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Nissan Leaf: Zero Emissions? No. Cheaper to Drive? No. Conceited? Yes.

The Nissan Leaf is being touted as Nissan’s first “zero emissions” car.  It’s the car of the future their website claims, and they have YouTube ads from a magical world where polar bears hug Leaf drivers instead of ripping their heads off in a carnivorous rage.  I decided to see how well the Leaf stood up, both to its claimed green credentials, and to comparable, evil gas-powered cars that cost half as much.  The two I chose were the Honda Fit, and Ford Fiesta.  Both cars are very similar and size and power to the Leaf, and neither of them is a hybrid of any sort.

The Leaf has an 80 kW electric motor.  The Fit has a 117 horsepower engine which is equivalent to 87 kW, and the Fiesta has a 120 hp engine equivalent to 89 kW.  For half the price, you get a slightly more powerful engine that can be “fully charged” in a matter of minutes.  Nissan has kept quiet about the Leaf’s curb weight, but estimates put it at about 3,500 pounds.  That’s about half a ton heavier than the Fit, which weight 2,575 lbs, or the Fiesta which weighs 2,628 lbs.  Battery packs are heavy.

At 2.7 cents per mile, the fuel cost for the Leaf is lower than the Fit’s average of 8.8 cents or the Fiesta’s 8 cents per mile.  But to break even compared to the cost of a Fit, you’d have to drive your Leaf for 293,114 miles.  If you forewent the Fiesta, you’ve got even more ground to cover.  You’ll need to drive your Leaf for 367,170 miles without replacing any major parts, like the battery.  To put this in perspective, to break even you’d have to assume after owning the car for 20 to 24 years and running 2,900 to 3,700 charge cycles, everything would still work as if it were fresh out of the factory.  Good luck.  Even Nissan has no confidence it will last that long.  The battery is only warrantied for 8 years or 100,000 miles.

As for Nissan’s claim of “zero emissions,” it’s a nice thought, but generally false.  Most of America’s electricity comes from coal.  According to the Dept. of Energy, Coal produces about 2.117 pounds of CO2 per kWh electricity.  If we assume that your Nissan Leaf gets the full 100 miles per charge, then—unless you live in a few select areas—you’re CO2 output will be 50 pounds per 100 miles. In city driving, this represents about a 24% reduction over the Fit, but if we head to the highway, the carbon emissions of the Leaf are exactly the same as the Fiesta, which achieves 40 mpg fuel efficiency.  The only difference at this point?  A Fiesta can drive around 480 miles without stopping while Leaf owners enjoy 7 hour “fuel stops” as they sip energy with the 3.3 kW on-board charger.

But at least you can feel superior to everyone around you who’s still driving those evil petrol cars.  That is, until you realize, mining lithium is not “eco-friendly,” and the process alone “could be just as destructive to the environment as [the] pollution” electric cars will supposedly curtail.” Oh yeah, and lithium is even more non-renewable than oil was ever thought to be.

/********** Correction **********

An earlier version of this article incorrectly attributed Lithium to the “rare earth metals” category of elements.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Got FUD? I get that you don’t like change. It scares you. Most folks are that way. It will be better if we stay on the course we’ve set. So that during the 8 yr battery warranty of the LEAF we send $2-3 trillion out of the country just to buy oil. The LEAF and Volt actually represent progress. They’re not a total answer, just a step in the right direction.
    p.s. it”s an 80kW motor (power). kWh is a measure of energy. The Leaf uses an AC motor, no rare Earth metals needed. Lithium is abundant and recyclable.

    • Fear? No. I can outrun the Leaf in a fully loaded Suburban. Uncertainty? Did I sound uncertain? The Nissan is going to cost more, and suck more than a conventional sub-compact. Doubt? Okay, guilty. I doubt Al Gore will ever drive one.

      As for sending money out of the country, Nissan is a foreign company. Buying a gas-powered Ford Fiesta would send far less money out of the U.S.

      Finally, recyclable does not equal renewable, and lithium is not abundant.

      • Got facts? LEAFS will be made in Tennessee, Fiestas in Mexico, sending money and jobs out of the country for both fuel and manufacturing. But, I’m not against Ford’s new compact and look forward to the electric version as well. Lithium does not need to be renewable, just the juice that goes in. It’s very abundant relative to the amounts needed to electrify much of the transp sector. Racing a fully loaded Suburban?… sheiks and dictators applaud you.

        • I was referring to the revenues from sale, which ultimately wind up back at the parent company. If I wanted to buy something made in America, there’s a BMW plant in South Carolina, a Mercedes plant in Alabama. I’d even go for a Kia, manufactured in Georgia, over buying a Leaf. If you read the linked article, Lithium is not abundant enough to supply any significant electric automobile market. A new battery technology will be required.

          As for our Suburban, it gets over 100 passenger miles per gallon when we drive it. In other words, it’s extremely efficient.

        • Also, I still doubt Al Gore will ever drive a Leaf. (And by drive, I mean own and actually use for the majority of his transportation within the Leaf’s range).

          I’m also glad you’re willing to spend more of your money on a Leaf than you would on a comparable car and gas to power it. Your switch to what is most likely still carbon-based power just means more gas for the rest of us.

          As for sending money out of the country to buy oil. There is a real solution for that problem: domestic energy exploration. Unfortunately, given the Obama administration’s drilling moratorium, I think it’s going to be a while before we can exercise the option.

          Finally, only about 12% of US oil comes from the middle east. Domestic production already accounts for nearly half of our usage.

          • I don’t understand your Al Gore fixation nor why he’s part of the discussion. Tahil’s paper has been widely discredited by Argonne Labs among others. Still, a LEAF requires about 4kg Lithium per vehicle. That small amount continues to drop as battery tech improves. Even from the currently low-producing Clayton Valley mine, that’s about 5 million LEAFs. Trade deficit is almost 1/2 oil imports. Canada accounts for a lot… tar sands; now that’s an environmental nightmare. Drill more here, really? Erik, your future is kinda quaint but dispiriting. It’s so good you drive the Suburban with more than just yourself. That really makes a difference. Seems to be an oddity around these parts.

          • p.s. My EV runs without carbon-based power from my rooftop refinery aka PV panels — made in Oregon with energy payback of 18 months. When I drive the sun is my bitch and gas stations look like opium dens.

          • Cool! A car powered by PV panels. I was up in Oregon the other day and saw all these huge trees that they grow PV panels on! It was awesome until I woke up and remembered that PV panels are made in large semiconductor plants, mostly in china, drawing hundreds upon hundreds of kWh’s from, mostly coal-fired, power plants.

            TANSTAFL!

    • I’ve done a lot of research on the lithium mining and equally important, neodymium. Neodymium is the rare earth metal used to make the super-strong permanent magnets in today’s high-efficiency electric motors.

      90% of neodymium comes from China and not because of low-cost labor, although that doesn’t hurt. China has no environmental regulations on how it is mined/refined. Neodymium is found in trace amounts in the earth’s crust where it co-exists w/ radioactive elements, namely uranium. It is mined by strip mining the earth or large pit mines. Do a google search on Mountain Pass, CA to learn what happened when it was last mined in the US.

      90% of Lithium comes from Chile and Argentina. Again, not an “eco-friendly” process to mine the stuff, plus it needs to be refined/processed into pure lithium, shipped to a battery plant, and then further processed into a battery.

      What I’d like to know is how many miles does a LEAF have to be driven until it is considered “carbon-nuetral”. In other words, when have you saved as many pounds of CO2 as were spent in the mining/refining processes above? How many miles do you have to drive?

      And, let’s also take into account that the battery will need to be somehow “recycled” at the end of its life. BTW, how is Lithium recycled? What happens to a battery when it is done?

      Any form of motion, even walking produces CO2. TANSTAFL!!!!!

  • Got FUD? I get that you don’t like change. It scares you. Most folks are that way. It will be better if we stay on the course we’ve set. So that during the 8 yr battery warranty of the LEAF we send $2-3 trillion out of the country just to buy oil. The LEAF and Volt actually represent progress. They’re not a total answer, just a step in the right direction.
    p.s. it”s an 80kW motor (power). kWh is a measure of energy. The Leaf uses an AC motor, no rare Earth metals needed. Lithium is abundant and recyclable.

    • Fear? No. I can outrun the Leaf in a fully loaded Suburban. Uncertainty? Did I sound uncertain? The Nissan is going to cost more, and suck more than a conventional sub-compact. Doubt? Okay, guilty. I doubt Al Gore will ever drive one.

      As for sending money out of the country, Nissan is a foreign company. Buying a gas-powered Ford Fiesta would send far less money out of the U.S.

      Finally, recyclable does not equal renewable, and lithium is not abundant.

      • Got facts? LEAFS will be made in Tennessee, Fiestas in Mexico, sending money and jobs out of the country for both fuel and manufacturing. But, I’m not against Ford’s new compact and look forward to the electric version as well. Lithium does not need to be renewable, just the juice that goes in. It’s very abundant relative to the amounts needed to electrify much of the transp sector. Racing a fully loaded Suburban?… sheiks and dictators applaud you.

        • I was referring to the revenues from sale, which ultimately wind up back at the parent company. If I wanted to buy something made in America, there’s a BMW plant in South Carolina, a Mercedes plant in Alabama. I’d even go for a Kia, manufactured in Georgia, over buying a Leaf. If you read the linked article, Lithium is not abundant enough to supply any significant electric automobile market. A new battery technology will be required.

          As for our Suburban, it gets over 100 passenger miles per gallon when we drive it. In other words, it’s extremely efficient.

        • Also, I still doubt Al Gore will ever drive a Leaf. (And by drive, I mean own and actually use for the majority of his transportation within the Leaf’s range).

          I’m also glad you’re willing to spend more of your money on a Leaf than you would on a comparable car and gas to power it. Your switch to what is most likely still carbon-based power just means more gas for the rest of us.

          As for sending money out of the country to buy oil. There is a real solution for that problem: domestic energy exploration. Unfortunately, given the Obama administration’s drilling moratorium, I think it’s going to be a while before we can exercise the option.

          Finally, only about 12% of US oil comes from the middle east. Domestic production already accounts for nearly half of our usage.

          • I don’t understand your Al Gore fixation nor why he’s part of the discussion. Tahil’s paper has been widely discredited by Argonne Labs among others. Still, a LEAF requires about 4kg Lithium per vehicle. That small amount continues to drop as battery tech improves. Even from the currently low-producing Clayton Valley mine, that’s about 5 million LEAFs. Trade deficit is almost 1/2 oil imports. Canada accounts for a lot… tar sands; now that’s an environmental nightmare. Drill more here, really? Erik, your future is kinda quaint but dispiriting. It’s so good you drive the Suburban with more than just yourself. That really makes a difference. Seems to be an oddity around these parts.

          • p.s. My EV runs without carbon-based power from my rooftop refinery aka PV panels — made in Oregon with energy payback of 18 months. When I drive the sun is my bitch and gas stations look like opium dens.

          • Cool! A car powered by PV panels. I was up in Oregon the other day and saw all these huge trees that they grow PV panels on! It was awesome until I woke up and remembered that PV panels are made in large semiconductor plants, mostly in china, drawing hundreds upon hundreds of kWh’s from, mostly coal-fired, power plants.

            TANSTAFL!

    • I’ve done a lot of research on the lithium mining and equally important, neodymium. Neodymium is the rare earth metal used to make the super-strong permanent magnets in today’s high-efficiency electric motors.

      90% of neodymium comes from China and not because of low-cost labor, although that doesn’t hurt. China has no environmental regulations on how it is mined/refined. Neodymium is found in trace amounts in the earth’s crust where it co-exists w/ radioactive elements, namely uranium. It is mined by strip mining the earth or large pit mines. Do a google search on Mountain Pass, CA to learn what happened when it was last mined in the US.

      90% of Lithium comes from Chile and Argentina. Again, not an “eco-friendly” process to mine the stuff, plus it needs to be refined/processed into pure lithium, shipped to a battery plant, and then further processed into a battery.

      What I’d like to know is how many miles does a LEAF have to be driven until it is considered “carbon-nuetral”. In other words, when have you saved as many pounds of CO2 as were spent in the mining/refining processes above? How many miles do you have to drive?

      And, let’s also take into account that the battery will need to be somehow “recycled” at the end of its life. BTW, how is Lithium recycled? What happens to a battery when it is done?

      Any form of motion, even walking produces CO2. TANSTAFL!!!!!

  • “As for Nissan’s claim of “zero emissions,” it’s a nice thought, but generally false. Most of America’s electricity comes from coal. According to the Dept. of Energy, Coal produces about 2.117 pounds of CO2 per kWh electricity. If we assume that your Nissan Leaf gets the full 100 miles per charge, then—unless you live in a few select areas—you’re CO2 output will be 50 pounds per 100 miles.”

    This is not only false, but misleading. First, try using the actual national average emissions per kWh reported by the Energy Information Administration: 1.31 lbs C02. (In California it’s only 0.6. Only in ND is it as high as the figure you used.) That reduces your average Leaf emissions per 100 miles to only 32 lbs. (14.4 in Cali.) Now, remind people that gasoline emits 19.4 lbs per gallon (no matter where you drive) and that therefore a car that gets 25mpg will emit 100 lbs CO2 per 100 miles, three times the Leaf.

    • The number did come from the EIA via the Dept. of Energy website. The national average is 1.31, but that includes non-coal sources. As I stated “COAL PRODUCES 2.117 pounds CO2 per kWh electricity.” If you get your energy from a non-coal source, the numbers will be different.

      Even using the number you’ve chosen, 32 pounds of CO2 still isn’t zero emissions, which was the entire point. Again, “As for Nissan’s claim of “zero emissions,” it’s a nice though, but generally false.” Fewer emissions is not “zero emissions.” If you could read, I actually acknowledged the Leaf would get fewer emissions in city driving.

  • “As for Nissan’s claim of “zero emissions,” it’s a nice thought, but generally false. Most of America’s electricity comes from coal. According to the Dept. of Energy, Coal produces about 2.117 pounds of CO2 per kWh electricity. If we assume that your Nissan Leaf gets the full 100 miles per charge, then—unless you live in a few select areas—you’re CO2 output will be 50 pounds per 100 miles.”

    This is not only false, but misleading. First, try using the actual national average emissions per kWh reported by the Energy Information Administration: 1.31 lbs C02. (In California it’s only 0.6. Only in ND is it as high as the figure you used.) That reduces your average Leaf emissions per 100 miles to only 32 lbs. (14.4 in Cali.) Now, remind people that gasoline emits 19.4 lbs per gallon (no matter where you drive) and that therefore a car that gets 25mpg will emit 100 lbs CO2 per 100 miles, three times the Leaf.

    • The number did come from the EIA via the Dept. of Energy website. The national average is 1.31, but that includes non-coal sources. As I stated “COAL PRODUCES 2.117 pounds CO2 per kWh electricity.” If you get your energy from a non-coal source, the numbers will be different.Even using the number you’ve chosen, 32 pounds of CO2 still isn’t zero emissions, which was the entire point. Again, “As for Nissan’s claim of “zero emissions,” it’s a nice thought, but generally false.” If you could read, I actually acknowledged the Leaf would get fewer emissions in city driving, but fewer emissions is not “zero emissions.”

  • Ok, be reasonable. The car does lower admissions. Ever gallon of gas produces 19.56lbs of CO2 so per 100 with an internal combustion engine would release 195.6lbs of CO2, almost 4 times that of the leaf. Second, yes, extracting lithium from the earth is not zero emission but the car will make up for that during operation. Internal combustion engines are 220% worse for the environment. You should do some more research

    • The car only lowers emissions within a narrow set of conditions.

      Let’s examine your argument:

      First, you claim, “Ever gallon of gas produces 19.56lbs of CO2 so per 100 with an internal combustion engine would release 195.6lbs of CO2, almost 4 times that of the leaf.”

      This statement makes zero mathematical sense. You must account for units. Here are the correct conversions:
      Ford Fiesta City:
      (19.56 lbs CO2/Gallon)*(1 Gallon/29 miles)*(100 miles)=67.4 lbs CO2
      Ford Fiesta Highway:
      (19.56 lbs CO2/Gallon)*(1 Gallon/40 miles)*(100 miles)=48.9 lbs CO2
      Nissan Leaf Claimed:
      (2.117 lbs CO2/1 kWh)*(24 kWh/100 miles)*(100 miles)=50.8 lbs CO2
      Nissan Leaf Actual Hwy Optimal 55 mph (by EPA):
      (2.117 lbs CO2/1 kWh)*(24 kWh/70 miles)*(100 miles)=72.6 lbs CO2
      Nissan Leaf Actual City Optimal 24 mph (by EPA):
      (2.117 lbs CO2/1 kWh)*(24 kWh/105 miles)*(100 miles)=48.4 lbs CO2

      So, in the city, the Leaf has 28.2% lower emissions
      On the highway, the gas-powered Fiesta has 32.6% lower emissions

      Then, you claim “Second, yes, extracting lithium from the earth is not zero emission but the car will make up for that during operation.”

      I don’t have enough evidence to assess this claim, but given that lithium mining creates environmental damage outside of “emissions”, that the Leaf does not achieve substantially lower emissions, that the lifespan of the vehicle is shorter, and that the leaf never even breaks even on the additional cost, I find it extremely unlikely that the car will make up for the environmental costs of mining lithium over its lifespan.

      In summary, “You should do some more research.”

      Additional note: The 2.117 lbs CO2 per kWh refers to coal production. The national average is 1.31 lbs CO2 per hWh. However, no user recieves their electricity from an “average source.” Most consumers in the U.S. receive their electricity from coal. CO2 output for the Leaf is dependent on the fuel source used to produce the electricity.

      • Of course your figures are innacurate since your fuel emissions take into account electricity generation but ingore emissions from gasoline production and distribution. It takes about 7kwh of electricity, often from coal, just to refine a single gallon of gasoline. Then there emissions in pumping, trucking, and pumping again into your tank, before even a drop of gas is burned to move the vehicle. Additionally studies have shown that the battery pack has no more impact than building the parts used in a regular car, (which include hundreds of pounds of steel and aluminum in the engine, transmission, and exhaust system).
        http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-08/sflf-te083010.php
        Finally the US grid is less than 50% coal, actually around 48%, so the truth is that most consumers in the US get their electricity from sources other than coal.
        Your numbers are way off and completely distorted to conform to your obvious bias.

        • What about the mining of Neodymium? No one seems to be talking about that, it is even worse, environmentally speaking, than Lithium.

          Also, what about the environmental effects of “recycling” the battery?

          I’d like to see someone, in a “non-partisan” way take all the upfront & back end emissions and environmental impact into account and calculate how many miles the LEAF needs to be driven to become “carbon/environmentally neutral”.

          Just give me the answer please, don’t start assuming and call me ignorant, biased, etc. Its science and math, leave your passions outside and crunch the #’s and give an answer please. I can be convinced, just need to see the #’s, until then I’m skeptical.

          BTW, Al Gore couldn’t muster more than a D in his science courses. Science is science. Prove it with science & I’ll believe.

  • Ok, be reasonable. The car does lower admissions. Ever gallon of gas produces 19.56lbs of CO2 so per 100 with an internal combustion engine would release 195.6lbs of CO2, almost 4 times that of the leaf. Second, yes, extracting lithium from the earth is not zero emission but the car will make up for that during operation. Internal combustion engines are 220% worse for the environment. You should do some more research

    • The car only lowers emissions within a narrow set of conditions.Let’s examine your argument:First, you claim, “Ever gallon of gas produces 19.56lbs of CO2 so per 100 with an internal combustion engine would release 195.6lbs of CO2, almost 4 times that of the leaf.”This statement makes zero mathematical sense. You must account for units. Here are the correct conversions:Ford Fiesta City:(19.56 lbs CO2/Gallon)*(1 Gallon/29 miles)*(100 miles)=67.4 lbs CO2Ford Fiesta Highway:(19.56 lbs CO2/Gallon)*(1 Gallon/40 miles)*(100 miles)=48.9 lbs CO2Nissan Leaf Claimed:(2.117 lbs CO2/1 kWh)*(24 kWh/100 miles)*(100 miles)=50.8 lbs CO2Nissan Leaf Actual Hwy Optimal 55 mph (by EPA):(2.117 lbs CO2/1 kWh)*(24 kWh/70 miles)*(100 miles)=72.6 lbs CO2Nissan Leaf Actual City Optimal 24 mph (by EPA):(2.117 lbs CO2/1 kWh)*(24 kWh/105 miles)*(100 miles)=48.4 lbs CO2So, in the city, the Leaf has 28.2% lower emissionsOn the highway, the gas-powered Fiesta has 32.6% lower emissionsThen, you claim “Second, yes, extracting lithium from the earth is not zero emission but the car will make up for that during operation.”I don’t have enough evidence to assess this claim, but given that lithium mining creates environmental damage outside of “emissions”, that the Leaf does not achieve substantially lower emissions, that the lifespan of the vehicle is shorter, and that the leaf never breaks even on the additional cost, I find it extremely unlikely that the car will make up for the environmental costs of mining lithium over its lifespan.In summary, “You should do some more research.”Additional note: The 2.117 lbs CO2 per kWh refers to coal production. The national average is 1.31 lbs CO2 per hWh. However, no user recieves their electricity from an “average source.” Most consumers in the U.S. receive their electricity from coal. CO2 output for the Leaf is dependent on the fuel source used to produce the electricity.

      • Of course your figures are innacurate since your fuel emissions take into account electricity generation but ingore emissions from gasoline production and distribution. It takes about 7kwh of electricity, often from coal, just to refine a single gallon of gasoline. Then there emissions in pumping, trucking, and pumping again into your tank, before even a drop of gas is burned to move the vehicle. Additionally studies have shown that the battery pack has no more impact than building the parts used in a regular car, (which include hundreds of pounds of steel and aluminum in the engine, transmission, and exhaust system).
        http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-08/sflf-te083010.php
        Finally the US grid is less than 50% coal, actually around 48%, so the truth is that most consumers in the US get their electricity from sources other than coal.
        Your numbers are way off and completely distorted to conform to your obvious bias.

        • What about the mining of Neodymium? No one seems to be talking about that, it is even worse, environmentally speaking, than Lithium.

          Also, what about the environmental effects of “recycling” the battery?

          I’d like to see someone, in a “non-partisan” way take all the upfront & back end emissions and environmental impact into account and calculate how many miles the LEAF needs to be driven to become “carbon/environmentally neutral”.

          Just give me the answer please, don’t start assuming and call me ignorant, biased, etc. Its science and math, leave your passions outside and crunch the #’s and give an answer please. I can be convinced, just need to see the #’s, until then I’m skeptical.

          BTW, Al Gore couldn’t muster more than a D in his science courses. Science is science. Prove it with science & I’ll believe.

  • The 2.1 lbs per kwh is OK for coal plants, but the grand average for the US power generation is less — I don’t remember right offhand, but I think about 1.5 or 1.6 lbs/kwh.  Some places are, of course, much cleaner with lots of hydro.

    Coal generation is going down as the new lower NG prices make it more attractive to do NG power plants.  I believe that coal is now under 50% of generation.   NG is a lower carbon fuel and the modern NG plants are up toward 60% efficient.

    It seems to me it not productive to to be so negative on new solutions when its clear we all the alternatives we can get — lets give it a chance and see how it works out.

    Gary

    • You cannot base your judgement solely on the average as no energy source provides average emissions.

      Electric cars aren’t a “new solution.”  Electric cars predate their gasoline counterparts.  In 1899, electric cars outsold all other types in the United States.

      We’ve been giving electric cars more than a chance for over 100 years.  Physics is still physics.

  • than oil was ever thought to be???  oil is definatly not renewable you WALLY

    • I did not say oil was renewable. I said “lithium is even more non-renewable than oil was ever thought to be.”

      If you had read the linked article, you would have seen the following: 

       In 2007, William Tahil, an analyst with the France-based consultancy, Meridian International Research, issued a report that alarmingly concluded that there is “insufficient economically recoverable lithium available in the Earth’s crust to sustain electric vehicle manufacture in the volumes required.” Tahil added, “Depletion rates would exceed current oil depletion rates and switch dependency from one diminishing resource to another.”

  • WoWow your political biases sure are obvious. You do make some good points
    here and there, but of course make some other big mistakes. The mark of
    impartiality is being able to admit when mistakes were made and move
    on. You cling to your assertions through thick and thin which raise
    serious questions about your impartiality. Don’t be so ….. American.
    Your farcical polarized political theatre is a charade, and you’ve been
    sucked into it hook line and sinker.

    I always get a kick out of luddites who slam new technology coming to
    market that isn’t 100% perfect. If everyone was like this we’d have no
    technological progress. But I guess that’s what America is striving for
    these days… Mass produced EV’s are a major breakthrough and further
    refinements will go a long way to addressing the problems you raise.
    Geez, they’ve only been out 1 year! What do you expect?

    When I’ve seen Nissan make the “Zero Emissions” claim it’s always backed
    up with an asterisk that further qualifies, “tailpipe”. Obviously the
    average person is smart enough to understand that the electricity must
    be generated. Here in Canada my Leaf is simply way way more efficient
    than gasoline. Pull up stats till you’re blue in the face and it won’t
    change that fact.

    Are EV’s a perfect solution? Obviously not, at least not now, and you
    seem to the only person claiming that people are selling them as such.
    But if we don’t take the first steps, as imperfect as they may be, we
    will never make overall progress.

    Regarding rare earth metals, the Leaf uses an AC synchronous motor and
    in my research I have found conflicting reports on whether this uses
    rare earths or not. However, the Tesla Roadster uses an induction motor
    which uses zero rare earths. Since China is clamping down on REE
    exports, then shucks, oh well, I guess American made EV’s just might
    have to use induction motors… too bad there aren’t any demonstrated
    examples of powerful EV”s using induction motors to provide guidance…

    As to running out of lithium, I’ve seen so many reports from all sides
    of this debate … wake me up when there’s a shortage, please. Honestly,
    you could find 20 papers to back any position you wanted to take wrt
    lithium. And sure, lithium may not be sustainable, but it is recyclable.

    Whether solar panels were made in China or not isn’t very important.
    Because they WILL be made more in America in the future as America’s oil
    runs out. They have an energy return of at least 10:1 making the coal
    needed to manufacture them a worthy use of that non renewable resource.

    And I don’t know where you got the idea that EV’s will have a shorter
    lifespan that regular cars — quite the opposite. In 10-15 years you’ll
    just buy a new battery pack and continue on with the same car. The new
    pack will of course last longer and be better. And when oil prices go
    through the roof the EV will hold its value much better, maybe even
    appreciate.

    And so what is your alternative? Relax the restrictive environmental
    regulations holding back America’s domestic oil production? I think
    you’ve spent too much time on Faux News. America is pumping as hard as
    it can, and it just can’t keep up with even half of demand. There are
    very few / virtually no regulations holding it back. The oil simply
    isn’t there.

    • “I always get a kick out of luddites who slam new technology coming to market that isn’t 100% perfect.”

      That’s funny; I always get a kick out of ill informed commenters calling something that’s been around for a century “new technology.”

      I’m not sure why this article, which was written a year and a half ago is suddenly picking up so much traffic, but I guess that means it’s time for a followup.