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Car Tech Video: 2011 Nissan Leaf
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Car Tech Video: 2011 Nissan Leaf

5:38 /

Is this the car that will steal the Prius' thunder?

[ Music ] ^M00:00:02 >> A lot of folks ask what's going to be the next Pries? Well, maybe this car, at least if Nissan has their way. This is the Nissan Leaf. It's an electric vehicle. No hybrid going on here at all. Electric motors up here in the front. 100 horsepower, 210 foot pounds of torque and it'll do that for about 100 miles on a single charge, well more than the average American drives in a day by a factor or 2 or 3. Here's where the watts go in up in the front. Now this charger on the right side will take 110 or 220 and give you a full charge on 110 in you know 14, 15 hours. 220, 4 to 8 hours. But this guy over here is very cool. Now this is where you'll charge if you're at a commercial structure or your office perhaps. This is a 3 phase, 440 DC input, 80% charge from flat in just 30 minutes. Real interesting interior. Right away it says this is not your typical kind of car. You get a total electronic interface in this vehicle. Starting with the instrument panel, there's not a gauge in the place, not one rotating needle. The gauge on the left is your battery temperature because yes, high power battery packs have a lot of thermal energy in them. And you got to keep an eye on that but they don't expect any problems. In the middle you've got your usual sort of time and distance, all your multi odometers and gear indicator. Across the top, those circles are your power output or regen, the four on the left are when you're regenerating power either through coasting or braking and the ones on the right are how much power you're putting out because even with an electric vehicle, if you're on the pedal too much, you're using power inefficiently. You want to drive moderately to get the best range. Speaking of range, on the right, there's your fuel gauge if you will. That shows you the state of charge capacity in the battery. And if that doesn't tell you enough, right overlaid on that is a predicted miles to depleted number. That's based on your historical driving as long as you've had the car since a full reset. Which brings me to those trees up there in the eyebrow display. That's another indication of how green you are driving now and historically. You build trees as you use a light foot on the pedal and a record of how greenly you've driven, how many trees you've grown if you will, goes into a master Nissan web service that they're going to launch with this car. Which brings me to the head unit. This is going to be a largely connected vehicle. It'll have it's own cellular data radio built into it through a yet to be formalized Nissan wireless service. And that will let you do things like have the latest information on charging stations, right here on the dash. As the vehicle is getting low on juice or if you don't have enough range to get to your destination on the nav, it'll let you know and say here's where you can stop, the most optimal place to charge up. Plus you'll be able to control this car via a smart phone app. And that will let you do things like turn on the HVAC before you get to the car to get it cooled down or even let you tell it what charging behavior to have. Charge now or don't charge until later or set the car to charge only during off peak hours the same time every day. Beyond that we expect a good if not totally cutting edge array of sources, we'll have AM FM, CD and MP3, aux and USB for iPod as well, Bluetooth hands free. I'm not sure about the Bluetooth streaming technology, but we'll see what happens in production, a year is a long time. Interesting shifter or drive mode controller really. It doesn't move any linkage or anything. It's basically a game controller, all electronic. Over and up is reverse, over straight is neutral, over and back is drive or drive with additional engine braking. And park is just right there on the top. And as you might expect, this is an electric parking brake. The Leaf is about the size of a Civic, certainly in terms of length and wheelbase. But more in the shape and profile of a Pries. So it's no low slung sports car. As a result interior room is good as is the cargo space in the back. No sunroof available up top, that's for a good reason. There's no drag that way, caused by the turbulence of gaskets and edges. And a steel roof Nissan says keeps the cabin cooler than a glass one. And all this reduces the car's use of electricity for either cooling or moving itself. The headlights on this car are interesting too. This should be the first affordable major volume car that has a pure LED front headlight. The reason they're doing it in this car is because LED lamps are more energy efficient. Remember this car only has electricity, for getting around, for running the radio and for powering the headlights. It's got to conserve all of it every where. This whole headlamp structure is interesting also. It's shaped to shape the airflow over the front of the car so that it actually avoids the side view mirror. Because mirrors are a big area of drag and a big area of wind noise. If this can keep the mass of air from hitting this, win win. Now back here on the roof winglet sort of thing is a solar panel. This will trickle charge the battery any time it's got solar energy hitting it. Now it's not going to be a lot of contribution, but it's something and doesn't require you to be plugged in at all. Now this Leaf is basically an American production trim. Very few tweaks will happen before it comes to the showroom December of 2010, but not everywhere at first. They're working with major metro areas to make sure charging infrastructure is in place. Portland, Seattle, Tucson, Phoenix, Nashville, because putting this car on the market without lots of places to charge it is not a good idea. [ Music ] Nissan starts taking reservations Spring 2010, that's when we'll get some pricing. Expect something approaching 30 grand, but Federal credits might bring that down by as much as 7. ^M00:05:36 [ Music ]

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