Nissan LEAF Vs Renault Fluence ZE; Why Doesn’t America Have Both?

72

Renault Fluence ZE Charging Up

I believe most people know this, but Nissan and Renault SA are, for the most part, the same company.

When Nissan was on the ropes (to say the least) in the late 90s they entired into a tie-up with Renault SA, which lead to Renault owning owning 44% of Nissan (and Nissan owning 15%ish of Renault). Later that same year saw the entrance of CEO Carlos Ghosn, and the exit of just about everyone from Nissan’s executive in Japan. A total power play.

Ghosn put out the “Nissan Revival Plan,” and one of the most stunning turnarounds in the history of automotive management occurred. Today, with the Nissan LEAF going worldwide, and the Fluence ZE in Europe (and other selected regions), Ghosn is wagering both companies’ future on electric technology.

Moving on. So why no Fluence ZE in America?

The first answer is obvious. I’m not seeing a lot of Renault dealerships around towns in the United States…that is unless of course I am travelling to one of them in my shiny new TARDIS and can go back to the 1980s to buy a car.(apologies to those who don’t get the BBC and/or have never seen Doctor Who). Still Renault could re-badge it pretty easy as a Nissan…they have done pretty well selling the Renault Clio as a Nissan Versa. (and a few other versions around the globe)

Secondly, is that although Americans would really much rather own a ‘booted saloon’ over a ‘hot hatch’ (I really only penned this piece to use my European dialect), the Fluence ZE is quite simply a inferior car in almost every way.

Both the LEAF and the Fluence ZE are about the same size, they compete in the compact car market (or ‘C-segment’ as it is know to the rest of the world), they both feature the same 24 kWh battery, the same basic technology, they both go about 100 miles, you could argue the Fluence ZE has a advantage because it has been engineered to have a battery that could someday be swapped out.

But you would be wrong, here is why:

The LEAF is a ‘built-up’ car, meaning it is custom formed to do its job; to get people from A to B with electricity, as efficiently and in as ergonomically friendly way as possible. The Fluence ZE is a conversion (albeit a very good one) of a internal combustion vehicle already in production, and therein lies the problem with it.

Sure we’d like a snazzy looking saloon here, but judging the cars by their appearance would be a mistake.

The Fluence ZE is heavy, and not as aerodynamic as the LEAF, and therefore to ensure a sufficient range (100 miles) the engine has has been retarded down to 95 bhp from the LEAF’s 107 bhp, and the top speed is capped at 135 km/h (that is around 83 mph to us Yanks), whereas the LEAF will go over 145 kmh (90 mph). For Americas, 90 mph is about the lowest acceptable maximum speed (even though few drive that fast), a cap of 83 would be a big issue.

Fluence ZE Concept's Trunk

Then there is that whole ‘what about where the battery goes?’ thing Again, the Fluence ZE is a conversion, so the battery could never fit neatly under the seats, tucked away so you wouldn’t notice like in the LEAF.

Made even worse is the fact the car is built to someday make use of ‘swap stations’ for the battery; which sounds great in theory – a fully charged car in 2 minutes thanks to a fresh pack at your local station…until you realize that there is about 3 of them in the entire world. If you leave France’s only ‘swap station’ the next closest is in Israel. /kinda far

This ‘easy access’ battery also means that, at least for now, you have this huge pile of batteries boxed up from the floor to your line of sight, behind your rear seats. So much for the convenience of the ‘boot’ in your ‘saloon’ over a hatchback. To be fair though, Renault has tried to reconcile this somewhat by extending the hind section of the car by 4 inches. It didn’t work.

Then there is also the handling. While it is true I have never driven a Fluence ZE (and I doubt Renault will be flying me overseas to do so anytime soon), I can’t imagine 500+ pounds sitting on top of the back wheels is doing much for the weight distribution of the car.

So given the choice between the LEAF and the Fluence ZE, the Renault only gets marks for being visually more appealing, which may have sold Nissan a handful of re-badged cars stateside, but without the prospect of swappable battery stations throughout North America, the Fluence ZE is a total non-starter.

72 Responses

  1. Herm says:

    Very good article Satik, the LEAF being designed from the ground up to be a BEV gives it a great advantage in both space utilization and weight.. Its a BEV platform that I hope Nissan recycles into other cars.. time for a sporty, sleek 2 seater using all the LEAFS components.

      (Quote)

  2. mark smith says:

    I love how the Leaf (with its 48 modules) fits all its batteries in the sections below the rear seats (24 there), below the rear floor (only 8 here as the space is narrow), and even below the drivers seats (16 here)… it’s a fantastic layout that doesn’t appear to compromise the passenger compartment seeing as the Leaf can seat 5 and the Volt (with its T shaped battery) can seat only 4.
    It keeps the weight very low to the ground helping prevent rollover and being between the 2 axles is going to be very well distributed… it also means the boot in the leaf appears very very deep – going to the bottom of the car (no exhaust / cat converter box).
    I think the Leaf battery can be removed relatively easily by technicians – but only by jacking the car up 2metres in the air and by undoing a lot of very large bolts on the underside!

      (Quote)

  3. mark smith says:

    I love how the Leaf (with its 48 modules) fits all its batteries in the sections below the rear seats (24 there), below the rear floor (only 8 here as the space is narrow), and even below the drivers seats (16 here)… it’s a fantastic layout that doesn’t appear to compromise the passenger compartment seeing as the Leaf can seat 5 and the Volt (with its T shaped battery) can seat only 4.It keeps the weight very low to the ground helping prevent rollover and being between the 2 axles is going to be very well distributed… it also means the boot in the leaf appears very very deep – going to the bottom of the car (no exhaust / cat converter box).I think the Leaf battery can be removed relatively easily by technicians – but only by jacking the car up 2metres in the air and by undoing a lot of very large bolts on the underside!  (Quote)

    ps. if you want to see the details of the Leaf battery pack as to where it is located – click through the 10 photos in this page: http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2010/fortune/1002/gallery.nissan_leaf.fortune/index.html
    or read this good article.
    http://money.cnn.com/2010/02/16/autos/nissan_leaf_ghosn.fortune/index.htm

      (Quote)

  4. mark smith says:

    The photos are quite confusing to orient yourself with:
    http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2010/fortune/1002/gallery.nissan_leaf.fortune/index.html
    Photo 1 = a module
    2 = a sealed pack – the front of the car would be on the right (the plugs connect to fat cables going to the charge point / motor)
    3 = the pack opened up – hear you can see the layout with batteries under the rear seats, rear floor, and front seats!
    4 = People are confused by this – but the front of the car is on the right (that’s where the motor and charge ports are). There is no electronics at the back.
    5 = the pack at the top. Not sure what the bottom left pic is but the bot right one is the motor.
    8 = the 440v (fat cable) charger on the left – the 220-240v one is the one on the right.
    9 = love that interior
    10 = Carlos himself – hero of the EV community.

      (Quote)

  5. RB says:

    …that is unless of course I am travelling to one of them in my shiny new TARDIS


    It’s better to use the LEAF for shorter trips and keep the TARDIS for the longer ones :)
    ..
    /sample code for posting a picture? we can copy :)

      (Quote)

  6. RB says:

    Mark Smith — Thanks for the fascinating link. I’m confused by the link’s design pictures #6. How did the final design come out as it did, an ugly duckling compared to all 9 proposed by the design studios? Statik’s post on why the LEAF is better than Fluence ZE makes a good argument about function outweighing form (except in France), but when you see Nissan’s internal proposed LEAF designs, you ask “why not one of those?”

      (Quote)

  7. ps. if you want to see the details of the Leaf battery pack as to where it is located – click through the 10 photos in this page: http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2010/fortune/1002/gallery.nissan_leaf.fortune/index.html
    or read this good article.
    http://money.cnn.com/2010/02/16/autos/nissan_leaf_ghosn.fortune/index.htm  (Quote)

    (sorry mark…sometimes the system puts multiple links into moderation, I’ll up the allowance)
    .
    Very nice, enthusiastic write up on the pack in the LEAF, maybe you should be doing some articles and I can take the weekend off, (=

      (Quote)


  8. It’s better to use the LEAF for shorter trips and keep the TARDIS for the longer ones :)
    ..
    /sample code for posting a picture? we can copy :)   (Quote)

    Sure–> (just add the < to the front of string)
    img class=”alignnone” title=”tardis” src=”http://dailypop.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/doctor_tardis1.jpg” alt=”" width=”576″ height=”348″ />
    Again, if you can make it dance, just post the URL and I will fix it for you (not ideal, but w/e)

    –Just as FYI: The picture is of the TARDIS (which was mentioned in the article) and of David Tennant who played the 2nd to last Doctor, before Matt Smith took over this year–

      (Quote)

  9. Herm says:

    Very nice link..

    http://money.cnn.com/2010/02/16/autos/nissan_leaf_ghosn.fortune/index.htm

    “Our communications about the electric car should not be very convincing,” he says. “I don’t want to wake up the competition. Every day they don’t decide [to develop electric vehicles] is a good day for us.”

    No wonder Goshn surprised everyone with the LEAF.

    Does anyone know what they mean by “laminated” battery?.. I think its just a marketing term for the industry standard method of making lithium batteries.. a slurry is sprayed on both sides of a continuous strip of copper film, baked on, a different slurry is sprayed/baked on and this is repeated several times to make up the layered porous structure of manganese spinel that houses the temporary lithium ions as the battery cycles. Probably exactly the same method that LG uses for the Volt.

    Perhaps they are talking about the laminated nature of the lithium cell, alternating stacks of cathode/separator/anode.

      (Quote)

  10. James says:

    Mark – Thanks for the photos and definitions. Looks like the pack can be dropped fairly easy once you remove the heavy bots (thinking of upgrades down the road). I watched a National Geographic Modern Marvels episode on the Volt. It would be nice to see a similar episode on the LEAF.
    And yes, thanks Carlos Ghosn for driving the rollout of the LEAF. Without a push from the top brass this never would be happing. Also, he looks younger that what I expected.

      (Quote)

  11. James says:

    Statik – I used to love Dr Who when i was a kid. Used to watch it on PBS but it was with the long curly haired guy.

      (Quote)

  12. Carcus says:

    Question — has there been an official declaration of the Leaf’s curb weight?

    (I know 3500# was the number most oft-stated, but have not been able to locate anything from Nissan)

      (Quote)

  13. Ike says:

    –Just as FYI:The picture is of the TARDIS (which was mentioned in the article) and of David Tennant who played the 2nd to last Doctor, before Matt Smith took over this year–  

    Thank you for this…as soon as I say the reference I was jonesing for a pic.

      (Quote)

  14. GeorgeS says:

    5 = the pack at the top. Not sure what the bottom left pic is but the bot right one is the motor.
    -Mark Smith

    Mark,
    Thanks for the pics from me also. I think it is the motor controller.

    Good work Nissan!! -GSB

      (Quote)

  15. Statik – I used to love Dr Who when i was a kid. Used to watch it on PBS but it was with the long curly haired guy.  (Quote)

    Probably Tom Baker. I associate him with my youth as well, although he was the 4th Doctor, started in the mid 70s. The current generation of DW is guilty pleasure for me, and I confess to watching the BBC (Doctor Who, Survivors, etc) more than almost any other network…after CNBC.
    .
    And now you have given me a excuse to hijack my own thread and put up his theme song (which I can’t help but hum from time to time)

    Here is all 11 doctors if I am wrong –>

      (Quote)

  16. Carcus says:

    “Question — has there been an official declaration of the Leaf’s curb weight?
    (I know 3500# was the number most oft-stated, but have not been able to locate anything from Nissan) (Quote)”

    ———————-

    Answer — Ok. Just jumped in the Tardis and went to December to find out.

    I won’t spoil it for everybody — I’ll just say the curb weight is not 3,500.

      (Quote)

  17. blind guy says:

    IMO Nissan is doing the leaf right, by designing from the ground up they can utilize the advantages that BEVs can have. Low center of gravity, LED headlights, battery access, more cabin space are some of those benefitswhich make it worth while . It’s going to be very difficult waiting on the sideline while we start seeing Leafs driving around Tucson.

      (Quote)

  18. SteveS says:

    “Question — has there been an official declaration of the Leaf’s curb weight?(I know 3500# was the number most oft-stated, but have not been able to locate anything from Nissan) (Quote)”———————-Answer — Ok. Just jumped in the Tardis and went to December to find out.I won’t spoil it for everybody — I’ll just say the curb weight is not 3,500.  (Quote)

    So, 3,501 then? Only estimated I’ve seen is 3,500lb, and that got started from a Nissan representatives estimate at a show and tell in america.

      (Quote)

  19. GeorgeS says:

    IMO Nissan is doing the leaf right, by designing from the ground up they can utilize the advantages that BEVs can have.Low center of gravity, LED headlights, battery access, more cabin space are some of those benefitswhich make it worth while .It’s going to be very difficult waiting on the sideline while we start seeing Leafs driving around Tucson.  

    Why are you waiting, just curious??

      (Quote)

  20. Carcus says:

    So, 3,501 then? Only estimated I’ve seen is 3,500lb, and that got started from a Nissan representatives estimate at a show and tell in america.  

    I haven’t seen the car in person. But from the pictures it just doesn’t look that heavy too me. I think 3200 looks more like the upper end.

      (Quote)

  21. blind guy says:

    Why are you waiting?

    1. We put 30K a year on our Prius.
    2. Without access to charging at work, some days would be pushing the range limit comfort for my wife.
    3. Leasing is not for us… 30K yr..
    4. 14 months note left on Prius with no way to know if Dec. 2010 delivery of Leaf is possible or not for tax credit to pay off Prius.
    With some restraint, we might be able to get a BEV with more range and be in a better position financially as well. I do want to buy with whichever manufacturer will still have the tax credit allocation available.
    I’m allways open to suggestions.

      (Quote)

  22. Herm says:

    Question — has there been an official declaration of the Leaf’s curb weight?(I know 3500# was the number most oft-stated, but have not been able to locate anything from Nissan)

    No definitive news.

    I’m taking the 3200 lbs slot in the upcoming article/poll by Statik on this subject, actually I dont think it can break 3000lbs

    What do you think?

      (Quote)

  23. Herm says:

    IMO Nissan is doing the leaf right, by designing from the ground up they can utilize the advantages that BEVs can have.Low center of gravity, LED headlights, battery access, more cabin space are some of those benefits which make it worth while

    The major advantage of a new, unique platform is weight savings by designing the car for its role as a BEV.. and the other advantage is the placement of the batteries, the only proper place to put is where Nissan did.

    This is why I think Nissan should also build a sporty 2 seater based on its new light platform .. shave off the rear seats, give it some swoopy curves and reuse all the components from the LEAF.. something like a 95 Civic Si.. perfect for commuting.

    The new Hyundai Sonata was designed from the beginning to only use a 4 cylinder engine.. it resulted in a large, lightweight car with great performance and MPG.. all from leaving out the extra steel needed for heavier engines, thus saving a couple hundred lbs… 66mpg and its classified as a large car by the EPA

    http://green.autoblog.com/2010/06/23/2011-hyundai-sonata-1-065-miles-on-16-07-gallons-66-285-mpg

      (Quote)

  24. Scott says:

    IMO Nissan is doing the leaf right, by designing from the ground up they can utilize the advantages that BEVs can have.Low center of gravity, LED headlights, battery access, more cabin space are some of those benefitswhich make it worth while .It’s going to be very difficult waiting on the sideline while we start seeing Leafs driving around Tucson.  

    Does this mean that the Ford Focus EV design may be flawed?

      (Quote)

  25. Carcus says:

    No definitive news.I’m taking the 3200 lbs slot in the upcoming article/poll by Statik on this subject, actually I dont think it can break 3000lbsWhat do you think?  

    I used to lean more towards under 3000. But later I realized the car is a bit bigger than (wider, longer, taller) than I was originally thinking. Compared to an Insight ii the Leaf is about 3 inches longer, 2 inches wider, and 5 inches taller. So 3,000 to 3,200 would be my approximation. If it really does come in at 3500 then the motor and electronics must be more than I”m allowing for.

      (Quote)

  26. Carcus says:

    Does this mean that the Ford Focus EV design may be flawed?  

    I’d be quite (and pleasantly) surprised if Ford pulls off a converted Focus that will compete with the clean sheet Leaf. If they do, it will be one heck of an engineering accomplishment.

      (Quote)

  27. Carcus says:

    This is why I think Nissan should also build a sporty 2 seater based on its new light platform ..

    Absolutely agree here. Something sporty but still in the 30k to 40k price range. This car could outperform most anything else in it’s class . . . . so while you may be giving something up in range you’re gaining in performance. I think it would sell well.

      (Quote)

  28. James says:

    I used to think that the LEAF was a Versa with a different nose and tail clip. But it is not it is about 7 inches longer and about 5 inches wider than the Versa. Click on the link then LEAF and then specifications.

    http://www.nissan-zeroemission.com/EN/index.html

      (Quote)

  29. blind guy says:

    Does this mean that the Ford Focus EV design may be flawed?

    IMHO to have a platform that can be used for an ICE, Hybrid or BEV would seem to have some constraints. I would not say that the Focus EV is flawed, but rather designing from the ground up with BEV being your objective, can be designed better for that one purpose. I believe Ford’s objective is to have a flexable platform for economic reasons.

      (Quote)

  30. Carcus says:

    Volt vs Leaf (?) on NPR at 2 pm eastern today.

    Nissan Leaf vs. Chevy Volt debate goes National (Public Radio)
    http://green.autoblog.com/2010/08/13/nissan-leaf-vs-chevy-volt-debate-goes-national-public-radio/

      (Quote)

  31. vanuck says:

    Is Renault going to rebadge the LEAF as a Clio in Europe?

      (Quote)

  32. Carcus says:

    Volt vs Leaf (?) on NPR at 2 pm eastern today.Nissan Leaf vs. Chevy Volt debate goes National (Public Radio)
    http://green.autoblog.com/2010/08/13/nissan-leaf-vs-chevy-volt-debate-goes-national-public-radio/  

    Here’s a link to listen:

    http://www.sciencefriday.com/about/listen/

      (Quote)

  33. Carcus says:

    From the NPR show:

    Mark Perry did talk about the time degradation of the battery, …. saying 80% at year 5 and 70% at year 10.

    Also he seemed to think they are at the optimized spot for the EV as far as range vs cost vs utility goes. (i.e. more battery would not equal a better selling car, but they will learn from the market)

      (Quote)

  34. SteveS says:

    From the NPR show:Mark Perry did talk about the time degradation of the battery, …. saying 80% at year 5 and 70% at year 10.Also he seemed to think they are at the optimized spot for the EV as far as range vs cost vs utility goes. (i.e. more battery would not equal a better selling car, but they will learn from the market)  (Quote)

    Great you listened in, I did not know about it at all. I should have check in sooner. Anything else ?

      (Quote)

  35. Carcus says:

    Great you listened in, I did not know about it at all.I should have check in sooner.Anything else ?  

    Not a lot.

    Both Posawatz (GM) and Perry (Nissan) made claims that they are working towards the mass market — upping production and lowering costs. I could believe Perry more than Posawatz on this one but I guess we’d have to take a “Tardis journey” to find out for sure.

    Perry also mentioned they are looking at faster charging options and that they would retrofit for early Leaf adopters if something were to come out in the next couple of years — but he also mentioned that it may not really be necessary for the market (i.e. an option that sounds appealing but in reality most might never use it. They’ll wait and see what the market demands).

      (Quote)

  36. James says:

    Perry also mentioned they are looking at faster charging options and that they would retrofit for early Leaf adopters if something were to come out in the next couple of years

    Bingo! – this is what I wanted to hear. Also, one more reason to buy now opposed to waiting. Also, purchasing over leasing.

      (Quote)

  37. Karl Olmstead says:

    What, you guys don’t trust our Leaf authority, Statik? Look in the Specs section of this web site, and it says that Leaf weight is 3500 lbs (estimated). Actually, some of the other sources on the web are going as high as 3700 pounds. All we can do is hope that they are wrong. Volt’s supposed to be 3500.

      (Quote)

  38. GeorgeS says:

    No definitive news.I’m taking the 3200 lbs slot in the upcoming article/poll by Statik on this subject, actually I dont think it can break 3000lbsWhat do you think?  

    What, you guys don’t trust our Leaf authority, Statik?Look in the Specs section of this web site, and it says that Leaf weight is 3500 lbs (estimated).Actually, some of the other sources on the web are going as high as 3700 pounds.All we can do is hope that they are wrong.Volt’s supposed to be 3500.  

    Karl,
    I think the original wt for the Volt was 3500. but it has been upped to 3850. However I don’t remember the source. I redid all my range calcs w. 3500# as the wt for the Leaf. As you know my drving cyle is 74 miles round trip w/ 2500′ el change.

      (Quote)

  39. GeorgeS says:

    Herm (or others)

    I had an idea for a home built fast charge. It would be designed to just dump about 4 kwh of juice at a reasonable speed. I have a place in Payson on the end of the first leg where I could stash it.

    Design= 5 Marine deep cycle batteries hooked to a DC-DC converter. If we dumped the 4 kwh in 10 minutes that would give us the 4 kwh. You would need a 24 KW converter and you would be pumping 55 DC amps into the car. Hmm probably too high a C rate for Lead acid. 4 kwh of Lipo then.

    Just a thought.
    I guess the enginer approach would be better ie trickle it in during the commute..

      (Quote)

  40. evnow says:

    “The Fluence ZE is heavy, and not as aerodynamic as the LEAF, and therefore to ensure a sufficient range (100 miles) the engine has has been retarded down to 95 bhp from the LEAF’s 107 bhp,”
    .
    Are you sure about this ?
    .
    It sounds like Fluence will actually be lighter than Leaf. Fluece ZE weighs about 100 kg more than its gas counterpart. That makes it around 3200 lbs. Leaf may be as heavy as 3600, according to Perry.

      (Quote)

  41. What, you guys don’t trust our Leaf authority, Statik? Look in the Specs section of this web site, and it says that Leaf weight is 3500 lbs (estimated). Actually, some of the other sources on the web are going as high as 3700 pounds. All we can do is hope that they are wrong. Volt’s supposed to be 3500.  (Quote)

    .

    Karl,
    I think the original wt for the Volt was 3500. but it has been upped to 3850. However I don’t remember the source. I redid all my range calcs w. 3500# as the wt for the Leaf. As you know my drving cyle is 74 miles round trip w/ 2500′ el change.  (Quote)

    So I guess a little backstory on that. There has been no confirmation on the weight, but the closest we had was a Nissan article while back that proported a rep from Nissan as signing off on the estimate to some degree ***cough*** hybrid cars ***cough***
    .
    Because that was the closest thing to a possible confirmation from Nissan, I gingerly added that to specs because, well…that was better than having nothing (and I added the estimated part)
    .
    Truth be told at first it didn’t sound too unreasonable to me, so I went with it, but ever since has been more and more of a question mark. Just thinking off the top of my head now, the LEAF’s closest relative in the Nissan family is the Tiida (which know in the US for some reason as the Versa). The LEAF is, in part, based off of this, as it is Nissan’s ‘other’ C-Segment car. The LEAF is modified a little bigger, etc., but pretty close, and the Tiida maxes out at 2,610 lb.
    .
    From there you add on 700+ odd pounds for pack and components roughly, but then have to delete ICE and its variables. The most I can ‘napkin-back’ math it out to in my head logically is maybe 3,200.
    .
    However, until we get a ‘new number’ I figured I’d just let it slide.
    .

      (Quote)

  42. “The Fluence ZE is heavy, and not as aerodynamic as the LEAF, and therefore to ensure a sufficient range (100 miles) the engine has has been retarded down to 95 bhp from the LEAF’s 107 bhp,”
    .
    Are you sure about this ?
    .
    It sounds like Fluence will actually be lighter than Leaf. Fluece ZE weighs about 100 kg more than its gas counterpart. That makes it around 3200 lbs. Leaf may be as heavy as 3600, according to Perry.  (Quote)

    I guess there should be a ‘is’ in there to make it read grammatically correct, and as two seperate, but unrelated points.
    .
    A) heavy
    B) not as aerodynamic
    .
    Sidenote: Same as the comment I was writing above before I saw yours. I am not a big believer the LEAF will end up at 3,500. That Perry quote has some loose association with the interview with him and the statement of estimated weight of the LEAF.
    .
    In the end though really, I don’t really understand how the Fluence ZE could be lighter, the ICE Fluence tops out a couple hundred pounds more than the Tiida/Versa at 2701–2815.
    .
    Which also brings into question the given Fluence estimated weights, I got the Fluence ZE anywhere between 3,400-3527 lbs, thats 600lbs more more than the ICE. Just curious, have you have a link for the 3,200 figure? Might give us some answers for the LEAF weight as well.
    .
    The whole weight thing is a total mess really…thats why I just left the specs as is, lol. Eventually, Nissan will just release the number and that will be it. (probably the 27th when the dealers get the full package if I had to guess)

      (Quote)

  43. evnow says:

    http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/carreviews/firstdrives/252952/renault_fluence_ze.html
    .
    Despite carrying a 250kg battery pack, the Fluence Z.E weighs only around 50kg more than a fully brimmed, petrol-engined Fluence. As a result, it’s nimble and good ?fun through corners, thanks ?to light but precise steering.
    .
    Based on this, I expected Leaf to be around 3200 lb. Which might still be the case – Perry may be confusing the competitors (not sure why).

      (Quote)

  44. Herm says:

    From the NPR show:Mark Perry did talk about the time degradation of the battery, …. saying 80% at year 5 and 70% at year 10.Also he seemed to think they are at the optimized spot for the EV as far as range vs cost vs utility goes.(i.e. more battery would not equal a better selling car, but they will learn from the market)

    I listened to the interview, I get the impression he was a bit confused when he said that.. those numbers dont make sense. He will have to clarify..

    Headlines tomorrow: “Mark Perry says LEAF battery will go bad in 5 years”

    I cant remember if 80% or 70% is considered end-of-life in the lithium battery industry.

      (Quote)

  45. Herm says:

    I think Nissan will eventually offer a LEAF 200 and a LEAF Classic, that would be the end of ICE powered cars in my opinion.

    “GeorgeS
    I had an idea for a home built fast charge. It would be designed to just dump about 4 kwh of juice at a reasonable speed. I have a place in Payson on the end of the first leg where I could stash it.
    Design= 5 Marine deep cycle batteries hooked to a DC-DC converter.”

    Too fast on the deep cycle batteries, but you could increase the number of batteries.. a large deep cycle could probably put out 50A at 12V for 30 minutes before it started boiling violently, about 16 of those batteries could deliver 4kwh in 30 minutes without too much trouble.. thats only $800 worth of batteries.

      (Quote)

  46. evnow says:

    Herm (or others)I had an idea for a home built fast charge. It would be designed to just dump about 4 kwh of juice at a reasonable speed. I have a place in Payson on the end of the first leg where I could stash it.

    Make sure you buy SL and get the L3 optional charger port (rumored to be $700). Unless you are in EV Project – in which case you get it for free.

    The SAE dithering is killing DC fast charge :(

      (Quote)

  47. Carcus says:

    I think Nissan will eventually offer a LEAF 200 and a LEAF Classic, that would be the end of ICE powered cars in my opinion.

    I’m surprised this speculation doesn’t pop up a little more in the auto mags , popular mechanics, etc….

    The rate at which the battery factories are being built, (Japan, Korea, China …) and the number of battery tech advancements (seems like somebody’s discovering something new every month) I think there is a much, much greater potential for massive BEV sales in the next few years than anybody’s talking about right now.

    Historically, there have been “consumer technical revolutions” like this before, it could very well happen again. (cell phones, personal computers, central heat and air, dishwashing machines, many others, . . . . even the automobile itself)

      (Quote)

  48. Carcus says:

    I’m surprised this speculation doesn’t pop up a little more in the auto mags , ……

    Ha. Guess I should have said ‘U.S.’ auto mags.

    VW: 500 mile EV’s by 2020:
    http://www.autocar.co.uk/News/NewsArticle/Volkswagen/251872/

      (Quote)

  49. DonC says:

    So 3,000 to 3,200 would be my approximation.

    Autoblog says 3700 pounds: “It’s not blazing, certainly but it’s adequately quick, with plenty of punch to motivate the Leaf’s portly 3,700-pound curb weight.” http://www.autoblog.com/2010/07/27/2011-nissan-leaf-first-drive-road-test-review/

    Before you get your panties in a bunch, keep in mind that while mass is the most important factor for MPG in a conventional ICE vehicle, it’s only the third most important factor for EVs. Still important of course but not, strictly speaking, determinative.

    This is BTW a reason why starting with an ICE body doesn’t work that well — it’s already optimized for a factor that isn’t as important as some other factors it’s not optimized for. Basically, if you want to get better MPG you spend more time on mass reduction. If you want better EV range you spend more time on aerodynamics.

      (Quote)

  50. Carcus says:

    DonC,

    That article also says 900 pounds of batteries so, … what are you going to believe?

    Here’s some of my comments from another blog, (It’s difficult to type and unwad my panties at the same time)
    http://green.autoblog.com/2010/06/02/report-leaf-curb-weight-around-3-500-pounds-about-the-same-as/2#comments

      (Quote)

  51. Jimza Skeptic says:

    Why are you waiting?1.We put 30K a year on our Prius.
    2.Without access to charging at work, some days would be pushing the range limit comfort for my wife.
    3.Leasing is not for us… 30K yr..
    4.14 months note left on Prius with no way to know if Dec. 2010 delivery of Leaf is possible or not for tax credit to pay off Prius.
    With some restraint, we might be able to get a BEV with more range and be in a better position financially as well.I do want to buy with whichever manufacturer will still have the tax credit allocation available.
    I’m allways open to suggestions.  

    Go for the Mitsubishi MiEV. Same range, etc as the Leaf, except it is about $8,000 lower cost. If your heart is set on a BEV, I don’t see why anyone would go with the Leaf when the MiEV is equal performance at lower cost. Otherwise man up and get a VOLT. It will eliminate that pesky range anxiety you mentioned!

      (Quote)

  52. evnow says:

    Go for the Mitsubishi MiEV. Same range, etc as the Leaf, except it is about $8,000 lower cost. If your heart is set on a BEV, I don’t see why anyone would go with the Leaf when the MiEV is equal performance at lower cost.

    No way iMiEV will be 8,000 lower than Leaf. Are you saying it will be $17K after tax credit ?

      (Quote)

  53. GeorgeS says:

    Herm,
    I think 16 ,1 kwh deep cycles are closer to 100 each!! Priced any lately??
    anyway, point well taken,
    Like I said the Enginer trickle charge way is the best solution!!

      (Quote)

  54. DonC says:

    Also he seemed to think they are at the optimized spot for the EV as far as range vs cost vs utility goes.  

    If you look at the daily trip length, about 95% of trips fall under 100 miles and there is a clear break. To pick up the last 5% you’d need to go out to 300 miles, which would mean increasing the size of the pack by 3X. Not cost effective.

      (Quote)

  55. DonC says:

    That article also says 900 pounds of batteries so, … what are you going to believe?

    My guess is I’m not that concerned. Cutting 400 pounds extends range by something like 2 miles in city driving and 1 mile in highway driving.

      (Quote)

  56. DonC says:

    Go for the Mitsubishi MiEV. Same range, etc as the Leaf,

    Not realistic. Just based on the size of the battery pack and aero (the i-Miev is one of those conversions), probably something less than 2/3rds the range.

      (Quote)

  57. Carcus says:

    Cutting 400 pounds extends range by something like 2 miles in city driving and 1 mile in highway driving.

    No.

    You’re coming in way low for that much weight in a BEV the size of the Leaf.

    “Highlights from the Ricardo electric vehicle study, for the federal test procedure (FTP75) drive cycle, include: The driving range of the vehicles could be improved approximately equal to the mass saved. Reduce the mass of the vehicle 20 percent, go 20 percent father. ”
    http://www.aluminum.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=29343

      (Quote)

  58. DonC says:

    You’re coming in way low for that much weight in a BEV the size of the Leaf.

    Well if the company making the EV says one thing and a supplier pushing a special solution says another I’m going with the manufacturer. GM says in their testing cutting 400 pounds increased range by 1 mile on the highway cycle and 2 miles on the city cycle. I’ll go with that.

    Alternatively just looking at the study you’ve cited gets the BS meter going. The summary says that only 15%-20% of all losses are attributable to mass and that 65% of these losses can be recovered. Seem optimistic on the regen but OK. This raises the question: If, after regen, mass related losses constitute only 5%-7% of all losses, how can reducing the mass by 20% reduce total losses by 20%. The math just isn’t working.

    I’ll grant you that a faster vehicle will accelerate faster.

      (Quote)

  59. DonC says:

    “Lilghter” not faster vehicle will accelerate faster.

      (Quote)

  60. Jimza Skeptic says:

    No way iMiEV will be 8,000 lower than Leaf. Are you saying it will be $17K after tax credit ?  

    Mitsubishi is claiming the car released in US (2012) will be base price of $22K. Like anything, I am sure it will be more like $25K which is $8,000 less than the Leaf.

      (Quote)

  61. Jimza Skeptic says:

    Not realistic. Just based on the size of the battery pack and aero (the i-Miev is one of those conversions), probably something less than 2/3rds the range.  

    Well in Asia they are getting 160 Km per charge. Rough math says that is 100.8 miles per charge. I guess they are conservative and instead of rounding up to 101 they are rounding down to 100 mile per charge. ;-)

      (Quote)

  62. Herm says:

    DonC says:

    Before you get your panties in a bunch, keep in mind that while mass is the most important factor for MPG in a conventional ICE vehicle, it’s only the third most important factor for EVs. Still important of course but not, strictly speaking, determinative.

    I have been saying this for years.. but nooo one believes me.

      (Quote)

  63. Herm says:

    Well in Asia they are getting 160 Km per charge. Rough math says that is 100.8 miles per charge. I guess they are conservative and instead of rounding up to 101 they are rounding down to 100 mile per charge. Jimza Skeptic(Quote)

    I read somewhere it would be rated at 70 miles of range using the US cycles.. I have to believe that $22k already includes the $7500 tax credit.

      (Quote)

  64. Fernando says:

    Hello,

    I live in Spain and we will have the option of choosing the two models. If I had to choose one would choose the Fluence, for several reasons:

    First, the design, much more beautiful the Fluence. The Leaf is a bit ugly.
    The largest dealer network of Renault.
    With Renault you rent the battery, much better than buying it, because in six years its value will be near zero.
    Aerodynamics is unknown in both models, but the weight seems more that of Nissan. In the end, with the same battery and practically with the same engine have the same autonomy, so i don’t think this: “the Fluence ZE is quite simply a inferior car in almost every way.”
    As to the handling of Renault, certainly will better than any American car with its soft suspension.
    In the future it seems that will make interchange stations. At least you have the possibility, not Nissan.
    The trunk at the end is the same as Nissan.

    PD: Do not know why Americans have such a dislike to the French cars.

      (Quote)

  65. Rick says:

    Hello,I live in Spain and we will have the option of choosing the two models. If I had to choose one would choose the Fluence, for several reasons:First, the design, much more beautiful the Fluence. The Leaf is a bit ugly.The largest dealer network of Renault.With Renault you rent the battery, much better than buying it, because in six years its value will be near zero.Aerodynamics is unknown in both models, but the weight seems more that of Nissan. In the end, with the same battery and practically with the same engine have the same autonomy, so i don’t think this: “the Fluence ZE is quite simply a inferior car in almost every way.”As to the handling of Renault, certainly will better than any American car with its soft suspension.In the future it seems that will make interchange stations. At least you have the possibility, not Nissan.The trunk at the end is the same as Nissan.PD: Do not know why Americans have such a dislike to the French cars.  (Quote)

    Why make it a French-American thing? The Leaf is a Japanese car designed to sell globally

      (Quote)

  66. ffinder says:

    Fluence Z.E. is a total non-starter?

    By this time next year there will be around 55 battery switch stations in operation in Israel.
    4 battery switch stations will soon be in operation in San Fransisco with plans to deploy them all over California giving Better Place customers unlimited range in CA with battery swap time of 59.1 seconds.
    With a contract with Better Place the Fluence ZE will be sold $5,000 cheaper than the price of the average gasoline car that is sold in the US.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Better_Place

    ff

      (Quote)

  67. Peter Korsten says:

    Is Renault going to rebadge the LEAF as a Clio in Europe?

    Not likely. Renault is big in Europe, but Nissan has quite a bit of presence too, and they compete with one another with certain models. Although you see now that they’re trying to aim similar models at slightly different markets, with the Renault Koleos (which has been a bit of a flop) in a more expensive segment than the Nissan Qashqai (which has been a runaway success).

    …the Fluence ZE is quite simply a inferior car in almost every way.

    Honestly, that is such a load of rubbish. This being a Nissan Leaf forum, I’d expect a bit of bias, but calling this a “test” when you haven’t even seen a Fluence ZE in real life, let alone driven one, is a total misnomer.

    They have the same range, the same top speed (I’ve seen 150 km/h quoted for the Fluence, not 135 km/h), and there are more similarities. The big difference is that, with the Leaf, it will be impossible to quickly change the batteries, and as such it will be limited to driving in the city. The Fluence ZE, on the other hand, is more aimed as a family car for longer distances – as soon as those charging stations emerge, which is something that I’ll believe when I see it. For the city, it’s a bit too long.

    From what I read, the Fluence ZE is a nimble car when driven through Paris (lots of guts on the part of Renault, letting journalists drive a prototype through Paris).

    Now I live in an island state of 316 square km (121 square miles), and either car would be ideal to drive here. The problem I see with the Renault is that you lease the batteries, at something like €80 a month – and this is considerably more than I spend on petrol per month for my 10 year old Renault Scénic. And then you still have to add the electricity costs. Petrol prices would have to go up by another 40% before you’d start to break even – and given that all electricity comes from fossil fuels, perhaps even more than that.

    Plus, this being such a small market (400,000 inhabitants with just under 300,000 cars) the question remains whether it will be available here in the first place.

      (Quote)

  68. Steve says:

    More battery swap stations is the answer. I can’t imagine many ordinary people paying $40,000 for a car that only goes 100 miles before needing a recharging.

      (Quote)

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