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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
 |  Mar 16 2012, 12:53 PM

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Toyota is the brand to beat when it comes to hybrid vehicles, and the recently launched Prius c subcompact helps reinforce that trend. 

According to Toyota, the Prius c, which launched on March 12, has sold 1,201 in its first three days on the market, making it one of the company’s fastest selling vehicles.

In just three days, the Prius c outsold the February sales of the Volt, and Leaf, which sold 1,023, and 478 respectively.

The fact that gas prices in the US could hit $4.00 a gallon as early as memorial day certainly make the Prius c a shining beacon of hope for drivers who hope to save some money at the pump with the 53 mpg fuel economy rating.  The under $19,000 price tag doesn’t hurt either.

As a whole, the Prius family of vehicles (the Prius, Prius c and Prius v) sold almost 10,000 units during the first half of March.

You can check out our review of the Prius c right here

 |  Feb 29 2012, 7:31 PM

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As of tomorrow, Nissan has announced that the Leaf will be available for order across all U.S. markets as the automaker completes its final launch phase in the remaining states.

“More than 22,000 Leafs are on the roads globally, having driven more than 30 million miles. There is no longer any doubt that a 100-percent electric, zero-emissions vehicle fulfills the needs and desires of drivers from around the globe,” sales and marketing senior vice president of Nissan North America Brian Carolin said. ”Nationwide availability of the Nissan Leaf means that now, anyone in the country can opt for a transportation solution that does not harm the environment, provides a pathway to energy independence, and doesn’t use a single drop of gas.”

Beginning March 1, customers in the remaining 21 states who already hold Leaf reservations may begin the Nissan Leaf ordering process. In the coming week and beyond, any can join the list to own a Leaf. New order deliveries for the nationwide release will commence by Summer.

Read AutoGuide’s Nissan Leaf Review Here

 |  Feb 23 2012, 5:31 PM

The recent stories of the Tesla Roadster “bricking” will likely cause owners of other electric vehicles to worry. We’ve managed to track down and get a comment about the measures in place that can prevent other EVs from becoming damaged like the Tesla.

A “bricked” car is a lot like a bricked gadget. It can’t and won’t turn on, and is essentially useless (unless you want to use it as a giant and expensive paperweight).

Tesla Roadster

The story is that an owner let his Roadster die and left it uncharged for two months. The car then couldn’t be turned on or started, or re-charged. When the car was taken for repairs it was found that it would cost $40,000 to fix the vehicle.

It’s stated several times in the Roadster’s owner’s manual not to leave the vehicle discharged for an extended period of time. Specifically: “Situations may arise when in which you must leave your vehicle unplugged for an extended period of time. If this is the case, it is your responsibility to ensure that the battery does not become fully depleted.” Lastly, “Over-discharge can permanently damage the battery.” While it’s clear that owner negligence caused this damage, some blame can be put on the manufacturer to have more safety measures to protect the vehicle.

Nissan Leaf:

Nissan states that the Leaf cannot be fully discharged “thanks to an advanced battery management system designed to protect the battery from damage. One element of the battery management system is a failsafe wall that stops the battery from reaching absolute zero state-of-charge, even after a period of unplugged storage,”Steve Yaegar, Nissan’s technology communications manager said.

Still there are some warnings in the Leaf’s manual that advises owners to take proper care of its battery. One of the more conspicuous warnings says: “Avoid leaving your vehicle for over 14 days where the Li-ion battery available charge gauge reaches a zero or near zero (state of charge)”

When pushed, Yaegar skirted the issue of what would happen to a Leaf if a user ignored that advice.

Chevrolet Volt

While the Chevrolet has a gas generator to help keep the battery charged, what would happen if the battery is discharged completely? Nothing really. Chevrolet spokesperson Robert Peterson told us “This isn’t an issue for the Volt. The Volt uses only 10.4 kW of its 16 kWh battery. The rest of the battery space serves as a buffer to prevent overcharging or deep discharging.”

Mitsubishi i-MiEV

In the i-MiEV’s warranty manual, Mitsubishi states that the standard warranty does not cover any damages to the Li-Ion battery resulting from “failure to keep the main drive lithium-ion battery charged during storage of the vehicle.”

John Arnone a representative from Mitsubishi, said that while the i-MiEV battery can be fully discharged, if left for a long period of time it will still be able to be recharged by the usual means.

Smart ED

It’s true that electric Smart cars aren’t really on sale (lease-only), a member of customer relations told us that the upcoming 2013 model shouldn’t encounter any issues if left discharged. She did warn us that it may take a bit longer to fully charge back up again though.

It’s clear that electric vehicles are in their infancy. Being able to drive about without paying for gas certainly is a huge benefit. However, potential electric car buyers are already concerned about cost, range anxiety and charge times. Looks like its time to add battery maintenance to that list of concerns.

 |  Jan 21 2012, 2:30 PM

Nissan has a reason to celebrate now that their electric vehicle, the Leaf, has achieved its milestone of 10,000 vehicles sold in the US. The Leaf, which first hit the American market in December 2010, still isn’t available in all 50 states – though Nissan looks to rectify that by March of this year.

Surely the impressive sales figure proves that American consumers are open to the idea of electric vehicles. In fact, we would go so far as to say that the worldwide market is embracing EVs as Nissan has sold 20,000 Leafs globally. The Leaf’s impressive sales figures trump all other OEMs combined sales of electric vehicles throughout the world – though that’s not saying much, considering there isn’t much competition out there as of yet.

It’ll be interesting to see if the Leaf stays strong in the sales category once the Ford Focus Electric and even the Honda Fit EV hit the marketplace.

[Source: AutoBlog Green]

Read AutoGuide’s Nissan Leaf Review here and watch our review below:

Continue Reading…

 |  Jan 06 2012, 6:45 PM

The past 20 years were pretty stable in the automotive industry. Mostly predictable releases with a steady rate for manufacturers to introduce new models that seemed like a consistant recipe for success.

Then, suddenly with the start of the current model year, things changed. In fact, it looks like this is just the start of a serious upswing in new releases. According to a story published on CNN Money, the auto industry replaced 16 percent of its fleet annually between 1991 and 2011.

That figure jumped to 23 percent with the 2012 model year, which started in October. Apparently keeping this fresh is the snake oil for successful car companies, because next year that number will grow to 32 percent, effectively doubling the rate new models hit the market. Given this manufacturer mayhem, we decided to round up the new cars you should expect to see soon.

Honda is an interesting case as they’ve recognized that their luxury brand, Acura, is simply being outdone by the competition at every turn. They decided to completely redesign their line to quell complaints that their cars are little more than rebadged Hondas. The first to look for: their new ILX compact sedan. As for Honda, they are already planning to release a new generation Civic after the media chastised them for an uninspired release.

Next up, Nissan. While they don’t hold a big market share in the U.S., Carlos Ghosn, their CEO is making plans to expand the 8.2 percent they have now to ten by 2015. In order to do that, they are revamping half of their entire line. Nissan is targeting the burgeoning EV market with their Leaf, which first became available last year. Look for updated Altimas, Sentras and Pathfinders in the near future.

Toyota suffered after the tsunami, but is coming back with a fury. The automaker is releasing a brand-new sports car, the FR-S, developed in partnership with Subaru and set to sell with a Scion badge. The RAV-4 and Lexus ES sedan will also get updates.

Chrysler will move toward smaller cars, something the brand has historically struggled with. The shrinkage can be attributed to Fiat, their new owners, and how their new 40 mpg Dodge Dart borrows heavily from the Italian engineers.

Ford and GM are trying to hang on to their chunky market shares, 17 and 19.7 percent respectively. Both companies are following the industry strategy: refreshing their popular sellers and releasing redesigned cars in their luxury brands. Look for a re-engineered Lincoln MKZ from Ford and Cadillac‘s new compact ATS and larger XTS sedans from GM.

Finally, there are some changes in the pipeline for German luxury cars. Audi just confirmed that their compact Q3 SUV will be sold in the U.S., along with the re-release of the compact A2 sedan. Mercedes-Benz is opting to offer their smaller B-Series and A-Series cars to remain competitive in the Yankee market.

[Source: CNN Money]

 |  Dec 13 2011, 4:30 PM

In the 1960′s there was the muscle-car wars, and in the 1980′s it was all about who can sell the most minivans. Now its time for the green-car wars, to see who can sell the most plug-in hybrid or fully electric cars.

The two biggest rivals at the moment are the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt. While the Leaf is a fully electric vehicle, the Volt in a plug-in hybrid, so when the battery dies, you can still keep moving, provided you have some gasoline in its tank.

These two vehicles have been going head to head all year, and in America, it is the Leaf that is winning by quite a margin. Nissan has moved 8,720 Leafs thus far, while Chevy had moved just 6,142 Volts in the U.S.

North of the border, there is a different story developing. The Volt is actually outselling the Leaf. Chevy has moved 243 Volts thus far, while only 111 Leafs have found homes in Canada.

Part of the reason the Leaf is having a harder time selling in Canada is because there are only 27 Leaf Certified Dealers in the country, and even they will only sell a car to someone who lives within 42-miles from one of those dealers. The Volt on the other hand is sold through all Chevrolet dealers.

Chevrolet has been dealing with a lot of negative publicity regarding the Volt in recent weeks due to its battery issue, which could result in a fire. This little sales victory in Canada might give the bow-tie boys something to cheer about.

[Source: Auto North]

 |  Dec 09 2011, 10:30 PM

While Chevy‘s Volt is having to battle some major negative press, Nissan‘s Leaf is celebrating its first birthday with over 19,000 owners who have given the world over 32-million gas-free miles.

To celebrate its first birthday, Nissan employed the assistance of electrical sockets to sing the Leaf its birthday song. Dubbed “Singing Sockets”, the video/commercial wishes the first and only mass-produced electric car a very happy birthday.

Nissan will also be taking to Facebook and Twitter (follow #LEAFBday) to celebrate with their owners, looking for videos, photos and memories from the Leaf’s first year of existence.

Check out Nissan’s Singing Sockets video after the break.

Continue Reading…

 |  Dec 09 2011, 12:01 AM

 

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is flatly denying any wrongdoing around the time it took to release data suggesting the Chevrolet Volt might catch fire.

Earlier this week reports surfaced that Volts suffering severe crashes might be at risk of catching fire. GM hasn’t released an official statement explaining the phenomenon, but information leaked from unnamed sources suggesting it might be the liquid cooling system for the car’s lithium ion battery. The fires weren’t even the most disturbing part of the story. It seems the NHTSA actually knew of the defect last May.

By Wednesday U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican congressman from California along with two other U.S. house members aimed accusations at the NHTSA, saying in a letter that they “deliberately suppressed public knowledge of the safety risk posed by the Chevrolet Volt’s lithium-ion battery system.”

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood responded today saying the accusations were “absolutely not true.”

“We have opened an investigation into battery-related fires that may occur some time after a severe crash,” LaHood said. “Chevy Volt owners can be confident that their cars are safe to drive.”

For now, Chevrolet is doing damage control with the car they otherwise used as a PR poster child. So far they have offered to buy back Volts from any owners who feel unsafe and offered loaner cars to those who simply want the defect fixed.

It won’t be clear what that fix will include until later in the week when GM expects its engineers to arrive at a solution, but speculation thus far suggests it may include a strengthened housing around the battery as well as laminating the battery itself and measures to protect against coolant leaking after a crash.

Other cars like the Nissan Leaf use air in place of liquid cooling systems, meaning they aren’t subject to the same potential hazard.

“As soon as we have additional information on our testing and on our investigation, we’ll disclose it,” LaHood said.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Dec 07 2011, 4:30 PM

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General Motors is moving closer to a solution for the fires that occurred in Volts after crash testing earlier this year.

Fox News reported yesterday that, according to an unnamed source, fires sparking inside Chevrolet‘s lauded green car might be caused by coolant crystallizing on the car’s battery after a crash, leading to a short circuit.

Since then, Reuters reported that GM is moving towards a set of dealership-implemented fixes to ensure post-crash safety in the cars, though the solution isn’t finalized.

“To the best of my knowledge, we’re not discussing exact solutions at this point,” GM spokesman Rob Peterson said.

Despite that, rumored solutions continue to surface by unnamed sources. Among those unofficial fixes, it seems that GM might laminate the 400-pound battery pack as well as strengthen the casing around it. They may also take steps to better protect against coolant leakage after a crash.

While those possibilities aren’t certain, GM senior management expects a solution by the end of the week. Barring demand by U.S. safety regulators for a deeper-reaching solution, the fix is expected to cost less than $1 million, or roughly $1000 per car.

GM is also offering current Volt owners loaner cars to drive until their vehicle is bolstered against the potential disaster. The aggressive repair policy signals how serious GM is about making the Volt their symbol of future progress.

As far as the EV market is concerned, others are on the way, but for now the Volt’s sole competitor is the Nissan Leaf. The key difference between the two is that the Leaf runs solely on battery power, whereas the Volt has a 1.4-liter gasoline engine that extends driving range. The Leaf didn’t experience the same problems after crash tests, possibly because it doesn’t a use liquid-cooled battery.

Last week GM CEO, Dan Akerson told the Associated Press that GM plans to buy back Volts from any customers concerned about the cars catching fire. He also maintained that they are safe to drive and that owners shouldn’t worry about the issue.

“I think it behooves everyone including General Motors and all of our competition, but more importantly our customers, that we get it right,” Akerson said.

Getting it right definitely involves fixing hazardous issues, but how right is it that GM knew about the problem as early as May without making the public aware? In an earlier story, we reported that it’s possible both GM and the NHTSA knew about the problem but failed to disclose it until last November.

For now, Akerson seems confident in GM’s solution, citing that Lexus had quality issues when they started, but that Toyota dealt swiftly with the issues and pushed the brand on to be a success.

[Sources:  Reuters]

 |  Oct 30 2011, 3:43 PM

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Six Nissan Leafs will partake in a journey that no other electric vehicle has gone on before. As part of a pilot program, six pioneering Leafs will serve commercial duty as taxi cabs for one of the most populous metropolitans in the world, New York City.

The goal of this pilot program is to retrieve valuable information on how these electric vehicles will fair against the tall orders required to navigate New York’s busy streets. If the program proves to be successful, it will help further convince people that EVs are in fact viable options for daily use.

For those interested in participating, Nissan has provided an online application from which they will handpick eligible applicants. Remember, there will only six cars! Those interested will have until November 30th to apply.

[Source: Autoblog Green]

Click here to read AutoGuide’s 2011 Nissan Leaf Review

 |  Oct 29 2011, 5:24 PM

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Has Nissan already cracked the range sweet spot of electric vehicles? According to Mark Perry, director of product planning and strategy for Nissan North America, Nissan Leaf drivers average a distance of 37 miles in a single day. Moreover, the average length of a single trip is a short seven miles. According to these findings, Nissan Leaf’s current 70-plus mile range is already more than necessary for day to day use and a long range EV isn’t necessary says Perry.

The findings are derived from daily use cycles of approximately 7,500 Leafs in the United States as well as data from the Department of Energy’s EV project. They also prove consistent with data from conventional gasoline powered cars, which shows that 72 percent of Americans drive less than 40 miles per day and 95 percent drive less than 100 miles per day.

GALLERY: Nissan Leaf

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[Source: Edmunds]

Click here to read AutoGuide’s 2011 Nissan Leaf review

 |  Aug 26 2011, 6:53 AM

Nissan has announced it will launch the all-electric Nissan Leaf ahead of schedule in the city of Chicago, citing popular demand as well as preparedness by the city.

Last February, Gov. Pat Quinn announced that $1 million would be invested to install state-of-the-art charging infrastructure for electric cars throughout the Chicago area. The City of Chicago matched the investment with an additional $1 million for the project to implement 280 EV charging stations.

“Illinois is laying the groundwork for electric vehicles, and our efforts are paying off,” Gov. Quinn said. “By investing in electric vehicle technology, both the State of Illinois and Nissan are making transportation in our state more efficient, sustainable and affordable.”

The City of Chicago has also spearheaded an aggressive infrastructure plan to add 73 DC quick charging stations and 207 Level 2 stations by the end of 2011. So far, 40 stations have been installed, but when complete, the system will provide the Chicagoland area with the most extensive infrastructure for electric vehicles in the U.S.

 |  Aug 05 2011, 2:00 PM

Nissan’s CEO, Carlos Ghosn reported back in late July that ”with more than 10,100 electric Nissan Leaf vehicles already sold worldwide” the Japanese automaker is “clearly the global leader in zero emission mobility” but, these numbers were never verified.

However, it has now been confirmed that Nissan has officially topped the 10,000-unit milestone globally. Nissan spokeswoman Katherine Zachary said the sales of the Leaf, “crossed the 10,000 mark a couple weeks ago.” The exact number is not known due to the Nissan’s “summer holiday” shutdown in Japan.

The Nissan Leaf will retail for $35,200 in the SV trim and $37,250 for the SL trim. The annual cost of running the Leaf on electric power is expected to cost as little as just $561. Furthermore, the Leaf returns a very impressive 99-mpg on average. That means the electric car returns 106-mpg city and 92-mpg listing for highway driving.

[Source: Autoblog Green]

 |  Aug 02 2011, 5:00 PM

Nissan and City Ventures announced today that they plan to proceed with their cooperative project to prewire 190 Southern California townhomes with electric vehicle chargers. This will be the largest residential, electric vehicle pre-wiring project in the United States. The installation will include a Level II (240v- 40 amp) electric vehicle dock which is recommended for charging the Nissan Leaf. The electric charging equipment will be installed in 54 homes in Signal Hill, 48 homes in Santa Barbara and 88 homes in Alhambra.

“Nissan applauds City Ventures’ vision and leadership to create a unique solution on such a large scale,” said Brendan Jones, Nissan’s director of Electric Vehicle Marketing and Sales Strategy. “Their model perfectly complements the accepted preference by EV owners to charge at home – including convenient charging during off-peak overnight hours – and is a meaningful step to help advance Nissan LEAF owner satisfaction.”

The Nissan Leaf is the first zero-emission, 100-percent electric vehicle available to the mass market and has sold exceptionally well. The electric vehicle was first launched in December 2010, and Nissan has delivered more than 4,000 Leaf’s in the U.S. The vehicle is only sold in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Tennessee, Texas, Oregon and Washington however, over 350,000 people have already expressed interest in the car.

 |  Jul 28 2011, 3:33 PM


General Motors is trailing  Nissan in electric car sales, prompting the the American automaker to boost output on Chevrolet Volt to 5,000 units a month as the automaker tries to take the lead.

Nissan sold 3,875 Leaf units in June while GM followed behind with 2,745 vehicle sales. Tony Posawatz, vehicle line director for the Chevy Volt said, that while Nissan accelerated production faster than GM, the Detroit automaker will outstrip its Japanese rival and make 5,000 Volt vehicles as quickly as possible for January. Posawatz also said that GM will quickly expand output towards the goal of selling 10,000 Volts in the U.S annually.

“This is very much about supply constraints as opposed to a sales race,” Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with IHS Automotive, a research firm based in Lexington, Mass. “Next year will really show true demand for these kinds of cars and which one wins.”

[Source: GM Inside News]

 |  Jul 20 2011, 6:37 PM

Nissan has confirmed today, that starting in early 2013, the electric motor for the Nissan Leaf will be produced at the Decherd, Tennessee powertrain assembly plant.

Prepping the plant for the electric motor production has been facilitated by U.S Department of Energy Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program loan funds. The Leaf motor will also create 90 new jobs and when the new assembly line is completed, the plant will have the capacity to produce up to 150,000 electric motors annually for the Nissan Leaf.

“Nissan’s Tennessee operations are paving the way to a zero-emission future for everyone,” said Bill Krueger, vice chairman of Nissan Americas. “By delivering motors for the first mass-produced electric vehicles manufactured in the United States, our Decherd plant will play a vital role in making zero-emission mobility a reality for American consumers.”

 |  Jul 05 2011, 5:06 PM

Mitsubishi is becoming much more aggressive regarding future EV sales in its home market of Japan. Currently Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV sells for 3.98 million yen which equals $49,200. Government subsidies bring the price down a million yen equalling $36,900. The i-MiEV’s chief rival, the Nissan Leaf costs 3.76 million yen which equals $46,500 before subsidies and is the more popular choice compared to the Mitsubishi.

However, Mitsubishi will slash a million yen off the i-MiEV’s retail price to improve sales, bringing down the price to around 2 million yen or $24,700. The big savings are coming from a smaller battery. The existing model was good for 160 km (100 miles) per battery charge whereas the new model can only travel 120 km (75 miles). The Leaf can achieve only 100 miles per charge.

Prices in the United States are much cheaper, with the 2012 i-MiEV selling for $27,990 before the Federal $7,500 EV tax credit and state incentives. California and Hawaii go a step further with rebates, and in EV can be picked up for as low as $15,500 in these locales.

[Source: The Truth About Cars]

 |  Jun 28 2011, 12:06 PM

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The all-electric Nissan Leaf had a triumphant outing at Pikes Peak this past weekend, netting itself the win in the electric production class with Chad Hord behind the wheel. Even though it didn’t claim the EV record that AC Propulsion did, the Leaf proved to be a formidable production race car turning in a time of 14 minutes and 33 seconds.

As expected, the Leaf was basically stock except for some interior safety modifications and a more aggressive set of wheels and tires. A huge advantage that the all-electric Leaf had as it climbed up Pikes Peak was the fact that it suffered no power loss due to the thin air towards the summit. Traditional internal combustion engines are known to suffer as much as a 30-percent performance loss towards the top of the hill.

Nissan also had to equip their race car with a high-pitched warning beeper to caution spectators, photographers and workers that the Leaf was approaching. It must have truly been an interesting sight to see the Leaf zip by without a single sound other than that of tires squealing.

Along with the Leaf’s triumphant run up the famed Colorado summit, this past weekend’s Pikes Peak Hill Climb recorded several records, including Monster Tajima breaking the 10-minute barrier, and Jeff Zwart setting the street legal car record with an 11:07.869 in his Porsche 911 GT2 RS.

GALLERY: Pikes Peak Nissan Leaf

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 |  Jun 21 2011, 2:58 PM

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Nissan is looking to add even more utility to their electric vehicle, the Leaf, by incorporating the technology required for the EV to power a home in the case of a blackout. That’s right, in Nissan’s ideal world those with a Leaf would no longer have the need for a generator as the Leaf’s battery can store 24 kilowatt hours of electricity. That’s enough to power an average household for a full day.

Hideaki Watanabe, head of Nissan’s Global Emissions Business unit, did clarify that they currently do not have the ability to discharge the power. Nissan is actively looking for a way to reverse the flow of energy from the Leaf to a home, and Watanabe is pushing his engineers to find a solution as soon as possible. And how soon? Watanabe is ambitiously wanting a prototype by the end of the year.

[Source: CNet]

 |  Jun 08 2011, 1:06 PM
The racing version of Nissan’s electric vehicle, the Leaf, lapped the Sodegaura Forest Raceway,Japan during a test run yesterday. In this four minute video, the driver puts the Nissan Leaf Nismo RC through its paces and at some points can barely keep it on the track.

The Nismo RC features a full carbon fiber body and thee-door layout, and is extremely aerodynamic. This car is entirely electric, creating zero-emissions, and only has one gear as you will see in the video.

The Nissan Leaf Nismo RC will perform two demonstrations, Thursday evening and Saturday afternoon at the Le Mans Vers Le Futur, in celebration of the 79th anniversary of the event (June 11-12).

It will be interesting to see how electronic vehicles like the Nismo RC shape the world of motorsports while attaining zero-emissions.

Check out the video after the jump!

Continue Reading…

 |  May 26 2011, 11:47 AM

Nissan has had a successful year with the Nissan Juke, Cube, Leaf and Infiniti M37/56  on the list of 2011 top safety picks. Today, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the 2011 Nissan Juke a “Top Safety Pick” rating. The Juke earned this award by earning a “good” rating in front, rear and side impact protection, coupled with electronic stability control as well as good roof strength.

“Nissan’s commitment to safety and innovation is reflected in the Nissan Juke receiving the Top Safety Pick from IIHS,” said Brian Carolin, senior vice president, Sales and Marketing, Nissan North America, Inc. “The Nissan Juke has a unique combination of motorsports-inspired design and unexpected levels of technology and safety features– all with a starting MSRP under $19,000.”

All 2011 Juke models come equipped with the Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with dual-stage, dual-threshold front air bags as well as seat belt and occupant classification sensors. There are also roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags for front and rear outboard occupant head protection. There are also seat mounted driver and front passendger side-impact supplemental air bags and front-seat Active Head Restraints. Other standard equipment includes LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system, Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and Traction Control System (TCS).

Check out our review of the Nissan Juke, and JukeForums.com for more info.

 |  May 17 2011, 2:20 PM

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We’re well aware that the last Nissan you ever thought would see the track as a full-blown race car would be the all-electric Leaf, but you have to admit, the Nismo RC Leaf is one bad-ass looking piece of electric machinery. Even though Nissan has built their racing heritage on their 350Z/370Z and GT-R platform, there’s no doubting automotive manufacturers wish to push the limits in proving that hybrid and all-electric technology are viable forms of real world performance.

Nissan is no exception, teaming up with Nismo to see what the Leaf can potentially do as a race chassis while still powered by the same electric drivetrain we’re seeing on the streets now. The Nismo RC Leaf features a full carbon fiber body and three-door layout, streamlining the aerodynamics while making it a sleek-looking race car. And with any other race car out there, this Leaf receives a full widebody treatment while the drivetrain was relocated in order to improve weight balance.

The Leaf took to Sodegaura Forest Raceway for some shakedown testing and we’re loving how it looks out on the track. It’ll be interesting to see how EVs can shape the world of motorsports with zero-emissions and all.

Check out the video after the break.

[Source: Autoblog]

Continue Reading…

 |  Feb 21 2011, 9:16 AM

Nissan‘s Leaf electric car has been in such high demand that the company is struggling to build them fast enough. It’s stopped taking new orders just to fulfill its current demand.

Out of 27,000 total orders so far from the United States, Japan, and Europe, it has only completed 10,000. The remaining 17,000 will be pushed back to the next fiscal year in April—enough time for the Oppama, Japan plant to reach its maximum capacity. It will be able to build 50,000 Leafs by then, and would be able to take 33,000 more orders from those clamoring to ride the lightning.

Nissan wants to get their international factories going to fulfill demand, which could see the electric car built in England as well as Tennessee. One possibility could be to open new assembly lines earlier than scheduled, but Nissan is also planning a new factory that can churn out lithium-ion battery packs, which won’t be ready if they do so.

[Source: Automotive News via Carscoop]

 |  Jun 25 2010, 9:00 AM

Glass’s Guide, car valuation experts from the UK have studied the long-term ownership costs of EVs, such as the forthcoming Nissan Leaf (shown, above.) The news isn’t looking good. Glass’s reports that after 5 years of ownership, EVs will retain only about 10 percent of their value, as opposed to the 25 percent residual value of a comparable gasoline or diesel powered car.

The primary source of this massive depreciation comes from the expected shelf life of 8 years for the battery packs, which can cost up to $15,000 to replace.

Nissan, and European counterpart Renault, have both expressed the possibility of leasing options for EVs, solving the problem of residual value (on the customer’s end, at least.) Renault leases battery packs to owners for about $150 per month, and if you remove the huge battery pack replacement number from the equation, EVs could be the best performing cars on the road in terms of residual value.

[Source: Autocar]