By on April 6, 2010

When the all-electric Nissan Leaf will be available in Japan in December, buyers will be faced with a tough decision: Should I buy a Nissan Leaf for $40,000, and deal with range anxiety, or should I go with the $26,000 gasoline equivalent?

To which Nissan will answer: “The Leaf, of course. It will save you huge amounts of money.” How much? Are you sitting down?

After six years of Leaf ownership, you will have saved $361. That’s right. Threehundredsixtyone dollars.

What do you think the answer of the average Japanese buyer will be?

You guessed it right: “Hanashi ni naranai?” Why bother?

Come on, guys, “the price is reasonable if various factors, including running costs, are taken into account,” COO Toshiyuki Shiga told reporters at the Leaf’s unveiling in Yokohama.

Nissan supplies a handy chart, pictured above. You would have to shell out 3.76m yen, wait a few months to get 770,000 yen back in government subsidies, drive the car for six years at 1000km a month, hope the utility company will not raise electrical prices more than gas prices go up. Finally, the investment will put you ahead by 34,000 yen, or unbeleafable $361. If everything goes as expected. (And ignoring the fact that no self-respecting Japanese holds on to a car for six years. Before the first shaken rolls around after three years, they usually get a new one,)

$361 in six years, exhilarating ROI, ne?

You don’t think that’s appetizing?

Come on, nobody can do better than Nissan, they are the low cost producer in the game.

The Nikkei [sub] reports that “Nissan Motor will be taking an aggressive pricing stance on its Leaf five-seater electric vehicle slated to debut in December, backed by confidence in its ability to develop low-cost lithium ion batteries.”

According to The Nikkei, “Nissan has an edge over rivals in developing low-cost batteries, a key component that accounts for nearly half of the sales price. It costs the automaker about 1.54 million yen to produce a Leaf, compared with 2.28 million yen for Mitsubishi Motors Corp.’s i-MiEV electric car.”

If that’s the case, kiss the i-MiEV sayonara. And the Leaf? It will appeal to the huge market that aims to save $361 over six years.

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115 Comments on “You Won’t Believe How Much The Nissan Leaf Will Save You...”

  • avatar

    And to state the obvious, the CO2 emmissions of the leaf is NOT 0. It is whatever the CO2 emmissions are of the power plant that makes the electricity. I assume Japan does not have a 100% Nuke/Hydro/Wind/Unicorn Farts power system?

    Just completely pointless.

    • 0 avatar

      Unicorns are people too!

    • 0 avatar

      Um…. 1/3 of Japan’s electricity is from nuclear plants and that number will rise towards 50% by 2017. So, why again is it pointless?

    • 0 avatar

      Hey, it takes a lot of feed, and thusly farming, to make enough unicorn farts. They must cost plenty in Carbon credits as well.

    • 0 avatar

      jmo, nuclear power plants are typically gigantic concrete structures that are:
      1) not free
      2) not emission free to build
      3) not emission free to operate

      It may be better than petroleum if done right, but it’s not 0 emission.

    • 0 avatar
      healthy skeptic


      1) No form of energy production is free.
      2) No form of energy production is emissions free, if you want to get stringent enough about it.
      3) Same for maintenance.

      Nuclear is not good at #1, but pretty darn good at #2 and #3.

    • 0 avatar


      Now if we’re going to get into to silly comparisons that are going to calculate the cost of building a nuclear power facility, then we minus well start calculating the massive cost of energy and pollution that goes into digging for oil and the transport of that oil to your gas tank as well. Oil drills, tankers, pipelines, etc. aren’t free as well(not to mention geopolitical tensions that come with all those things).

      Neither the Leaf nor Volt as a solution really makes huge sense economically or from a environmental perspective in the near, or even middle-term.

      It might make more sense in California where you could conceivably get it for as little over $20k after rebates, but in reality there is HUGE taxpayer money being sunk into it. In fact, I would say there is an almost wasteful level of taxpayer money being spent. The DOE has given both GM and Nissan billions to build their factories, and are planning to given billions more in subsidies from the federal and state level.

    • 0 avatar


      I don’t think such a comparison is “silly”, when billions of dollars and thousands of lives are at stake.

      The majority of the world’s oil are obtained via old tech wells that’s very simple in design and cheap to build. If something does go wrong, the impact is small. As compared to Chernobyl.

    • 0 avatar


      “Lives at stake”!?

      I don’t know what world you have been living in, but OIL certainly does cause the loss of lives.

      Certainly more lives lost in oil related geopolitical issues then all nuclear incidents combined. In fact, you can probably multiply that by several orders of magnitude and still come up short.

      If you want to use fuzzy math in calculating the cost of nuclear power, there is certainly fuzzier math in calculating the cost of oil…

    • 0 avatar

      wsn: Do you know how many civilians died as a result of the Chernobyl incident? You don’t need to guess, because I can tell you: 0.

      There were 56 deaths in total, all employees on the power plant and the firemen who were sent in in the first stages of the rescue effort.

      Apart from Chernobyl, there has been ONE incident with a nuclear power plant, thirty years ago in the USA, the core meltdown of Unit Two at the Three Mile Island plant in Harrisburg. Why does nobody remember this incident?

      Simple. Nobody died. Nobody was even injured. In the thirty years that have passed, there have not been any deformed babies, no cancers, no nothing that can be attributed to the meltdown.

      Meanwhile thousands of people, mostly in Africa, have died in accidents where oil pipelines explode.

      Oil, unlike nuclear, kills people.

    • 0 avatar


      awesome album.

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly correct as everyone else has noted. Much of the electricty produced around the world is prdouced using “brown” fuel and not “green” fuel like wind/solar/geothermal or “red” fuel like nuclear. Aside from the “carbon footprint” issue, the cost savings have not been properly factored either. Factually, 1 gal. of gasoline can transport a vehicle a certain distance, then the question becomes how much electricty is required to do the same job and what is the total cost for that electricty. Hypothetically, if 1 liter of gasoline costs 1 yen and it moves a car 50 kilometers what will be the cost in electricty to move the same car 50 kilometers? If it is more than 1 yen, then it just doesn’t make sense since not only will the cost to move 50 kilometers be higher, but that the carbon footprint would be increased as well since it may take more “brown” fuel to produce the required electricity.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    I can’t wait until the American Leaf fanboy community gets to buy JDM Leaf engines for installation into their USA-spec Leaves!

    • 0 avatar

      Leaf won’t have fanboys, it will be bought by reasonable, educated people with fair earnings who simply want to decrease their environmental impact. Just like in case of most hybrids and other efficient vehicles.

      By the way, this post shows how awfully biased against electric car The Truth About Cars are and how they chase cheap headlines instead of delivering valuable commentary.

      The real conclusion is that customers simply won’t loose any money purchasing an electric car. The initial price is steep but low service and maintenance cost will refund all of it.

      At the same time:

      1. Tons of foreign, imported oil will be saved and replaced by locally produced electricity

      2. Tons of cancerous emissions and pollutants will NOT be released in densely populated areas. Fewer people will die on cancer so tons of money will be also saved by fewer lives lost.

      3. National account balance will improve by ceasing foreign imports. This will make economy stronger and healthier.

      4. The country won’t have to send troops to murder innocent people in Iraq and other Middle East territories and won’t have to collect their troops which happened to receive a bullet in their head. No mother will have to be called with an announcement that her son has just been shot.

      Peak Oil happens now. Look at the oil price – it simply grows, quietly and steadily over time. What Japan is doing is producing a car that makes as much sense as any other gasoline powered vehicle but is 100% Peak Oil ready.

      Sadly, the biased author of this post failed to mention any of these simple, reasonable conclusion, preferring cheap flame war and aggressive, anti-Leaf propaganda instead.


  • avatar

    Don’t forget to add in the additional $720 you will save in oil changes! I just tippled the value of owning a leaf!!!

    4 oil changes a year x 30 bucks a pop x 6 years

    • 0 avatar

      4 oil changes a year? Not if you’re changing the oil per the manufacturer’s recommendations and only driving 1000 km per month. You should only have two oil changes per year, once every 5,000 miles or 6 monthes, whichever comes first. Since I do my own oil changes, they cost me about $22, using full synthetic (on sale somewhere between each oil change) and a Wix oil filter, and 15 minutes of my time for my Mazda. My wife’s Mustang is a little more difficult and can take me anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on how difficult the oil filter is being that day, but my materials cost drops to $13 because I don’t use synthetic in her car.

      So, compared to my Mazda, the Leaf would save me an additional $264 over 6 years ($22 X 2 per year X 6 years) if I only drove 1000 km per month.

    • 0 avatar

      Why are you over there changing oil every 5000 miles. Nobody on this side of the podle are driving less than 9000 mi on fully synthetic and our engines last almost forever.
      Interessting discussion on CO2. But there is normally tvo important questions to ask about elctric cars.
      1 What’ s the cost for new batteries (often more than 10000 usd)
      2 How often (often every five years)
      There are better batteries around the corner, I’ve heard for the last 30 odd years. Then electric cars might make sense.
      Plug in hybrids is another thing and bio gas.

  • avatar

    Should I buy a Nissan Leaf for $40,000, and deal with range anxiety, or should I go with the $26,000 gasoline equivalent?

    Question: do Japanese commuters have shorter distances to cover, on average?

    The range of the Leaf is just a bit shy of what North Americans would be comfortable with. As an intercity commuter’s second car (or the primary car of an intracity commuter), though, it will probably do quite well.

  • avatar

    Just getting an electric car to break even with a gas counterpart is a remarkable achievement, so the joke about actual savings sort of misses that huge point.

    Of course, ‘breaking even’ includes the government subsidy, which places a hand on the scale in favor of the Leaf.

    Range anxiety is a major ‘cost’ to owning an all-electric car, but nobody ever said an electric car is one-size-fits-all.

    The Volt won’t suffer from range anxiety, but its payback will be well over 6 years – more like 10-15 years. That’ll be the real joke.

  • avatar

    I find it hard to believe that electricity in Japan costs only 9.17 yen/kW-hr. That’s about 9 cents/kW-hr or what I pay in the Detroit area. When I visited Japan I noticed a couple of popular electricity saving items: widespread use of fluorescent lighting in homes (this was in pre-CFL days) and all TVs had a positive on/off switch to eliminate stand by consumption. Why bother if you have cheap electricity? And let’s not forget that a good part of gasoline price is taxes; if the politicians see this revenue disappearing due to electric cars is it not likely they will find a way to make it up?

    • 0 avatar

      You mean like raising taxes on electricity? Yeah, it’s hard to believe that is the price of electricity in Japan. That’s less than I pay, and our City electric utiltiy gets power at a cut rate price from the huge dam/public works project located just up river from us. The people outside the city limits who receive electricity from PG&E (a publicly held private utility) pay about 40% more for their electricity.

    • 0 avatar

      As with healthcare and banking, privatisation and a lack of government oversight and planning is actually a large part of the reason why electricity rates in the US are so high and yet service so poor and nationally inconsistent.

      Japan (and France) have very well-planned infrastructures.

    • 0 avatar
      A is A

      “…lack of government oversight and planning is actually a large part of the reason why electricity rates in the US are so high”

      Sure. That is the reason the Soviet Union is the wealthiest country in the world.

    • 0 avatar

      So, why again is electricity cheaper and more reliable in France and Japan, where it’s highly regulated and centrally planned? Why are Canada’s banks the healthiest in the western world when they’re subject to some of the tightest regulation? Why is landline internet access better in, oh, just about everywhere that the telecomm companies are more tightly regulated?

      I know this really galls free-market types, but the market is not good at delivering many services; it’s really not good at planning more than a short time into the future or assuring basic levels of service where margins are thin and buying participants relatively powerless.

      The Soviet system took the opposite approach: that everything could be planned. Both extremes are shortsighted and ignore reality, and yet know-it-alls at either extreme insist that ideological purity is the way to go.

    • 0 avatar
      A is A

      “So, why again is electricity cheaper and more reliable in France and Japan”

      I do not known.

      Some guesses:


      * Japan 337/km2

      * France 115/km2

      * United States 32/km2

      You can not pretend am isolated farm in Iowa to pay the same for kilowatt that a flat in Kioto, because the costs of the power lines are much, much, much more expensive in Iowa.

      NUCLEAR POWER: France 75%, Japan 25%, United States 19%.

      OTOH the Japanese are simply more efficient doing things. No offence intended, but it is a fact that those small goys/gals are very good producing things. Better than us. They have beaten us in our own industrial games. Reason enough for cheaper electricity?. I do not know, but it is a possibility.

      SUSIDIES. I do not know if electricity is subsidized or not in Japan or France. In Spain it is. Subsidies simply tax you on monday to subsidize you on wednesday.

      Behind the Iron Courtain housing, education, sport facilities and (in some countries) even phone calls were “free”. Food, transportation (collective, of course) and holidays were heavily subsidized. Life was materally and spiritually miserable in those countries, nonetheless.

    • 0 avatar

      Life was materally and spiritually miserable in those countries, nonetheless.

      Life is not materially and spiritually worse in France or Japan, and yet they don’t have soaring energy costs, an aging grid and rolling brownouts.

      Using the extreme to discredit the moderate is not sensible: Somalia is a libertarian paradise in textbook terms, but it’s not exactly a nice place to live. It doesn’t mean that the existence of Somalia as a governmentless state means that less government is always bad.

      The market is good at many things, don’t get me wrong, but energy policy is not one of them.

      You can not pretend am isolated farm in Iowa to pay the same for kilowatt that a flat in Kioto, because the costs of the power lines are much, much, much more expensive in Iowa.

      Are they? Running cable in dense, established urban environments is not a cost-free picnic, and it’s not like, say, New York or (especially) Los Angeles or San Fran/Oakland are anywhere near the service levels of Kyoto.

      But let’s use a less extreme example: Montreal, Quebec, Canada: about seven cents per kilowatt-hour and solid service. How do they do it? Hydro-Quebec is actually capable of forward planning, largely because they’re government-owned and think a little further than the next fiscal quarter. Comparatively, Ontario (one province over) dismantled the centralized power infrastructure, only to watch services get worse and prices go up.

    • 0 avatar
      A is A

      “Somalia is a libertarian paradise in textbook terms…the existence of Somalia as a governmentless state”

      a) I am not a Libertarian. A free market is impossible with no state.

      b) Somalia is not governmentless. When in a defined place (lets say Somaliland or Puntland) the authority of some people (armed thugs in this case) is generally recognized, they are the state there.

      “The market is good at many things, don’t get me wrong, but energy policy is not one of them.”

      Could you please explain us WHY electricity is so special and different?.

      Here at TTAC we all know what happens with car production when the market is out: 40 years of Wartburg Trabant, produced by the same people that were manufacturing Mercedes and BMWs to the free market at the other side of the Iron Courtain.

      Jeremy Clarkson once said that he knew why socialist bloc inmates risked their lives to emigrate to the West: They wanted decent (just decent) cars, i.e., cars built for a market.

      “Running cable in dense, established urban environments is not a cost-free picnic”

      It is not, but it is much cheaper that running 5km of cable to provide electricity for a single house. I know because such houses exist where I live.

      “But let’s use a less extreme example: Montreal, Quebec, Canada: about seven cents per kilowatt-hour and solid service. How do they do it?”

      Do power companies there operate at a loss? (with tax money filling the hole).

      “rolling brownouts” Today´s English language new expression to learn. Thank you. Here in Spain electricity is reliable. Brownouts ceased here in the 1960s.

      Please also consider the painful possibility that the United States is just slowly becoming a third world country. The more I read about the current (since 2001, to be precise) state of the USA the sadder I become, specially remembering how great your country once was.

    • 0 avatar

      So, why again is electricity cheaper and more reliable in France and Japan, where it’s highly regulated and centrally planned?

      The majority of electricity in France is nuclear and these plants supply more power than is demanded. This decreases cost (a market effect). It is not a regulatory effect.

      According to a Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry, the cost of Japanese electricity was actually higher than other Western countries, and there was no relief until the beginnings of market liberalization and the beginnings of a non-reliance on power monopolies. Please review ’02 relative cost: UK $0.046 /kWh; Japan $0.072 /kWh; US $0.037 /kWh.

      Why are Canada’s banks the healthiest in the western world when they’re subject to some of the tightest regulation?

      To say Canadian banks are “healthy” must be qualified. There was less mortgage derivative “meltdown” in Canada, as about half the mortgages are government backed anyway, and those with highest ratio of debt are even more insured by the government. Thus, the taxpayers are still on the hook for defaults. What happened in the US was not so much a lack of regulation, but the entrance of the political process into the banking system as politicians and non-governmental lobby groups strong-armed banks into making questionable loans to those unworthy. These were then packaged into derivatives and the government did not allow any of them to fail, as should have taken place. The Banks more or less understood that the Bush administration (soon followed by Obama) was willing to underwrite their toxic behavior.

      Why is landline internet access better in, oh, just about everywhere that the telecomm companies are more tightly regulated?

      I’m not sure what you mean, here. Can you offer some examples? However, one thing is true, if a country is capable of starting any technology without existing legacy systems it is easier to build a more modern infrastructure. In any case, to state that US telecommunications companies are not tightly regulated is odd. What would constitute a “tighter” regulation other than government ownership?

      I know this really galls free-market types, but the market is not good at delivering many services…

      Actually, the market is the best means of allocating resources. The problem is, the market always has to run around government regulation, and interference with non-market reallocation of resources. For instance, when debt levels are as high as they are today, we are close to the point where existing incomes cannot service existing debt. In fact, some economists have argued that we may have actually reached a level of debt saturation, where any subsequent infusion of dollars will not at all increase real growth, but only cycle through in order to pay previous debt. Finally, as individuals and businesses attempt to retire private debt, government is massively increasing public debt, and at the same time creating regulatory barriers that raise the cost of doing business. How can a market function efficiently in such an environment? The fact that it works as well as it does is, to me, an amazing mystery.

    • 0 avatar


      On Canadian banks:

      Japan is much denser than the US, hence requires a smaller electric infrastructure. Also, their heavy reliance on nuclear, with high upfront costs and low incrementals, allows for lower prices as long as upfront construction is subsidized. Same goes from France.

      As well, high power cost in the US, is due specifically to the lack of a “free market”, as anyone who has been even tangentially involved with power plants in California can tell you. You’ll spend more on lawyers and politicians before even getting a permit to build anything, than you’ll ever do building the power plant itself. While the relatively freer states, tend to be those further away from big population centers, driving up infrastructure costs.

      (And honestly, when it comes to nuclear, you’re probably right. While I have no doubt a “free market” would provide even that a lot cheaper and more efficiently, it’s pretty unrealistic to assume people would be comfortable with the same kind of freewheeling garage nuke startups that are the norm in less regulated fields, like software. And once you accept the inevitability of heavy, regulatory burdens applied asymmetrically, the assumptions underpinning economics’ conclusion that freer is better, pretty much goes out the window. But nuclear is a special case, not some sort of norm.)

      The high speed landline internet advantage is, again, greatest in the densest developed countries in Asia, where infrastructure is cheaper to begin with. In Europe, the various regulated telcos standardized on ISDN back in the day, with the “state knows best” crowd bragging about how much more advanced they were than America. Until American carriers started rolling out DSL and Cable, obliterating ISDN bandwidth wise. And after the Euros blew that one, they then jumped on the next five year plan, spending untold sums on “beating the Americans” again, only this time with fiber. And still, the European countries with the highest penetration of truly fast fiber over any distance, are the Scandinavian ones, where pretty much anyone can string any wire from any pole anywhere. Hardly indicative of regulation’s advantages, but rather of US Nimbyism run amuck.

      You’ll see a similar dynamic in cellular technology. Massive GSM standardization and rollout at tax and / or rate payer expense bankrolling Nokia, Ericson and various more or less nationalized carriers; only to have the heavy taxation and regulation starve the kind of creativity and investment leading to the iPhone. So now it’s catch-up time again and, as always, with their best and brightest either gone or going for greener pastures in Palo Alto.

      Once the one size fits all’ers latch on to something, they’ll keep storming down that road at least somewhat efficiently. That’s how monocultures work. And considering how “beating the others”, at whatever happens to be the fashionable UN metric of the day, is inevitably the name of the game; its little wonder they sometimes manage to look impressive to the easily impressed. They’re pulling off the same trick in health care, as well.

      Good thing for them, they have populations sufficiently similar to America’s, that they occasionally get shown up obviously enough to change direction. Otherwise they’d still be crowing to their citizens about how lucky they were, to have their benevolent rulers provide them with ISDN lines, and such medical wonders as penicillin. Even Stalin’s finance minister recognized only the entire world, except for New Zeeland, needed to be communist, as the omnipotent planners needed somewhere to get their prices from, after all.

    • 0 avatar
      A is A

      “…but the entrance of the political process into the banking system as politicians and non-governmental lobby groups strong-armed banks into making questionable loans to those unworthy”

      Absolutely true.

      Please read

    • 0 avatar

      And of course we have used that world renowned nuclear engineer – Jane Fonda (The China Syndrome) to guide our electric nuclear generation policy. It has taken us 30 years to discover she wasn’t an *expert* – she’s a movie star (maybe).

    • 0 avatar


      Electric costs are far more expensive in upstate NY, where Ithaca is, where power is provided by a co-op, then power provided by the for-profit Duke Energy company in North Carolina or by Dominion VA Power in Fairfax, VA.

      It’s absurd to call it a “free market” anyway, since the companies are heavily regulated, both from building power plants to what rates they can charge, which are based on cost-plus metrics.

      But in any case, comparing consumer prices is, as you know, a bad metric anyway. Plenty of government-run water utilities make water far too cheap, encouraging wasteful use and depleting the water table. Apparently from your perspective, it’s perfectly okay to waste energy so long as it’s a government agency setting the price.

    • 0 avatar

      “OTOH the Japanese are simply more efficient doing things. ”

      Sorry, but making blanket statements such as this one strains credibility. The Japanese are actually a wonderful example of how *not* to be efficient. Their product distribution system is a perfect example. It’s optimized to guarantee profit for all of the unnecessary layers and, as such, is a poor example of market efficiency. That’s just one example. For another, walk into any Japanese bank and cash a traveller’s check and watch the process. It’s stunning how many people it takes to accomplish this task.

      To be sure, the Japanese are very good at certain things. But their form of “capitalism” could have been invented by the Byzantine Empire.

  • avatar

    Sooooooooooooooo I can pay about 30Gs for a Leaf or 40Gs for a Volt, or pick up a Cobalt (solid upper thirties for hwy fuel economy) for about $14,000 or wait for a Cruze at less than $20,000. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm wonder what the folks that do more than city driving will do?

    OH and I forgot that a gently used Prius isn’t that expensive either.

  • avatar

    You buy one to be a good person and reduce your carbon footprint. Not everything is about $$.


    For a multi-car family where at least one member has a short commute, and there is another vehicle for family outings, etc., this type of car makes good sense. It would work great for my family, and I certainly wouldn’t need proof that it would save me money over the cheapest gasoline alternative. I would just need compelling evidence that it would reduce environmental impact, considering the vehicle and fuel lifecycle.

    I doubt I am alone in this.

    • 0 avatar

      Don’t forget that a car’s “carbon footprint” also has much to do with how long it’s kept. The majority of a modern vehicle’s carbon footprint is created in it’s manufacture. If the Japanese are buying new vehicles every three years or so as Bertel asserts, then their carbon footprints must be HUGE, regardless of what they purchase.

      Just making a point.

    • 0 avatar

      The majority of a modern vehicle’s carbon footprint is created in it’s manufacture.

      That statement doesnt’ match anything I’ve ever reado r heard on the subject. Do you have some data to back that up?

      Do you even know how much oil it would takes to melt one ton of steel?

    • 0 avatar

      Here’s a fairly balanced take on it. So like just about anything, it boils down to how the car was made and what kind of power powered the plant that made it, what % of the parts were made in countries far, far away, the fuel efficiency of the container ship that delivered it, ect, ect….

      Obviously a nuclear powered plant vs. a coal fired plant makes a huge difference.

    • 0 avatar

      jmo ……

      It takes approximately 2 barrels of oil to manufacture a ton of steel (from 2003 data):

    • 0 avatar

      I’m with YellowDuck on this. If I want to pay a surcharge to drive an electric car, who’s to say that I’m not getting value for my money?

      Many of us would choose to buy a v8 Mustang over the v6. How many years does it take to pay off the additional charge of that upgrade? None! Because you’d prefer to drive the V8.

      Comparing the Leaf to a Cobalt or Versa just proves the point to me. If I had to choose to drive one of these 3 cars for the next 5 years, I would choose the Leaf because of the novelty factor. I’d feel penalized to know that I had to spend 5 years driving something as mundane as a Cobalt or Versa.

      Many people buy Ferraris and M3s and never drive them on the track. Should they keep their money and buy a Cobalt instead?

      Many Jeep buyers never drive off road. Should they keep their money and buy a Cobalt instead?

      Some people will buy Leafs, and not save any more money than if they bought a Cobalt. But maybe they like it better than a Cobalt, and as a bonus they’re burning less (foreign supplied, carbon producing, expensive, polluting -pick your favourite) fuel.

      And yes, I’m aware that electricity is not environmentally free, but around here the oil industry has done multiple times the damage to our environment than electricity generation will ever be able to accomplish.

    • 0 avatar

      Actually srogers you make an excellent point. We’ve (MYSELF ESPECIALLY INCLUDED) missed Bertel’s point which I think is that Nissan is kinda stupid to try to push the Leaf as a money saver. If you want the dang Leaf, buy the dang Leaf. It’s a choice just like picking the hamburger over the chicken breast sandwich. Eat what you like.

    • 0 avatar


      There’s a bit of truth in what you say and what Bertel implies. However, what I want to eat is filet mignon and what I want to drive is a Ferrari.

      Reality and budget intrude rule some of these wants out. I can indulge myself on the filet periodically but most days it’s a cheeeeper alternative. And indulging myself on the Ferrari is really out of the question.

      Some people are going to want to drive electrically but will be put off by the cost; it’s reasonable for Nissan to take steps to reassure people that they won’t be out as much money as they fear, so maybe they can indulge themselves.

      This is why the Prius is such a great car… it’s not much more than a regular car. If you are inclined towards something like the Prius, you don’t have to eat nothing but oatmeal for 6 years to pay for one.

    • 0 avatar

      Hmm, the majority of a car’s carbon footprint is generated at time of manufacture? Not from the figures I have been quoted. The average consumption I saw was 20 barrels of oil per vehicle. Obviously this is an average, as a SMART will consume less oil than a Suburban.

      The following study claims 27 barrels per vehicle (American cars).
      Automobiles: Manufacture Versus Use,” published by the Institute for Lifecycle Environmental Assesment;

      It’s quite easy to make 20 barrels of oil in savings when your vehicle burns four times less fuel (Ford Fiesta diesel versus Hummer).

      The argument that it’s better to keep a hugely inefficient old V8 on the road versus scrapping it in favour of a modern 4 cylinder vehicle is often quoted, but never backed up with any real data.

      It’s similar to the debate on solar panels. Someone always chimes in with ‘solar panels consume more power to make than they ever produce’ in forum debates, without ever having a shred of data to back that up.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    It would be interesting to do an American comparison on this. I’m game for the writ-up if someone can tell me (definitively) what the warranties and guarantees are from the Nissan side of the fence.

    • 0 avatar

      Hi Steven!

      It seems Nissan has neglected some fundimental assumptions in its total cost of ownership comparison slide…

      If/when you do the write-up comparo, please also take into consideration of opportunity cost and insurance. I would expect that the after-tax return on the price difference (betw elec and gas versions) would chip away at the 361$ savings as well as the additional cost for insurance (due to the car being more “exotic” than its gas twin).

      Additionally, take into account the risk that the resale value will drop on that 6-year-old battery car (because people will price-in the cost of a battery pack replacement) and there is no likely way that this car will do anything but cost one more in comparison to the gas variant.


  • avatar

    Isn’t it good enough news that an electric car is approaching competitiveness with gasoline cars? This Leaf reminds me of the first generation Prius… small, ugly, didn’t save money… but it has similar potential.

    And while the questions about CO2 emissions of power plants are totally reasonable, what about the emissions in producing and delivering gasoline? Fair’s fair.

  • avatar

    I am going to continue to drive 300+ HP cars until there are non left to be had.

    • 0 avatar
      Joshua Johnson

      Amen to that! I feel that it is my duty as a car lover to thoroughly enjoy my overpowered muscle-sedan (since it has 4 doors) before the fun police and nanny statists make it too financially burdensome to continue owning said automobile.

    • 0 avatar

      …before the fun police and nanny statists make it too financially burdensome…

      Those “nanny statists” actually spend a lot of time, effort and money to secure the oil your car needs to run, ensure the quality of fuel that your car burns, pave the roads your car drives on, enforce the rules of the road that allow you to drive it without risk and enforce laws that prevent someone from stealing it from you.

      Imagine if you had to pay for all this directly in an unsocialized system? You’d probably walk or, at best, own a horse instead.

      I think, perhaps, that people need to be careful with the term “nanny-statism” when what they really mean is “when the government funds and supports stuff that I don’t like”.

      Cars like the Leaf are, eventually, going to be what will allow you to continue owning and enjoying your muscle car. If every car barely eked out 10-12mpg, we’d have far greater energy security issues. Heck, you should encourage people to own Leafs (Leaves?) so that there’ll be more cheap gas available for you to burn.

    • 0 avatar

      A couple of hundred million horses being used would cause – another set of *problems*.
      And there would be many, many things that could not be done at all using *horsepower*.
      What would be the carbon footprint of several hundred million horses?

    • 0 avatar


      Straw man much, sir?

      Even though no one was talking about privatizing the federal highway system (which does pay for itself at the federal level, unlike at the state and local level), there certainly were roads and automobiles before it existed.

      psarhjinian, if you’re so concerned with gas not being wasted and with energy being concerned, shouldn’t you be agitating for the government to get out of the subsidizing business? You seem to be claiming that it’s a great thing that the government, in your view, subsidizes cars to an extent that would not happen in a free market. Does that mean that you’re not an environmentalist at all?

    • 0 avatar
      Joshua Johnson


      I was merely making a light comment on a car website about how I better appreciate my automobile before it is a relic of history. I understand that all else being equal, the current status quo is unsustainable in the long-term.

      I believe my carefully chosen words got their point across if they provoked additional commentary. It is quite apparent that you are a socialist while I am a capitalist. You believe that the government knows how to best allocate resources, while I believe that individuals know how to best allocate resources. However, I am by no means advocating the corporation. Corporations are impersonal and are only a few degrees removed from governments, in that the managers (politicians) have no vested interest in the promotion of creating value for the owners (taxpayers), so long as they are able to enrich themselves with stock options (lobbying requests) before the house of cards falls down.

  • avatar

    Of course you know this means the government is going to have to get involved to assure that this automotive emerald is widely used.

  • avatar

    Where do I sign up?

    Barak Obama

  • avatar

    Won’t the cost of driving the Leaf look much better once gas hits $4.59 a gallon this summer? It’s already close to $3 where I live and the summer price increase hasn’t happened yet. Don’t forget about $50 tune ups and oil changes/air filter replacements and so on…

    If the mechanical parts hold together and the batteries can cycle efficiently for 5 years, it might break even with the cost of a comparable car. A gallon of gasoline will be $10 in 2010 if current trends hold. We really, really need to wean ourselves from the petroteat. We’re closer than ever with the Leaf.

    • 0 avatar

      ” A gallon of gasoline will be $10 in 2010 if current trends hold.”

      Where do you live!?

      “Don’t forget about $50 tune ups and oil changes/air filter replacements and so on…”

      Tune-ups are another unnecessary left over from the old days of points and sparkplugs with 10,000 mile lives. With no gaps to adjust, fittings to grease, or spark plugs to replace, what does a tune-up entail? I can buy a lifetime supply (200,000 miles) of air filters and cabin air filters, which an electric car would also have for the ventilation system, for less than $400.lets be realistic in our arguments for this car. the same as the Prius, it’s a lifestyle choice and a philosophical and to some extent a political statement.

    • 0 avatar

      If you really believe oil is going back up to $100+ per barrel, quick go out and buy some oil stocks and make a fortune.

      Secondly, the environment would be much better served if you bought a VW Golf Diesel or Audi A3 diesel. You get 41 MPG, and it is lighter, less complex, and less toxic then a hybrid. More fun to drive as well.

    • 0 avatar

      Oil company stocks will return nowhere near what one can make in oil futures – especially with the leverage.

      We’re already well over $80 a bbl. Your thoughts on why $100 is not entirely possible?

  • avatar

    Do you know how much people will save by buying a Honda Fit instead of a Honda Accord? Thousands and thousands of dollars, right off the bat, then more on insurance and gas down the road.

    Of course, people still buy Accords. That’s because there are lots of reasons to buy a car besides price. Value is determined by the consumer, and if price alone were the only consideration, nobody would ever pay more than $12,000 for a car in today’s market.

    I have always assumed that a Leaf buyer will have similar criteria to mine (as I’m going to buy one) — desire to pollute less, desire to avoid giving money to gasoline distributors, desire to own a whiz-bang new toy that nobody else has, desire to have a new experience. If I were a Japanese buyer with similar criteria (and they do love their latest, greatest novelty items in Japan!) I would be thrilled to find out that I could have all of that AND it would actually cost me a little LESS than an equivalent gasoline-powered car.

    And, to be honest, I’m thrilled now, because saving money was never a consideration — it was just the maximum premium I’d be willing to pay to buy one. I’d be curious how this financial breakdown would go for a person living in California. How ’bout generating one?

  • avatar

    The post and the above comments seem to assume the price of oil will stay about the same over the next 6 years which I think is highly unlikely. Today it is at about $87, a new recovery high. Some analysts like Jeff Rubin see oil reaching a new all time high near $200 in 2012.

    Oil demand in Chindia and many oil exporting countries is rising fast. Oil exports are likely to fall due to more consumption in oil exporting countries and static to falling oil production. Chindia demand will keep prices up even if American consumption falls.

    Expect fast rising oil prices ahead.

    The Nissan Leaf will likely turn out to be a real bargain in the Post Peak Oil world ahead over the next six years if its range is adequate for your needs. Follow Peak Oil developments at

    • 0 avatar

      + 1
      I also would like to add that even if Nissan’s calculation is optimistic (“0” CO2) they made great progress. $ 40K or $ 30 K is not out of reach of most people. And assuming gas prices go up, and likely faster than electricity prices, there is some gain. Compared to hydrogen cars (a million $ a piece, no refueling stations at all, the Leaf at least can “fuel up” at my aunt’s house when I visit her).

      It sure will be a toy car, or a car for people that just want to have it. But it makes some economic sense, even today. Look at the Prius today, with similar equipment, safety rating etc. it is not much more expensive than competitors (maybe $ 3000 more if you figure in the good base equipment). And 10 years ago people were as pessimistic as they are about electric cars today.

      One question, how does heating work? and what is the range, especially with AC or heating on? this likely is the Achilles heel.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    The Leaf is a tad smaller than a Sentra, but the top of the line Sentra costs $18,500 and the base Leaf costs $32,700 (before you qualify for TARP). For the extra $14,200, you could buy a lot of gasoline, a lot, or another car — A base model Sentra is only $15,400. So the quick answer is that a Leaf won’t save you any money, it is strictly a look at me proposition.

    • 0 avatar

      Unless you’d rather not have a second car or give that $14200 in gas money to oil companies.

      Not everyone is a poseur (or maybe I should say that everyone is at least a little bit of a poseur – from the used car “value guy” shopper to the exotic car “rich guy” shoppers and everything in between, we all identify to some varying degree with what we drive. What do you drive and what are you saying about yourself with it?

      Are you sure that you’re comfortable labeling all hybrid and EV drivers as smug? Any more smug than someone who says “I’ll drive my V8 powered behemoth until the feds pry it from my cold, dead hands”?

  • avatar

    Maybe the “shaken” process leads to another benefit of buying an EV in Japan? Perhaps it’s cheaper to get an electric vehicle than a gas vehicle through shaken? There’s no tailpipe emissions to worry about.

    If you can go electric and then keep your vehicle for 6 years, rather than just 3, wouldn’t that save quite the tidy pile of yen?

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Obviously, the early adopters of the leaf (like the early adopters of hybrids, with the possible exception of the Prius) will buy the car for other than economic reasons.

    So, it would seem that the smart thing for Nissan to do is not to try to sell it for its [non-existent] economic benefits, but for its other benefits: smooth, silent operation; reliability, environmental consciousness, whatever.

    As the comments reflect, there are relatively few people who buy a car solely for transportation. People buy cars for all kinds of reasons — for fun, for status, for the pleasure of operating the machine and so on.

    That said, even though I’m not a Californian, I still believe “you are what you drive.” Ergo, if BMW drivers are obnoxious jerks [poster raises hand], then Prius drivers are self-righteous prigs.

    Which, in my book is a good argument for buying a Fusion or Milan hybrid — hybrid without all the baggage (not to mention the “runaway acceleration”!).

  • avatar

    Bertel Schmitt

    Sorry, this question is a bit off the topic of the Leaf – but you said (And ignoring the fact that no self-respecting Japanese holds on to a car for six years. Before the first shaken rolls around after three years, they usually get a new one,)

    Does this mean there is little in the way of privately held classic cars in Japan? (I know they have museums) Is there much restoration work, or interest in old cars?

    • 0 avatar

      The Japanese are masters of the craze. Yes, there are many collectors, tuners, drifters, etc. Google “auto otaku”.

      A true auto otaku won’t let himself get distracted by biannual inspections. But they usually use a new car as a daily driver. There’s also peer pressure by the neighbors.

      Before I married my wife in Japan, I received a little lecture in religion: “You foreigners believe in God. We believe in reputation.”

  • avatar

    Don’t forget the value of the Fallout Shelter Effect.

  • avatar

    So I’m a commuter in a crowded city, the perfect target for a Leaf.

    Why, exactly, would I spend 40Gs on car when I could buy 40 years worth of train and bus tickets for that, or a new top of the line bike every 4 years for the rest of my career?

    As much as I hate to admit it, cars aren’t the answer for city dwellers.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, because you can’t lock in the bus ticket price, due to the 1 year expiry date. And bus tickets go up in price faster than most believe. The Toronto subway fare has outperformed the Toronto stock exchange index many hundred percent in the past few years.

      When I just arrived the city that I am residing now, a bus ticket would cost $0.75 and it’s $2.25 now (bus passes went up proportionally too). In the mean time, a Camry V6 has gone up from $30k to … well, $30k. Not to mention all the added size and features.

      The thing with bus fare is that you can’t really buy a whole lot of them and lock in a price, because they expire within a year.

      Given the amount of paper money Obama just printed, I am 100% certain the $30k Leaf (after government subsidy) will outperform your bus transit in term of cost in 5 years. I have no doubt that my local bus fare will go up to $5 really soon. Just imagine a bus fleet operated by the likes of UAW, but with no competition.

    • 0 avatar


      To be honest, it hasn’t been 75 cents to take the TTC in more than twenty years, and only hit that in the eighties. When I moved to Toronto in 1995 it was well north of that.

    • 0 avatar

      Even at $5 a day, I would still be coming out far ahead of an automobile, once insurance, fuel, maintenance, parking, tolls and repairs are figured in.

      Or, I could simply purchase a bicycle, which costs nothing to operate and is usually faster through a city than a car anyway.

      Also, nice UAW barb there. It seems some people cannot post here without “RARRRGGGHHHH UNIONS” thrown in the mix somewhere.

  • avatar

    Psarhjinian, you seem to be a vertitable fount of information on everything. Is there anything you don’t know? I call BS on 99% of the stuff you put in your posts. Your overwhelming theme is how bad market economies are and how us deluded fool Americans don’t realize how terrible our way of life is. You are a broken record, the same stuff all the time, change up a little and I might give you a little credit for at least a room temp IQ.

    What you need to do to be taken seriously is to cite the sources for everything you say. Specifically, why is life in Europe better than here, in what ways? How is central planning better than capitalism? How is personal freedom better than the state controlling everything? Bring some tech with your posts not generalities, not ad hominem attacks, don’t try and drown out those who disagree with you and most of all go to a political site and get off car sites. You have no reason to be here.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, if I were to be honest, I’d say I haven’t kept up on literary criticism, I’m not so hot at algebra and my Kung-Fu is weak. I also dress myself funny.

      On a serious note:

      Specifically, why is life in Europe better than here, in what ways? How is central planning better than capitalism? How is personal freedom better than the state controlling everything?

      I think you missed my point. I specifically did not say that the state was better at everything. I did say that the state is better than the market at certain things:
      * Where profit margins are low or negative, but the need for service exists
      * Where a minimum level of equitable service needs to be maintained
      * The the payoff is far in the future but the initial capital investment is high.

      That pretty much describes power generation.

      The market is better when you the problems to overcome involve quick, short-lived opportunities and inefficiencies, where the profit opportunity is great and where the risk is very high but very short-term. Logistics, finance, investment, consumer goods.

      The problem is that people on either side of the debate are absolutists: you have idiot Stalinists/Marxists/Leninists (I know a lot of these people) who think that corporations use worker blood as an industrial lubricant, and you have Randians who think that the government is a kind of reverse-Midas. Both these sides are incapable of thinking in relative terms about the other: they’ll never acknowledge that there are some things the other side does well.

      The facts, in this case, is that France and Japan both have heavy government involvement in power generation and, correspondingly, very good service and low rates. Centrally planning power has allowed them to develop a comprehensive nuclear program, plan capacity in advance of demand and keep rates low. The US power system is, by comparison, horribly balkanized and subject to short-term concerns that EDF doesn’t need to worry about.

      That doesn’t mean that central planning is the solution in every situation, but in this one it’s track record is a lot better.

      That you, and several others, don’t understand that I’m actually proposing relativism and “the right tool for the right job” is because, quite frankly, you’ve drunk the Kool-Aid of your respective demagogues. Were I posting this on a forum with a more leftist bent, I’d be tarred for being pro-market in the paragraph above.

      If you really want me to cite stuff I will, but citation on the internet is a mug’s game: I can also find citations for Elvis’ being alive and working as a burger-chef in Des Moines. And you would probably discount anything I cite as propaganda anyway, even if I were to pull it straight from the CIA World Fact Book.

  • avatar

    Leaf buyer = Ipad buyer. Say what you want but they sold 300,000 over the weekend.

  • avatar

    I think most people forget the biggest reason the Prius sold very well — it was a status icon. If you wanted a car that made you look “green” to your neighbors and coworkers, you bought a Prius. Not a Civic Hybrid, which looked like, well, a regular Civic with huge moon caps. Not an Insight, which had only two seats and made you look like a nerd. Not a Tahoe Hybrid, which defeated the purpose of having a “green” car that WAS NOT AN SUV. They bought a Prius.

    The Prius worked because it happened to be an ordinary car with a few novelty features. Was it quiet? With the electric motor on part of the time, yes. Was it practical? Yep, it sat 5 folks and held decent cargo. Did it look somewhat normal? Yep. As much as people like to ogle at cars shaped like spaceships, not too many people want to drive one to work everyday.

    The Volt? Good luck with that. GM prayed for that Hail Mary pass and ended up with a 1 yard toss that immediately ended in a sack. The fact that it was made by GM kills it. And the Leaf simply does not have the same social status cachet as the Prius. OK, so maybe a few adventurous souls will play first adopter to it, and MAYBE the cachet will grow.

    I don’t even know what the hell Honda was thinking with the new Insight. “Hey, lets just make a Prius clone and pray the H on the hood sells it!”

    And the CR-Z could have been something interesting………if it had a high-output VTEC motor.

    • 0 avatar

      I think the Prius has more reasons to exists than just status. As you point out it is practical for its size, unlike the old Insight. Unlike the Civic it is a hatch, and has significantly better fuel economy. And at $ 22K the price is more than reasonable. So there is more than “smug factor” considered by Prius buyers.

      The shape of the Prius isn’t the way it is to be “different” but defined by aerodynamics while keeping enough space in the cabin and keep it accessible as a hatchback. The first generation Prius looked more like a normal car (well, like a normal weird car), whit all its drawbacks.

      With new power trains cars will look different since old limitations go away, and new ones appear. first cars looked like horse carriages, then the engine went in front and the rear wheels drove. Then came FWD and with it shorter hoods. Most cars still have the motor in front and for cooling that is better. but with smaller ICEs or no ICE at all, the motor could go int eh wheels, the back, underneath etc. this makes more room for different car shapes. Today’s cars don’t the way they look because that is the best loo, but due to the limitations of the conventional ICE power train. We just like the look because we got used to it. the same way we will get used to more aerodynamic cars.

  • avatar

    Sorry if this point was brought up before (I didn’t read all 60 comments), but one more thing to consider about an all electric car would be luck and timing. Like the Mustang II that appeared here recently, an electric at this price could be very popular in the event of a 1970’s style gas shortage. It’s one thing to find the price has jumped up outrageously, quite another to see those lines of cars and “No Gas” signs. Seems like we are about overdue for one of those. They say history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme…

    • 0 avatar

      jkumpire: We are in the Iraq and worried about Iran for important national security which are only partly about oil.

      Show me the WMD. Please.

      I thought Rumsfield himself admitted there was no WMD. Did you miss that? Do you have TV cable at home?

  • avatar

    Why does the “right” wing NEVER bring up the cost of the IRAQ War?
    Why does the “right” wing NEVER bring up why We are interested in IRAN?

    Gas is Government Subsidized by the DEPARTMENT of DEFENSE, and US military LIVES.

    The Nissan Leaf is MASSIVELY CHEAPER then paying the War Tax, oh, that’s right, We’re Not Going to Pay a War Tax. We’re Just Going to Run Deficits FOREVER.

    Only DUMB ASSES Vote Republican.

    • 0 avatar

      while I agree on the war-oil connection and associated costs statement you make, I don’t agree with calling people stupid for voting for the one or the other party.

      So far Democrats have supported the wars (i.e. congress funded the wars Bush started). People also vote Republican for other reasons then the war. Maybe those reasons are silly to you and me, but they are important to them. The same way I don’t want to be called stupid for being progressive. I would consider myself conservative and liberal. I know, now both sides can hate me and call me stupid :-) But I want to stop welfare for corporations, and stop welfare for the Ghetto people that are too lazy to work. I also want to protect the environment and spend money on that, but also am for totally free trade and a flat world. I believe in global warming, but disagree with ethanol subsidies.

    • 0 avatar


      Your post only reveals your political ignorance. Better to not open your mouth and show everyone how much of a fool you are.

      We are in the Iraq and worried about Iran for important national security which are only partly about oil. If the US was as sane about oil policy as the Russians and Chinese are we would not be faced with $4 gal gas this year.

      But folks like you prefer to destroy the economy, and the lives of our military in the future for your pie-in-the-sky dreams of green tech and free health care for everyone.

      Oh BTW, polls seem to suggest there are a lot more “dumb asses” voting this year against your tools in DC. Who are the people you have to name call? Maybe those who found out that “experience is the best teacher” when it comes to supporting the clowns you support in DC.

    • 0 avatar
      A is A

      “We’re Just Going to Run Deficits FOREVER”

      “Forever”?. Oh no.

      You are going to run deficits until no one buys US Debt, i.e., until the Chinese decide to stop buying US Debt. A few years, at most.

  • avatar

    The cost savings, or lack there of, are not really surprising. The math of owning a Prius, Volt, and now a Leaf have been demonstrated on this site before. People are not doing it for saving money. It is either a status symbol or they believe they are helping the planet.

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    If I were shopping for a new car, and I lived in a house that I owned (with a garage), I would *seriously* be considering the Leaf. Keep in mind that I’m in California, so I’d be getting mad tax credits from both Fed and State (thanks, everyone!). As I understand it, a Leaf in CA would cost only about 20k.

    And why… 4 reasons:

    1) Even with all caveats thrown in, it would be somewhat better for the environment, and would be an early adopter step towards making that even more true down the road.

    2) It would help us gain energy independence from hostile nations, terrorists, and shady corporations.

    3) Chicks dig it. (Don’t laugh, could be very true, especially here in the Bay Area.)

    4) I’m a geek. Electric cars are cool.

    All of these factors matter, but if I had to pick the biggest, I’d say #4. Sad, I know.

    • 0 avatar

      Well then, call me sad, as well.

      I’m not 100% seriously looking at a Leaf, but I have been mulling it over as a possible third car to drive on my 4.6-mile daily commute. I’m also known to ride my bike to work on nice days, just for a change of pace…and a little exercise.

      But I’m considering a Leaf not to save money, not to save the planet and most definitely not as a political statement.

      Simply put, the idea of owning one appeals to the early adopter/geek in me. And yes, I’ve already pre-ordered a 64GB, 3G iPad. I’m hopeless…

  • avatar

    Couldn’t help but notice the mention of the Iraq war. As a veteran that’s been on 3 one year long deployments I think I can afford to give my two cents. I can tell you I’d gladly go for 3 more one year deployments if it meant that my fellow citizens could continue to enjoy cheap gas and not have to sacrifice their standard of living for a minority’s opinion of what ‘the common good’ should be. By the way there’s never been a better chance to kill people that don’t like us as Iraq and Afghanistan has provided. I’m proud to have been a part of it and, look forward to my fourth deployment with the National Guard next year.

    • 0 avatar
      A is A

      “By the way there’s never been a better chance to kill people that don’t like us as Iraq and Afghanistan has provided”

      a) It is inmoral to kill (even to harass) people because “the don´t like us”.

      b) A lot of people on this planet (me not among them) do not like Americans. Is that reason enough to kill Americans, sir?.

      c) Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Afghanistan announced just after 9/11 that they would surrender Osama and his gang, but GWB invaded anyway.

      d) Your standard of living is not based on wars, but on debt

      Wars increase debt, BTW. As a soldier you are not an assest for the economy, but a dead weight.

      e) Good luck with your fourth deployment. But I suggest you to look at this before returning there:

    • 0 avatar

      Have fun.

    • 0 avatar

      reclusive_in_nature, I love your writing style. You are quite believable and throw in that line about killing to support fellow American’s access to cheap gas as the punch line. Well written.

    • 0 avatar

      I can tell you I’d gladly go for 3 more one year deployments if it meant that my fellow citizens could continue to enjoy cheap gas and not have to sacrifice their standard of living for a minority’s opinion of what ‘the common good’ should be.

      We had $4/gallon gas thanks to your effort. The whole point of that war was to raise oil price, not reduce it. Because Bush’s Texas friends wanted it, just as Obama’s Michigan friends wanted some auto bailout.

      If you really wanted to have cheap gas, Saddam should have been kept in power and lift the embargo. He would made sure a huge amount of Iraqi oil flood the market and keep the oil price below $30.

    • 0 avatar

      @ Bertel

      Interesting information there from the military.

  • avatar
    Kristjan Ambroz

    I think the real story is that after subsidies the car does not turn out to be massively more expensive than a petrol one, and after three years the cost difference is probably sufficiently small for it to be palatable to a green early majority, rather than just the early adopters. If Nissan manages to get out significant volumes early, they will steal a march on the opposition and be in a better position pricewise compared to other manufacturers, potentially giving them a similarly dominant position in all electric cars that Toyota currently still enjoys in hybrids, which for the most part do not make complete sense economically either.

  • avatar

    All the japanese goverment needs to do is turn up the tax on petrol a little and you will save more on your Leaf.

  • avatar

    Znork- you said “Do you know how many civilians died as a result of the Chernobyl incident? You don’t need to guess, because I can tell you: 0.”

    To suggest Chernobyl did not kill civilians is just a wild departure from fact. According to Dr Elaine Ron, from the US National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, there were over 2000 cases of thyroid cancer above statistical baseline (BBC News). The WHO reports twice that number (4000 cases of thyroid cancer above baseline, with 9 pediatric deaths). The best available evidence was about 1800 deaths in the civilian population resulted (the other 2200 deaths being plant workers and emergency responders). This is a far cry from the 500,000 claimed by extremists. Even if my numbers are incorrect or could be argued (and they certainly can be), there is still no rational way to substantiate a claim of zero. It doesn’t wash with the established body of knowledge that is modern radiobiology. I understand the desire to push back against people who claim insane things (like 1/2 million dead from Chernobyl), but the available science suggests that several thousand died. My source of information is “The Chernobyl’s Legacy: Health, Environmental and Socio-Economic Impacts.” This report was produced by a panel of experts from International Atomic Energy Agency, World Health Organization, United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), United Nations Development Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization, United Nations Environment Programme, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, as well as regional governments of the affected nations. Statistical analysis of environmental impact is a complex thing. Variation in expertise and bias will produce a wide range of plausible conclusions- but that range of rational conclusions does not include the number of civilian deaths being zero.

    I myself am a board certified Radiation Oncologist and I hold the post of Radiation Safety Officer for several institutions across a wide region, and I simply cannot imagine any possible interpretation of the data in which we conclude that no civilian deaths resulted from the Chernobyl incident. Please provide a published report from any rational scientific body, using any methods, at any time, published in any journal or peer reviewed source that agrees with you on this point. To be clear- I am not arguing against your conclusions, simply that one statement. Allow me to be the strongest voice in agreement with you that nuclear power is far safer than competing technologies and the impact on the environment is profoundly less- I think we could argue that fewer deaths are caused per kWh, as well, although I have not done that research. Furthermore- the reports of Chernobyl deaths were wildly exaggerated in the absence of evidence to the tune of 10000% over-reporting in come media outlets. On all of these points I believe we agree. Nevertheless, I must strongly object to your assertion that no civilians died as a result of the Chernobyl incident.

    • 0 avatar

      I was on a UAL flight a few years ago from Heathrow to Dulles. There were a group of 30 kids from a Belarus distict adjacent to Chernobyl (Google it if necessary). They all had unusual cancers and were on the way to the US for some gratis treatments. Really beautiful kids – it was a crime the genocide this badly [and socialist] – managed fission technology resulted in.

    • 0 avatar

      Contrarian- I don’t disagree with anything you have said. But in the interest of fairness- when a radiation exposure occurs, it is common practice to care for all of the cases that could be related, despite knowing that the overwhelming majority are not. The general conclusion of the scientific community was that a 3% increase in cancers would be attributable to the incident. If we assume 3%, and I freely admit that is NOT a rock solid assumption for several reasons that I don’t bore everyone with (age of patients, time after incident, etc.), then in the group of 30 that you saw there was likely to be between zero and three actually caused by Chernobyl. That isn’t emotionally appealing- I know. We want to blame Chernobyl, or someone, for the suffering of those children- but the reality is that the large group you saw was likely due to a policy to treat all of a given diagnosis rather than any established link to the incident for any given patient. Then again, children are maimed and killed in oil production and the pollution, politics and violence that surround that, as well. I am not a very political person, truth be told, just trying to help debunk a few myths. (*** edit- yes, agreed- sorry for the detour- back to cars!)

    • 0 avatar

      Certainly, I’m no expert, but it was a sobering experience all the same. And an experiences that I will never forget. Enough said.

      Now, back to cars ;-)

  • avatar

    TTAC’s blatant bias against anything from Asia continues.
    Why are you doing a cost analysis based on Japanese pricing when Nissan has released MSRP in US?

    Even better, can you do similar analysis for much hyped A3 TDI over Elantra Touring including the additional cost of diesel fuel, purchase price, inability to carry anyone but double amputees in the back seat, Audi/VW’s notorious reliability, lost wages for time lost while waiting for tow truck and at mechanic’s waiting room?

  • avatar

    @ psarhjinian

    The mods must be sleeping.

    It’s been a while, but (when I can) I read and consider your comments.

  • avatar

    Have fun.

    Yeah Bertel, I will when I stop laughing. A German criticising another nation for the way it wages war? Really? You have nothing valid to contribute to anything.

    Those guys got exactly what they deserved including the Reuters guys. And the Wikileaks people ought to be on trial for treason.

    Quick edit to Michel below, yeah people should see how the Reuters guys died, Darwin candidates dying might save someone from stupidity like that in the future. Hang out with terrorists and you die. A good thing in my book.

    • 0 avatar

      The people running Wikileaks are real heroes, risking their freedom and finances to reveal the truth that others try to hide. Whoever leaked that video to Wikileaks is a true patriot. Someone who stands up against stonewalling and lies, who doesn’t take the usual military line of “no comment until we conduct a thorough investigation” (that never finishes) as a valid answer. The public deserved to be shown how those Reuters journalists perished.

      Just because a government official or corporation claims something, doesn’t automatically make it right.

      Anyway, about those Nissan Leaf cars… :-)

  • avatar

    Gnome knows best:

    1. Steal Underpants
    2. ???
    3. Profit!

  • avatar
    fred schumacher

    If your primary purpose is to have the lowest cost transportation, then buying any new car makes no sense. The fixed costs outweigh variable costs.

    For example, my 1998 5-speed Neon, bought for $1,200 five years ago, when it had 115,000 miles, has cost me 3 cents/mile to purchase, repair, license and insure over the 85,000 miles I’ve driven it. Fuel costs are variable, but based on my long term average of 38 mpg, it costs me 7 cents per mile at present prices. That’s 10 cents per mile total, which if driven the same 60,000 km. as the hypothetical Leaf example, would amount to $3,700, assuming zero trade in value. It’s no contest.

    The bigger problem, however, that has not been discussed here is morphology. At this stage of development, a BEV would be used primarily as a daily short distance commuter vehicle. In that case, why are all the manufacturers still approaching the problem from the basis of standard IC multi-purpose vehicle morphology?

    It’s the shape that’s the problem. That much material, volume and cost is not required to move one person from point A to point B and back. What’s needed is some parsimony and appropriate technology, the best practicers of which today are Tata Motors.

    • 0 avatar

      While I shall not be dragging tatas into this equation, I will be 100% with you when we analyze on a cost-per-mile metric.

      My Porsches are around .10 per mile counting fuel, ins, and maint. (obv, I do my own labor).

      In the final analysis, isn’t CPM the only viable metric?

  • avatar

    The real question is: now that an electric car is ready for sale, when will GM’s Volt hybrid be ready?

    They are so late into the game, despite all that hype early on.

    • 0 avatar

      With the Prius already being the better hybrid and now the Leaf being the better EV, that’s going to leave only the flag-waver market for the Volt.

      I think that if we did a Venn diagram using flag-wavers and potential EV buyers, it might be a very slim overlap.

    • 0 avatar
      Greg Locock

      Well, oddly enough, it’ll be avalable when they said it would be available. Unlike the instant gratification that you see you seem to desire, it takes time to design, develop, test and manufacture cars. If they try and do it in less time they get a poor quality outcome.

  • avatar

    OK, so I saw all these comments about electricity being cheaper in France and Japan and that didn’t comport with my memory (as opposed to facts). So, I went out and got some data (on costs for industrial users):

    France 0.05
    New Zealand 0.05
    Indonesia (1) 0.06
    Taiwan 0.06
    United States (2) 0.06
    Malaysia 0.06
    Australia (3,2) 0.06
    Korea 0.07
    Germany 0.09
    United Kingdom 0.12
    Singapore 0.10
    Hong Kong SAR 0.11
    Japan 0.12
    Philippines 0.17

    The upshot is that it is cheap in France but it is way more expensive in Japan.

    Note that these were data from 2006.

    • 0 avatar


      I’m not doubting your numbers are accurate for the sake of comparison of industrial users.

      I would just toss out that industrial rates are always less that residential/commercial – sometimes industrial pays less than half.

  • avatar


    comparing deaths from nuclear in the US to deaths in Africa from oil explosions is like comparing deaths in a 2000s car to deaths in a ’50s car. How many deaths has oil caused in the US?

    Also, I don’t know what the death toll is from Chernobyl, but I can tell you that as of the mid-90s there were thousands of cases of thyroid cancer, because I looked into it at that time.

  • avatar

    I hate reading comments where everyone assumes Prius and Leaf drivers are going to be people who want it just to look cool and be smug about it. Many will be normal people who just want a high-mileage vehicle. My parents traded in their late-90s Sienna for a Prius a few years ago. They no longer needed to haul 7 passengers and all their cargo. They wanted gas mileage to be in the 30s at least, and they also wanted more luxury than a Hyundai would give. The Prius totally fits the bill. While they enjoy having it, they are not smug about it. It has faults, the most prominent being that it doesn’t hide its economy car roots very well. Sure, fully loaded 2nd generation models come with a touch screen, nav, and backup camera, but the rock-hard seats have to be manually adjusted.

  • avatar
    chitbox dodge

    How come a guy at his house can buy a $8,000 or so yaris, versa, etc. and put an electric drivetrain in it that gets similar numbers as this new nissan? All for less than $15,000?

    I think it’s a fashion trend. More of a statement than a real drive to improve/change the product line. Same goes with hybrids.

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