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The Mercury Cars Guide : August 8th 2009
4— Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, August 8, 2009 Nissan turns over a new Leaf T The new Nissan Leafmaynot be the first electric car on the market, Mitsubishi’s MiEV got there first. But that won’t stop Nissan from being proud of its new green machine—batteries not included. Mark Hinchliffe reports HE 95 per cent production-ready electric Nissan Leaf was unveiled at the official opening of the company’s global headquarters in Yokohama on Sunday. Nissan product planning chief Andy Palmer said the Leaf would be ‘‘the same price as a similar C-segment car’’, plus the cost of the battery. ‘‘We haven’t decided on the final price yet. We will lease the battery, but the cost of operating the vehicle will be less than a similar C-segment vehicle,’’ Palmer said. Nissan Australia senior cor- porate communications manager Jeffrey Fisher said the Nissan EV would go into production next year and be available in Australia in 2012. It will not be the first allelectric vehicle available in Australia — that honour is expected to go to the Mitsubishi’s MiEV. ‘‘Being first isn’t as impor- tant as being best,’’ Fisher said. ‘‘We’ve leapfrogged hybrid technology with our holistic electric vehicle strategy.’’ He said the vehicle was 95 per cent production-ready, so most of its exterior design and interior computer instru- Hobart Autohaus Sales Finance Service Parts The Ultimate Driving Machine ments will be retained in the production version. While bristling with tech- nology, the Leaf looks like any five-door small family hatchback, even less radical than the Toyota Prius hybrid. Nissan chief designer Shiro Nakamura described it as ‘‘a real car’’ that was affordable for people on ‘‘normal incomes’’, but that it did not look like a Prius. ‘‘The proportions are close to traditional cars,’’ he said. ‘‘We didn’t want to go for the typical aero shape. It was important it did not look like a Prius.’’ The only feature of the car’s design that indicates its electric power-train is the blanklooking front, since there is no radiator grille, only a small air dam. It doesn’t need a larger air intake because the electric motor has less cooling requirements than an internal combustion engine. However, air is directed towards the battery pack under the floor. The Leaf is powered by a front-mounted synchronous AC electric motor designed and developed in-house and delivering 80kW of power and 280Nm of torque. The 24kWh capacity laminated compact lithium-ion battery pack is housed under the floor so it doesn’t compromise cabin or cargo space. It consists of 48 slimline modules comprising four flat cell batteries, rather than conventional cylindrical batteries, for more efficient cooling. Nissan battery-pack design chief Sadao Miki said the lithium-ion batteries developed by Nissan were also lighter, more compact, cheaper, more reliable and had a longer life. The batteries are made in Japan by the Automotive Energy Supply Company, which is a joint initiative established in 2007 with NEC. The car has a range of about Electric vehicles charge ahead THE biggest hurdle to electric vehicles is infrastructure. Electric vehicles are hampered by lim- ited range and the slow process of recharging batteries. But rather than wait for the infrastructure to be established, car companies are forging ahead with plans for electric vehicles. In the next couple of years our market JOY PRESENTS RARE OPPORTUNITIES. Joy does not compromise. It does not sacrifice performance for efficiency. It is efficient and dynamic. Visit Hobat Autohaus during the BMW EfficientDynamics XPO, and you’ll receive outstanding opportunities on a wide range of models. JOY IS THE BMW EFFICIENT DYNAMICS XPO. AUGUST 8 - 22. will see electric vehicles from Mitsubishi, Nissan and GM. So what do motorists do about charging them? Most batteries take about eight hours to charge on 240-volt mains power and have a range below 200km, which means they need recharging almost daily. Even quick-charging high-voltage solu- tions can take up to 30 minutes to get a battery up to 80 per cent charge. Motorists are used to fuelling the tankon Premium Selection Used Vehicles '08 118iA '07 120iA '08 120iM Graphite, Sunroof '05 320iM Exec., Silver, Sunroof '06 320iA '06 320iA '07 320iA '08 320iA M Sport Pack, Red, 17" Alloys '05 120iA Red, 17" Alloys, Sport Seats Sport, Blue, 18" Alloys, S/roof Executive, Silver, Sunroof Exec., White, S/roof, 18" Alloys Black, Sunroof, 17" Alloys Black, Sunroof, Navigation Graphite, 18" Alloys, Sunroof Silver, 18" Alloys, Navigation Drive away $45,990 $32,990 $51,990 $46,790 $41,590 $47,990 $48,990 Exec., Bronze, S/roof, 17" Alloys $51,990 Exec. Innov., Bronze, Sport Seats $58,990 '08 323iM Black, S/roof, 18” Alloys, Spt seats $74,890 '05 325iA '07 325iA '05 330iA '04 525iA '04 525iA '08 530iA '05 X3 3.0iA Sport, Black, Sunroof '05 X3 3.0iA Black, HiFi, PDC '04 X5 3.0dA Sterling Grey, Sunroof To view full details, visit: www.hobartautohaus.com.au Hobart Autohaus 23 Barrack Street (Cnr Collins Street), Hobart 7000, Tel: 03 6236 9099 www.hobartautohaus.bmw.com.au AH: Craig Bennett 0409 848 166 AH: Colin Rogers 0439 352 210 All prices are Drive Away. Includes on road costs. 8.8.09 $51,990 $72,790 $54,990 $54,990 Silver, 17" Alloys, S/roof, Low kms $55,990 Sport, Black, Sunroof, 19” Alloys $119,590 $47,990 $49,950 $54,590 '07 X5 3.0dA Exec., Black, Sunroof, 19" Alloys $93,990 their internal combustion engines at a convenient service station in about five minutes, so having to stop for half an hour would be a huge impost. Nissan, whose Leaf electric hatchback goes into production next year and will arrive here in 2011, believes motorists will have to change thewaythey live with their vehicle. There are several options for recharging electric vehicles such as mains trickle charging, quick-charging stationsandeven battery replacement facilities. Which solution emerges as the most popular will be much like the 1980s battle between VHS and Beta technology or the current DVD versus Blue-Ray. Nissan global zero emissions business unit general manager Hideaki Watanabe says hedoesn’t care which option wins, but believes all could succeedandlive together. ‘‘It will be a race between all the options. There could be some other new solutions for infrastructure as well,’’ he said. MARK HINCHLIFFE 160km on the open road without airconditioning, and about 20 per cent less in the city. It can be recharged off 240V mains in eight hours, or 80 per cent charged on special quickcharge ‘‘pumps’’ in about 30 minutes. A small pop-up section of the nose underneath the Nissan badge has two sockets for themainsor quickcharge plugs. Thethin battery pack under the car provides a flat interior floor and smooth air-flow, reducing aerodynamic drag. Nissan EV spokesman Toshimi Abo says the Leaf will be backed by a global data centre that integrates satellite navigation and the internet to ensure the car is always charged and available for use. This includes a display on the car’s satnav map that shows the maximum range of the vehicle for the current state of battery charge, and the location of recharging stations within the range radius. It also features a timer function that will start the airconditioner or batterycharging at a specified time. The airconditioner can be programmed to cool or warm the cabin to a set temperature while the vehicle is being charged so it doesn’t drain the vehicle’s battery. Charging can be set to start at a specified time at night to benefit from cheaper electricity rates, and can be programmed and monitored by mobile phone or the internet. A text message can be sent to the driver when the battery is fully charged. Nissan Motor Company Australia managing director Dan Thompson said the company had already held discussions with all levels of government about a range of incentives to help convince motorists to go electric. ‘‘The states have been the most receptive,’’ he said. ‘‘Three years [before the electric car arrives] seems like a long time, but to get the infrastructure in place it isn’t.’’ Thompson said Nissan would also talk to companies such as shopping centres, cinema chains and fast-food outlets, as well as service stations, about installing batterycharging infrastructure. Hesaid Nissan would target fleet sales first, then private buyers. on the road JOURNALISTS were given a one-lap drive around the company’s Yokohama testing ground in an electric Tiida test vehicle, which features the same drive-train platform as the new electric vehicle. The little hatch was notice- ably quieter, though attention is drawn to the wind noise in the absence of engine rumble. Nakamura said he steered away from the traditional aerodynamic shape for the Leaf, but paid a lot of attention to reducing wind noise. The Tiida electric car felt smoother and more ‘‘torquey’’ than the petrol model. While it doesn’t pull as smartly off the line as some hybrids, it has a linear power delivery. Global zero emissions busi- ness unit general manager Hideaki Watanabe said Nissan had programmed the power delivery to avoid a neck-snapping launch feel that most electric motors provide because maximum torque is instantly available. ‘‘We have managed the power so that it isn’t a sudden dump of power like you have turned on a switch,’’ he said. Steering feels heavy and the car turns in a little slow, thanks to 150kg in extra weight. However, that weight, which is mostly due to the 300kg battery, is placed low and central, and with a lighter motor than the petrol engine up front it provides an almost 50-50 weight balance. There isno engine compres- sion effect, so it doesn’t slow when you take your foot off the accelerator. It therefore requires extra braking coming into corners.
August 1st 2009
August 15th 2009