf is performing very well. Up until now for mere mortals ( you know - Tesla owners ) it's been the Leaf or the Volt - which we've discussed in previous posts.

Now - here come the Challengers -

1.  Toyota's plug in Prius.  Sort of a Volt 'light' with it's base of alternate models and excellent first sales it can't be ignored.  Like the Volt an internal combustion engine to take care and feed. VERY short all electric battery range - 11 miles.  Still if a plug is available at work this car could be very well - my current 13 mile one way commute with work charging (which I don't have) would be possible to be almost 90% electric.  Not cheap - $32K MSRP and high end model with Hud display and radar cruise $39.5K.Availability is pretty good for new model - almost 900 sold in the US in the opening month.  As a proven, no range worries model it should at least be considered.  Still $32k base and I think less incentives - a bit pricey for that battery size.

2.  Ford's Focus EV.  Full EV with a more normal body style.  Not quite out of the gate and somewhat limited in production this year - still 10 or so are out there.  A 23KWH battery and about $39.2K MSRP.  Claims of performance close to the Leaf but no independent comparisons yet.  Faster 6.6kw charging at 240V - 3 to 4 hours to full.  That's big - Nissan says the 2013 Leafs will have this vice current 3.3kw - 7hrs at 240V.  I think the Focus has promise if Ford can ramp up production.

3.  Honda Electric FIT.  Very promising specs but the most tepid introduction I've ever seen - Honda will only produce 1000 for the whole of three years (300 per year!) - then only for leases - shades of who killed the electric car.  Still vapor ware but worthy of mention that even Honda is getting its toes in the water.

4.  Mitsubishi iMiev - With 220 sold here its ahead of the focus but I really don't have much on it.  Maybe 62 mile range and wild styling - makes my Leaf look normal.  At $29.1K before full incentives worth a mention on price but a bit limited on space, range, and amenities.

Well that's the lineup - should be interesting in the coming year.

At 4K miles the Leaf has performed great.  I managed to scratch an inchworm sized gouge in my rear bumper - that first one always hurts but the vehicle is still looking good - in it's own homely bug eyed way.  Looking forward to my big 7500 mile maintenance, tire rotation, sometime this summer.

Happy Earth Day All!


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