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Nissan LEAF gets 99 mpg EPA rating

 Posted by on November 24, 2010
Nov 242010

From Green Right Now Reports

As Nissan speeds toward the December debut in showrooms of its electric LEAF, the first all-electric family sedan to hit the market in the grand slam of EV/PEV and hybrid cars coming to U.S. markets, the EPA has released its official MPG rating for the Nissan LEAF.

2011 Nissan LEAF

It’s a mind-blowing 99 mpg.

Of course, that’s not exactly what it appears to be. There’s no free ride. While the Leaf will use no gasoline, it will use electricity to recharge, and that could run upwards of $500 a year in additional energy costs for a household, depending on rates, how much the car is driven and other  factors.

The upshot: It’s going to be difficult to compare EVs and gasoline cars when it comes to pricing.

When it comes to emissions, electric cars will win hands down, say experts, even if they’re recharged at a home that relies on coal-powered electricity. That’s because there are no tail pipe emissions. (They’ve done the math on that. EVs win.) Should your household operate on wind or solar power, your electric vehicle will be even greener.

For now, Nissan is glorying in that wonderful number — 99 — an average of what the car will get in a mix of town and highway driving. The EPA rating means the Nissan LEAF will rate as the best midsize vehicle for both fuel efficiency and the environment, according to a Nissan news release this week.

While it’s difficult to wrap one’s head around how the EPA arrived at a miles per gallon, when there is no “gallon” — Nissan’s Scott Becker, senior vice president, Finance and Administration, Nissan Americas. explained as best he could:

“The new label shows a best-in-class 99 miles-per-gallon (MPG) equivalent (combined city/highway). The MPG equivalency rating was developed by the EPA as a way to provide a standard so consumers can compare vehicles across the spectrum and make an educated purchase.

“The 2011 Nissan LEAF, which uses no gas, was also rated best-in-class for the environment based on emitting zero greenhouse gases or other traditional tailpipe emissions….

“After completion of five-cycle testing, the EPA has rated the Nissan LEAF with an MPG equivalent of 106 city, 92 highway for a combined 99 MPGe. This calculation is based on the EPA’s formula of 33.7kW-hrs being equivalent to one gallon gasoline energy.”

OK, we got it, kind of.

The EPA also factored in the vehicle’s seven hours of charging time (on a 240V system0, and found that the Leaf delivered 73 miles of driving time.

That’s a range considerably under the 100 miles that Nissan has touted.

Nissan’s Becker responded: “Driving range on the Nissan LEAF, as with all vehicles, varies with real-world driving conditions.”

Sales of the Nissan LEAF are due to begin in December in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Tennessee.

In January 2011, sales begin in Texas and Hawaii, with additional market roll-out continuing later in 2011, according to Nissan.