Chevy Volt vs. The Nissan Leaf: What can we expect?

Written by: Dan Asnis

At the beginning of the twentieth century, legendary inventor Thomas Edison believed he could develop a battery for electric cars that would be more economical and could go longer distances than the short rage electric vehicles that were around at the time.

Just over a century later, Edison’s dream of a practical electric car has come to fruition with the introductions of General Motors Chevrolet Volt and Nissan’s Leaf. While the Leaf is all electric, the Volt has a nine gallon gas tank according to GM-Volt.com.  The gas is used to power the engine if the electric battery charge runs out.

While GM’s Chevrolet division started selling the Volt in this area back in the fall, Nissan has yet to roll out the Leaf in this region.

According to the Nissan web site, the Leaf’s lithium ion battery is built to go 100 miles on a single charge. The actual mileage can vary between 62 and 138 for a Leaf battery when new. General Motors’s website states that the vehicle, which also uses a Lithium ion battery, can go 35 miles on a charge when the battery is new.  At the point the electric charge runs out, the gas-powered generator takes over.

According to Malouf Chevrolet Cadillac sales consultant Barry Dworkin, demand has been high for the Volt.  “We got an allocation of six,” said Dworkin. The floor model brought the total number to seven.

“We have presold sold all six.” Dworkin said. Dworkin did not expect the seventh, which had recently arrived at the dealership to last long in showroom.

Dworkin believes that the Volt is only the beginning for electric cars at General Motors and throughout the automobile industry. “This is a different kind of car; it really changes everything.” he said.

David Borden, the Leaf certified sales repetitive at Haldeman Nissan expects Leafs to arrive around July or August, but only for people who signed up online for Nissan’s waiting list. Borden explains “They did a $99 deposit last year for the car.“ Because of this, Borden does not yet know how many of the Leafs will be allocated to Haldeman.

“When it comes close to the time for their car to be delivered to them, they’ll click on what dealer they want to go to. And that’s why we don’t know who’s going to be coming to us.”  Borden points out that the dealerships will not have any Leafs to sell outside Nissan’s waiting list for at least the first year.

Liberal Arts Major Catherine Manning thinks the Leaf would be very appealing if there were charging stations to support it. “If there were charging stations. I’m very pro environment, so, I would go for the entirely electric one.” Without that infrastructure currently being a reality, she would now have to choose the Volt with its gas backup system. “ If I had to chose between the two, I would have to go with the gas backup.”

Gary Bergman of North Brunswick plans to buy a Volt in December when his lease on a Lexus Hybrid SUV is up.  Bergman says that he has a few reasons for wanting to buy an electric car, “Primarily for the technology. Also we have solar panels on our house. Makes sense for us to get more energy that way.”

With gas prices on the rise because of unrest in the Middle East, demand for electric vehicles like the Volt and the Leaf is likely to increase.

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Dan Asnis
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