Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vrooom –The sound of Zero-Emission

Cayenne Red Nissan Leaf

Recently, one of the City of Plano volunteers, Joni, bought a Nissan Leaf, and brought it in for us to see. Joni learned about the car from a Plano article and, since she always wanted an electric car, set out to buy it. The Nissan Leaf is a totally electric car that runs on 100% electricity and has zero-emissions, meaning that it essentially carbon-footprint-free. From the outside, the Leaf looks similar to any other car. With a more careful inspection, you’ll discover that there is no tailpipe, and that there are two hoods: one for charging plugs, and the other for the engine. Compared to a regular, gasoline-run car, the Leaf has many features that make it even more eco-friendly; for example, its seats and carpets are made of recycled water bottles, and its tires are specially made to be low resistance, giving you better mileage. When riding around in the car, the car runs very smoothly and is almost silent, and many viewers said that the driving experience was like that of the Toyota Prius. Joni said that the maintenance for the car mostly included an annually diagnostic of the battery and refilling of the windshield fluid—much less than a regular car! Even better, the battery has a life of about ten years. Since the Leaf is totally electric, some may be concerned about being stranded on a road because of a dead battery. But, Joni said that the car tells you in 5 different ways that it’s running out of battery and that charging stations are being set up all over the city (in fact there’s one near the Half-Price Books at Northwest Hwy). Manufactured in Japan and now in Tennessee, the Leaf takes about 8 hours for a full charge, but only 30 minutes for a fast-charge (which fills up the car 80%). Joni feels grateful and proud that she is able to afford the Leaf, and believes that her car is a good investment. Being environmentally aware, I can definitely see the advantages of owning an electric car, especially the Leaf. Although the car is pricey ($35000 for the car and $2300 for a home charging station), the Nissan Leaf is definitely not as expensive environmentally.

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~Lucy Hao

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