September 24, 2012 23:46
The Saint Mary's University electric vehicle was on display during the recent Alumni Golf Tournament held at Granite Springs Golf and Country Club. Golfer Monique MacDonald let a foursome play through so that she could take a look under the hood.
June 13, 2012 21:29
I had the opportunity to drive the Leaf for two weeks in late April. There were some pleasant parts, and some items that left me thinking that this is still very much a work in progress.
First let me say what I liked about the car:
- It had a bright roomy interior
- It was quiet
- It accelerated well from a standing start, very well.
All of the above come simply from the fact that an electric motor has great torque and is silent, and compact. Nissan took advantage of these and put them to good use.
The issues I had with the vehicle were:
- Range is very limited, and in cold weather it is nominally less than 90 kilometers
- Acceleration when travelling at speeds over 40 KMH was not great
- The car is quite small and plain for something that costs $40,000
Again, the issues relate to the electric motor. The range issue cannot be understated enough. Most importantly, a lithium Ion battery – fully charged – produces zero power at -20C and only has 50% at 0C. I took the car home and the range was 120 KM's, and the temperature dropped to -2 overnight. When I got in the car in the morning, the range was only 85 KM's and when you turned on the heater and the heated steering wheel (a nice touch) the range dropped again. Nissan has some “work arounds,” but they typically involve plugging the unit in and then you would use some power overnight to keep the battery warm. The second point relates to the engine lacking power – at only 24KW it has roughly half the power of gasoline powered compact cars, so top end speed and acceleration is lost.
I think that this is a good start, but there are some real engineering and simple physics issues that make this car a niche player in fulfilling our future transportation needs.
- David Collins,