Oct 24

Nissan’s “Job 1” Is Complete. Production of the 2011 LEAF is Underway

 

Assembly of the Very First Production LEAF

Late Thursday night, the very first LEAF was being assembled in Oppama, Japan.  It rolled down the line, much like any other car.  In fact,  just like the Chevy Volt which will be built in Michigan,  the LEAF occupies the same production space as some of  its peers, in this case the Nissan Cube, and the unexpectedly very hot (even to Nissan), the Juke.

A good portion of the assembly line has been converted for the LEAF’s special needs.  For instance, the stage of production where the Cube would be getting its fuel tank installed, the first LEAF was diverted to mount the battery pack; and where the engine is being installed in the Juke, the LEAF made a slight detour to get its own motors and inverters put in place.   (Video of the entire production process is below)

Incidentally, Nissan has configured the engine bay of the LEAF to still give the familiar appearance of a small 4 cylinder engine to customers when they pop the hood.

Nissan LEAF 'Engine' Bay

As the first LEAF reached the end of the line, it picked up Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn and ushered him out to an audience of his workers (all very uniformly dressed as you would expect in a Japanese auto factory-navy shirts and gray slacks for everyone!).

Mr. Ghosn made a quick, previously memorized speech in Japanese,  first praising the workers and saying that the “Oppama plant will serve as the mother plant for pure EVs in our global production network” (LEAF production comes to Smyrna, TN in 2012 and Sunderland UK in 2013), before moving onto the significance of the event itself, “This is a significant milestone, not only for Nissan and the Renault-Nissan Alliance, but also for the entire automotive industry.”

In that regard, he is correct.  The significance is not in the ‘where’ it was built, or in the ‘how’ it was built, the significance is that it ‘was’ built at all.

Despite the fact that this LEAF was born in Japan, it  represents (as does the upcoming Volt  ‘Job 1’  in Michigan in about 3 weeks time) many nations intense desire to rely less on oil, and to make a decisive effort to have a healthier environment in which to live.

So at least for today with the LEAF-built by Nissan…and soon with the Volt-built by GM, we should celebrate the fact that for the first time since the mid-1930s, true mass production of the electric vehicle has returned to these institutions. And there is still plenty of room for many other visions of what the electric car should be.

Let there be wars between the Mustang and Camaro, and the Corolla and the Civic for ultimate supremacy.  For now, lets give anyone who has the fortitude to produce a electric car whatever support we can, and let the wars begin when petrol vehicles are in retreat.

/in my driveway, there is room for both a LEAF and a Volt

(Nissan)

Editor’s noteStatik aka Jay Cole, writes and is the founder of Nissan-LEAF.net.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, October 24th, 2010 at 8:19 am and is filed under BEV, Competitors. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 183


  1. 1
    Tagamet

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (8:27 am)

    Well said, Statik! Excellent article, and I wish ALL the EV’s/EREV’s/Hybrids great success! Same to your fine website.

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    LazP

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (8:30 am)

    Well said Static. This is the first real milestone for electrification. The next is the Volt. Tesla and the others notwithstanding.


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    Pedro

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (8:38 am)

    One more day to be remembered. One more millestone.I cant stop thanking you guys to give us this excellent news everyday. Keep on! Hope i will do my part also, buying or leasing one. Thank you.


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    ziv

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (8:38 am)

    Cool! Bring on the electric cars be they EREV or BEV! They all use domestically produced electricity whether they are driven in the US, Canada, the UK or Japan, and that is a good thing!


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    nasaman

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (8:43 am)

    A very interesting video, especially the motor winding and battery installation. I recognize that it’s no doubt idealized/simplified somewhat for viewability, but what surprises me is that I don’t see people (as in the Volt’s D-Ham factory) on the assembly line. IOW, the implication is that almost everything is automated. Great way to keep the cost down by reducing the labor content, but I have to wonder if I don’t have the wrong impression from the video —and that the Leaf assembly line actually does use quite a few people.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (8:50 am)

    PS to my #5: I took another close look at the video and this time saw several people, at least after the Leaf chassis seems to be fairly well along the line; however, I’m still impressed because it seems overall the number of people involved is considerably less than for Volt assembly. Statik, WotOnTour or Matthew B (or anyone else), can you elaborate on this?


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    User Name

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (9:10 am)

    Its almost entirely built by robots, awesome.


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    koz

     

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (9:11 am)

    Statik,

    I presume you know I am a proponent of well thought out EVs of any type. I am ecStatik the Leaf is in production and hope it does well, as it appears it will. There is, however, a concern about the battery warranty the needs clarification. The warranty is for 8yrs/100K miles for up to 30% loss of POWER. Can you find out how/if they define “loss of power” in the warranty? Why not warranty loss energy storage capacity like the Volt?


  9. 9
    George S. Bower

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (9:22 am)

    Great Video Jay. Funny thing you noted about the inverter looking like an engine valve cover. The automation in this assembly is incredible. Thx–GSB


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    Red HHR

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (9:35 am)

    Congratulations Nissan, Nice Video, Thanks Statik.
    I usually do not download the videos, but this one was worth it!


  11. 11
    JEC

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (9:43 am)

    That video was amazing!

    The automated battery winding/assembly appears to be incredibly complex, but very elegant. The automation appears first rate, but as Nasaman points out, this was a staged video, and I am sure they left out some of the more mundane and people intensive tasks, but still very nice automation line.

    I did notice the AOI (automate optical inspection), during the installation of a gate driver board used to fire the IGBT’s (which I did not see). I think the IGBT’s (insulated gate bipolar transistors) or IPM’s (intergrated power module, which is just IGBT’s packaged together with some additional integrated features such as temperature sense outputs) are being connected directly to the gate driver board, which is very common, and eliminates issues with gating signal integrity. Likely a solder robot, is in line but not shown, to solder the leads of the IPM to the gate drivers. You can see 4 identical sections on that gate driver board, that would be for the 3 phases plus one for the braking regen.

    I looked at the video several times and paused, but just cannot see what is mounted on the underside of the casting of the inverter module, but the black plastic I can see is indicative of a power module, and I can see what appears to be the signal pins that the board seats onto. The actual power terminals must be on the end or underside, but just cannot get the right view.

    Anyway, that was cool!


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    JohnK

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (9:44 am)

    Congratulations not only to Statik, but especially to Nissan. Now let’s see these magnificent engines of industry crank up to significant volumes (because the sales demand is as good as the enthusiasm here and at Statik’s site).


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    Roy H

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (9:48 am)

    nasaman: A very interesting video, especially the motor winding and battery installation. I recognize that it’s no doubt idealized/simplified somewhat for viewability, but what surprises me is that I don’t see people (as in the Volt’s D-Ham factory) on the assembly line. IOW, the implication is that almost everything is automated. Great way to keep the cost down by reducing the labor content, but I have to wonder if I don’t have the wrong impression from the video —and that the Leaf assembly line actually does use quite a few people.    

    I counted about 2 dozen workers in the video. Very difficult to assess total number, but I expect it would be about the same as Volt production. All high volume cars are built on highly automated assembly lines, that is the only way to be cost competitive. There are lots of hand built cars, like Lotus but these do not compete in high volume markets. An exception is the Th!nk and I don’t think they will be able to compete. It is a very nice but simple (spartan) 2-seat and they expect to sell it for about $30k (don’t know if that includes rebate)?

    NPNS


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    JEC

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (9:52 am)

    JEC: That video was amazing!The automated battery winding/assembly appears to be incredibly complex, but very elegant.The automation appears first rate, but as Nasaman points out, this was a staged video, and I am sure they left out some of the more mundane and people intensive tasks, but still very nice automation line.I did notice the AOI (automate optical inspection), during the installation of a gate driver board used to fire the IGBT’s (which I did not see).I think the IGBT’s (insulated gate bipolar transistors) or IPM’s (intergrated power module, which is just IGBT’s packaged together with some additional integrated features such as temperature sense outputs) are being connected directly to the gate driver board, which is very common, and eliminates issues with gating signal integrity.Likely a solder robot, is in line but not shown, to solder the leads of the IPM to the gate drivers.You can see 4 identical sections on that gate driver board, that would be for the 3 phases plus one for the braking regen.I looked at the video several times and paused, but just cannot see what is mounted on the underside of the casting of the inverter module, but the black plastic I can see is indicative of a power module, and I can see what appears to be the signal pins that the board seats onto.The actual power terminals must be on the end or underside, but just cannot get the right view.Anyway, that was cool!    

    Who is the maker of the power electronics? Did Nissan design its on silicon, or is it contracted to some of the big IGBT/IPM experts, such as Fuji, EUPEC, and a few others out there. This is a very specialized technology and in-house designs can give you some advantages, usually in packaging, so you can optimize the silicon layouts to the layout of your subsystem, but this is an expensive and complex task. Also, I would wonder if they have delved into “direct bond” of the power silicon to the pcb (printed circuit board), which requires even more specialize equipment and expertise. This technique brings lots of advantages, which mainly would be size (they can pot the entire pcb/silicon and reduce trace spacing significantly, when dealing with high voltage signals, and also the cost can be cheaper for high volume.

    Fascinating Spock!


  15. 15
    JEC

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (9:57 am)

    Thanks again Statik, for your contribution to Lyle’s site.

    /Room in driveway, check…room in wallet…not yet!


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    Dave K.

     

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:03 am)

    LEAF 0-60 in 7 seconds, Top Speed of 94 mph

    Pretty good numbers. Wonder if raising the max speed to 94mph from 86mph is why the asterisk appeared on the battery warranty? The GEN 1 Leaf is a good first step toward the goal of the 200 mile range pure battery vehicle. Anyone still feel battery cars won’t catch on?

    =D-Volt


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:04 am)

    Statik writes:

    Let there be wars between the Mustang and Camaro, and the Corolla and the Civic for ultimate supremacy. For now, lets give anyone who has the fortitude to produce a electric car whatever support we can, and let the wars begin when petrol vehicles are in retreat.

    /in my driveway, there is room for both a LEAF and a Volt
    =============================================

    for the vast majority of the public, there will be no war: electric/hybrid is a niche segment but among enthusiasts you always have “wars” – it gives them something to talk about. it’s like the old emacs vs. vi flame wars that might have had some purchase among some computer geeks but had no significance to most people.

    that said, expect considerable competition among manufacturers because, as a nascent segment, everyone will want to establish leadership. of course, at present, toyota is the market leader in the hybrid/alternative energy segment, but it’s a small segment at present.


  18. 18
    statik

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:05 am)

    nasaman: PS to my #5: I took another close look at the video and this time saw several people, at least after the Leaf chassis seems to be fairly well along the line; however, I’m still impressed because it seems overall the number of people involved is considerably less than for Volt assembly. Statik, WotOnTour or Matthew B (or anyone else), can you elaborate on this?  (Quote)  (Reply)

    Your right that there is a disproportional ratio of workers to production between the two.

    At DHam, where they are going to built the Volt, the ratio is uncommonly bad compared to other GM plants because they are basically running the Lucerne and the DTS as a placeholder until the Volt gets going, and the Malibu overflow/Impala in a couple years.

    Next year plant output (with the Volt) will be about 40,000 units I imagine, about 20% of what it can realistically do. Dham’s biggest problem is utilization. Certainly, they will only run a singly 10-hour shift. Currently, it employs somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1,200 employees, with 1,000 of them being contract from the UAW (local 22). You also have to allow for the people working at Brownstown on the pack assembly, just over another 100.

    On the other hand, Nissan’s Oppama factory is a special case. It is an exception plant/assembly line…if you consider limited workforce exceptional. It is Nissan’s flagship if you will, Nissan has been running it since the 40s, and has produced about 16 million vehicles. This plant was the first to have welding robots. And is widely considered the most automated plant in existence…for any auto manufacturer. It wins best plant in the small car segment fairly often…the most competitive for cost and staffing of all fields.

    Random thing on Oppama from Nissan from 2008:
    http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/DOCUMENT/PDF/IREVENT/PRESEN/2008/080228_Oppama_PresentationE.pdf

    They now make 9 models out of Oppama, and have their own dock, which can handle output of around 75,000-80,000 units a month. Production will probably be around 450K this year. It also houses Nissan’s R&D, proving grounds and global training center.

    The Smyrma, TN plant looks to mimic this operation, and Nissan estimates that between the battery facility that will produce 200,000 packs, and the assembly plant that will put out 150,000 LEAF, the plants will employ “up to 1,300 more workers when at full capacity.” Crazy low.

    …so yes, big with the automation. Now can they get Smyrna to duplicate the results of Oppama? I dunno, that is asking a lot.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:11 am)

    where stuff is manufactured does make a difference; your television uses domestically produced electricity as well, but i suspect that you will find many people who are not indifferent about the end of television manufacturing in the united states.

    ziv: Cool! Bring on the electric cars be they EREV or BEV! They all use domestically produced electricity whether they are driven in the US, Canada, the UK or Japan, and that is a good thing!    


  20. 20
    Mike D

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:12 am)

    I hope the leaf hypermilers do just as well as the Volt hypermilers. If the Volters can get 60 miles AER if they’re careful, then hopefully the leaf drivers can squeak out 150. Go electric!


  21. 21
    Mark Z

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:13 am)

    What a nice way to start the day! The video is highly informative for the general public, who will be impressed with Nissan’s ability to use an existing production line. To have ICE and EV cars on the same line is a major cost savings and provides flexibility as well. Battery instead of gas tank. Easy to understand and a very effective use of space to keep the interior cabin spacious. Electric motor instead of ICE. This may explain why the EV motor looks similar to an ICE, to use existing production line equipment to hold the propulsion unit properly during manufacture.

    Congratulations Nissan on a job well done! The engineering is elegant and I will view each Leaf from the Volt with a thumbs up attitude for our mutual desire for cleaner air and less dependence on oil.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:13 am)

    the reference is to a loss of charge capacity. according to nissan specifications (at least those made public at this time), there is a 30% loss of capacity over 10 years when using level 3 charging. however, when using level 2 charging (which is pretty much the maximum in the united states right now), the specified loss of charge capacity is 20% over 10 years.

    koz: Statik,I presume you know I am a proponent of well thought out EVs of any type. I am ecStatik the Leaf is in production and hope it does well, as it appears it will. There is, however, a concern about the battery warranty the needs clarification. The warranty is for 8yrs/100K miles for up to 30% loss of POWER. Can you find out how/if they define “loss of power” in the warranty? Why not warranty loss energy storage capacity like the Volt?    


  23. 23
    Tagamet

     

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:15 am)

    JEC:
    Who is the maker of the power electronics?Did Nissan design its on silicon, or is it contracted to some of the big IGBT/IPM experts, such as Fuji, EUPEC, and a few others out there.This is a very specialized technology and in-house designs can give you some advantages, usually in packaging, so you can optimize the silicon layouts to the layout of your subsystem, but this is an expensive and complex task.Also, I would wonder if they have delved into “direct bond” of the power silicon to the pcb (printed circuit board), which requires even more specialize equipment and expertise.This technique brings lots of advantages, which mainly would be size (they can pot the entire pcb/silicon and reduce trace spacing significantly, when dealing with high voltage signals, and also the cost can be cheaper for high volume.Fascinating Spock!    

    Just wanted to thank you for (literally) spelling out these abbreviations! Without that I’d be able to make *no* sense of it, but with it, I can ponder out a lot of meaning.

    Be well,
    Tagamet
    /did you find the spelling error in your post? (g)


  24. 24
    Ted in Fort Myers

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:22 am)

    Nice of you Statik to give Lyle a day off. Nice piece. The two of you have become real professionals giving us all the data we can intake. I too will have a BEV and a Volt in my driveway. It only makes sense to keep one car just for commutes and the the other needing the capability to go more than 100 Miles in a day for trips.

    Keep up the good work on both websites Jay and we’ll see you on the other one.

    Take Care,
    TED


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    Tagamet

     

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:23 am)

    Mark Z: What a nice way to start the day! The video is highly informative for the general public, who will be impressed with Nissan’s ability to use an existing production line. To have ICE and EV cars on the same line is a major cost savings and provides flexibility as well. Battery instead of gas tank. Easy to understand and a very effective use of space to keep the interior cabin spacious. Electric motor instead of ICE. This may explain why the EV motor looks similar to an ICE, to use existing production line equipment to hold the propulsion unit properly during manufacture.

    Pretty similar to the line on which the Volt is produced (between two “gassers”).

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:24 am)

    i have a number of questions about the “hidden” facts surrounding the leaf. for example, what is the range when driving at highway speeds? the fact that the traction motor in the volt doesn’t operate efficiently at highway speeds is the reason why an assist motor kicks in (there is also an assist for the prius plug-in hybrid). look for some “surprises” as the leaf is made available for greater scrutiny.

    as to whether BEVs will catch on; i for one do not believe that they will in the near future. for BEVs to be viable, you pretty much need level 3 charging, but i don’t think that the current power grid can supply power at that level. the problem with BEVs is that once you run out of juice, you are down for hours while the car recharges. by contrast, with a vehicle propelled by an ICE, when you run out of gas, it takes 5-10 minutes to refuel.

    on the other hand, the potential for BEVs is quite great: in theory it will be possible in the future to provide BEVs with ranges of 500 miles to 1,000 miles on a single charge. but that is the future and not the near future.

    Dave K.: LEAF 0-60 in 7 seconds, Top Speed of 94 mphPretty good numbers. Wonder if raising the max speed to 94mph from 86mph is why the asterisk appeared on the battery warranty? The GEN 1 Leaf is a good first step toward the goal of the 200 mile range pure battery vehicle. Anyone still feel battery cars won’t catch on?=D-Volt    


  27. 27
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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:34 am)

    koz: Statik,I presume you know I am a proponent of well thought out EVs of any type. I am ecStatik the Leaf is in production and hope it does well, as it appears it will. There is, however, a concern about the battery warranty the needs clarification. The warranty is for 8yrs/100K miles for up to 30% loss of POWER. Can you find out how/if they define “loss of power” in the warranty? Why not warranty loss energy storage capacity like the Volt?  (Quote)  (Reply)

    This is a interesting thing that has just recently come up. This notion about the warranty being on the power vs capacity came out of a rather obscure ABG article this weekend, nestled in the bottom. I am not sure on the accuracy of what it is saying. Sometimes things get twisted.

    I am working on talking to the Nissan exec who they used the quote from for clarification…but it is the weekend. Hopefully, I will get an answer back. Soon as I do, I will put something up on my site…and will link back here as well.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:38 am)

    statik: I am working on talking to the Nissan exec who they used the quote from for clarification…but it is the weekend. Hopefully, I will get an answer back. Soon as I do, I will put something up on my site…and will link back here as well.

    Cool, but isn’t it *tomorrow* there? (lol)

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:45 am)

    i doubt that nissan is doing any of the custom silicon stuff about which you are writing. the economics of car manufacture put a premium on cost effectiveness. while cars make extensive use of electronics today, they still are not supercomputers so “state of the art” electronics is generally not needed. this is an evolving technology so it make little sense to sink huge sums of money into custom device development. i would expect that they are making fairly extensive use of programmable logic devices because i would think that the flexibility of such devices is more important than high performance.

    JEC:
    Who is the maker of the power electronics?Did Nissan design its on silicon, or is it contracted to some of the big IGBT/IPM experts, such as Fuji, EUPEC, and a few others out there.This is a very specialized technology and in-house designs can give you some advantages, usually in packaging, so you can optimize the silicon layouts to the layout of your subsystem, but this is an expensive and complex task.Also, I would wonder if they have delved into “direct bond” of the power silicon to the pcb (printed circuit board), which requires even more specialize equipment and expertise.This technique brings lots of advantages, which mainly would be size (they can pot the entire pcb/silicon and reduce trace spacing significantly, when dealing with high voltage signals, and also the cost can be cheaper for high volume.    


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:57 am)

    automated inspection is not a new technology and is used in just about any automated stage that involves “pick and place” operations. it’s used for automated circuit board manufacturing, for instance.

    i agree that the video is pretty cool, but i happen to find manufacturing processes to be cool. i was impressed with the level of automation and the apparent integration of manufacturing stages.

    as to the number of workers involved; it looked to me as though there was not one single manufacturing line. the engine manufacturing line appears to be separate from the body manufacturing line and i saw a person who appeared to be carting a completed motor from one line to another line. in fact, where you see the workers staging a motor assembly for placement in the engine compartment: i wonder if the final assembly of components in the motor assembly was done manually. it seemed clear that the assembly had been carted from one assembly operation to the line shown in the film.

    JEC: I did notice the AOI (automate optical inspection), during the installation of a gate driver board     


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (11:21 am)

    I forgot to add this to the story, but we have another ‘take’ on the actual LEAF launch itself on site, as someone mentioned it is a little more ‘irreverent.’ But to be fair it was written at a ridiculous hour in the middle of the night, or early morning if you will…after all the ‘job 1’ ceremony and shenanigans were over. Early afternoon action in Japan = sleepy eyes for Statik on this side of the pond.

    We also have a video of the ‘journey to production’ for the LEAF. If you liked the production video above and/or want to know the back story, you will probably enjoy it. Mules, pre-production, driving through water, debut, etc.

    http://nissan-leaf.net/2010/10/22/nissan-ceo-carlos-ghosn-introduces-first-production-leaf-to-the-world/


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    kent beuchert

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (11:24 am)

    (click to show comment)


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    Moto1

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (11:26 am)

    Thank you for the great article. The electrification of the automobile and the build out of the infrastructure will take time and we are witnessing the 1st initial steps. Those of us who have reliable and quick vehicles should not forget that it took 70-85 years to build the infrastructure and supply chains to make our modern auto infrastructure possible.

    The largest global automobile manufacturers will let market conditions drive how fast EVs take hold. The auto industry has huge lobbying power and governments will put in place different incentives/disincentives on fuel sources (gas/diesel, electric, biomass, etc) as the auto manufacturers and consumers change their auto purchasing options.

    As petroleum becomes more expensive and it’s costs ripple through the economy, localities that can produce and sell commodities locally (vs shipped) will gain in popularity. One could see a world where a large percentage of the white collar workers telecommute on a daily basis and need a primary vehicle for local 10-15 mile errand trips. The secondary car (if needed) will be the traditional petroleum powered car.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (11:29 am)

    It derives from this quote and this article http://green.autoblog.com/2010/10/22/2011-nissan-leaf-review-drive-second:
    “The warranty is not related to battery capacity. The warranty is related to motor output. So if the battery has degraded to a point where the motor can’t get enough power from the battery, then it’s a warrantable event. But if someone abuses the battery – parks it outside in 140 degrees and all that – and they have 60 percent capacity after eight years, that’s on them. They abused it.”

    It appears to be made by Nissan’s director of product planning, Mark Perry, but the article does not clearly make the associaton. Is Nissan not releasing the details of their warranty in writing?


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    jscott1

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (11:40 am)

    Its commendable that NISSAN is building a BEV and it gives more people options to drive gas free, and that’s great.

    But for me personally, as I stated yesterday, it’s unlikely that in my lifetime BEVs will be practical enough for my lifestyle.

    In order for me to buy a BEV I need the following to happen:

    1) range of 300 miles
    2) Level III quick charging deployed everywhere we currently have gas stations
    3) price comparable to ICE vehicle of similar size

    The current BEV fail on all three.. $30K for a car that can never travel more than 50 miles from my house is unacceptable.


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    RB

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (11:41 am)

    Statik’s post llama approved .
    dsc0106bu.jpg


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (11:53 am)

    no comment: i doubt that nissan is doing any of the custom silicon stuff about which you are writing.the economics of car manufacture put a premium on cost effectiveness.while cars make extensive use of electronics today, they still are not supercomputers so “state of the art” electronics is generally not needed.this is an evolving technology so it make little sense to sink huge sums of money into custom device development.i would expect that they are making fairly extensive use of programmable logic devices because i would think that the flexibility of such devices is more important than high performance.
        

    The heart of the inverter section is the power modules. These are expensive and packaging, along with recurring costs would be the main reason for Nissan to get involved in custom power silicon. By having your own custom power silicon, you would benefit from several advantages that you just cannot get with buying the entire power modules.

    Regarding PLD’s (programmable logic devices), these are used in almost any electronic device with a complexity. But the gate driver board is made up of more basic building blocks, and they are not just logic devices, these are special analog devices that need to deal with high voltage isolation and output driver characteristics. When I look at that board in the video I see the 4 gate sections and the other parts are probably a local SMPS (switch mode power supply) and interface logic to the main controller, which I would guess has a CAN network interface (serial interface that is used in nearly every car).

    Also I did notice that the pcb appears to be non-conformally coated, which is becoming more and more prevalent in the industry, especially when in harsh environments. You can typically see the conformal coat as a high gloss surface, and does have a thickness dimension that is visually apparent. I would have thought that any pcb operating in such a harsh environment as this would be conformally coated.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (11:55 am)

    no comment: automated inspection is not a new technology and is used in just about any automated stage that involves “pick and place” operations.it’s used for automated circuit board manufacturing, for instance.i agree that the video is pretty cool, but i happen to find manufacturing processes to be cool.i was impressed with the level of automation and the apparent integration of manufacturing stages.as to the number of workers involved; it looked to me as though there was not one single manufacturing line.the engine manufacturing line appears to be separate from the body manufacturing line and i saw a person who appeared to be carting a completed motor from one line to another line.in fact, where you see the workers staging a motor assembly for placement in the engine compartment: i wonder if the final assembly of components in the motor assembly was done manually.it seemed clear that the assembly had been carted from one assembly operation to the line shown in the film.
        

    Yep. AOI is an “old” technology. I just noticed it, and mentioned it.
    AOI is interesting and the level of inspection is so dependent on the programmer, and finding defects is somewhat of an art. We use it for nearly all board assy’s at my company.


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    Tagamet

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (11:58 am)

    kent beuchert:… Mass shifts in modes of transportation only occur when technology makes it practical and desireable (SIC)….

    I’d really appreciate it if you could please point out one “mass shift in technology that was not preceded by bridging technology. No need to bloviate with a dozen of them. Just one would be fine.
    Thanks,

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    The EV Expert

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (11:59 am)

    (click to show comment)


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (11:59 am)

    LazP,

    I believe the Volt #1 was made several weeks ago. Right!


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (12:03 pm)

    koz: Is Nissan not releasing the details of their warranty in writing?

    I haven’t seen anything in writing for the warranty on either the Volt or the Leaf battery pack. Have you seen anything in writing?

    I’m thinking that Nissan believes that a warranty on “power” is more beneficial from a consumer standpoint than a warranty for “capacity”. At the “ride and drives” the Nissan presenter has been saying the capacity should drop by approximately 1% a year but that seems inconsistent with warranting the capacity of the battery for 70% at the end of 8 years. However, power is something of an instantaneous measure, and without specifying the duration of the power draw warranting power draw doesn’t have much meaning.

    For both the Volt and the Leaf the warranty seems a work in process.

    The good thing is that he history of batteries in auto applications is that the battery outperforms expectations. My guess is that this will happen here. But of course the RX for all the battery concerns is a lease. Both Nissan and GM are offering favorable lease terms. Maybe it’s not the time to look a gift horse in the mouth?


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    caldoodlevolt

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (12:05 pm)

    The constant bickering about this electric car versus that one reminds me of one of the best political cartoons I can remember from World War II. In the months just before Pearl Harbor there
    was lots of debate in public opinion as to exactly what role, if any, the U.S. should play in the war. A cartoon appeared where a person declared that regarding the war he was going to be absolutely neutral. He didn’t care in the slightest who defeated Hitler!

    That’s my opinion on the Volt, Leaf, Tesla, etc. I’m neutral. I think they are all great and would recommend any of them to a would-be customer. I have my choice, the Volt of course, but I wish all the quibblers would join the electric auto cheering squad and all jointly work to give that Sheik of Araby the good kick in the pants he deserves.

    BIG BTRY (one of those Californicators, naturally)


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    RDOCA

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (12:07 pm)

    Dave K.: LEAF 0-60 in 7 seconds, Top Speed of 94 mphPretty good numbers. Wonder if raising the max speed to 94mph from 86mph is why the asterisk appeared on the battery warranty? The GEN 1 Leaf is a good first step toward the goal of the 200 mile range pure battery vehicle. Anyone still feel battery cars won’t catch on?=D-Volt  (Quote)  (Reply)

    Where did the 0-60 in 7 sec come from? I think it will be closer to 11 sec.


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    Bobs

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (12:10 pm)

    Quite a contrast to the Ford delay article from yesterday.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (12:11 pm)

    I have not followed the Leaf story all that closely. Will the Nissan dealerships get Demo vehicles? I guess the first year is pre sold so will it be 2012 before they might appear in the showroom or will they continue with an online ordering systems.

    Jerry


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    True Electric

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (12:11 pm)

    (click to show comment)


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (12:18 pm)

    Casadore: LazP,
    I believe the Volt #1 was made several weeks ago. Right!    

    You would be wrong. The Volt production won’t begin until NEXT MONTH (aka November) !


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    Eco_Turbo

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (12:21 pm)

    Hi #47 True Electric,

    I find you guilty of contempt of facts, and sentence you to 360 nights of watching the nightly news, starting Jan. 1st, 2011.


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    DonC

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (12:25 pm)

    Tagamet: I’d really appreciate it if you could please point out one “mass shift in technology that was not preceded by bridging technology.

    How new technology displaces old is fairly well understood at this point. The new technology can’t compete with the old on existing parameters but does beat it on one or two new parameters. Plus the new technology also usually costs more. But the new technology works for a niche market and, as the cost goes down and the performance improves, it begins to replace the old. For example, mobile phones were very expensive and the call quality was poor but they were mobile. Digital cameras were very expensive and the image quality was poor but they offered great post processing and instant feedback.

    Keep in mind there are millions of EVs in operation. They’re just in warehouses and on golf courses. The Volt and the Leaf are simply moving the technology onto highways.

    That said, I’m not sure batteries will ever be practical for long distance cruising. Then again if you want to go from LA to NY you usually take a plane not a car. Not all technologies work for all applications.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (12:25 pm)

    To be true , after seeing the numbers put by the product,

    Aerodrag of .28 ( Same as Volt )
    LEAF 0-60 in 7 seconds, Top Speed of 94 mph (Better than Volt )
    5 Passenger ( Better than Volt )
    Range 100 mile ( Better than Volt )
    Better space management ( look at the Battery design, interior space )

    Only minus side may be no range extender but they should use HSD ( already licensed from Toyota ) and calibrate for this scenario ( like Volt do ) with no cost of development only calibration and testing needed.

    Its impressive than some other similar products which carries range extender.

    And Nissan seems winning hands down on design / looks also ( when i first say the photo , i thought its ugly, then it looked better and now its looks very good ,specially after hearing the support factors also ). The same feeling i had when i saw first lancer – looked ugly and now it looks really beautiful and every one else is following it ( ex: new aveo).

    GM engineers are still to learn making real optimized aero shape and style it so that people will like it ( future development ) than making car which look like normal car ( reverse porting ) and try to optimize it.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (12:27 pm)

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250714595507&viewitem=#ht_631wt_950

    Off topic.

    Ebay update. The guy selling his no. 1 place in line at a Washington dealership for a Volt only has the bid up to $4.05 with a little over one day left. It seems people up there are not really into buying a place in line.

    -Book


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    statik

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (12:27 pm)

    VoltGuy: I have not followed the Leaf story all that closely. Will the Nissan dealerships get Demo vehicles? I guess the first year is pre sold so will it be 2012 before they might appear in the showroom or will they continue with an online ordering systems. Jerry  (Quote)  (Reply)

    I actually talked to Nissan’s Director of product planning about this, and EVERY approved LEAF dealer in the rollout regions will be getting a demo car the first week of December. The first year is not sold out, but it is a regional rollout out until the fall of 2011 when it goes nationwide.

    http://nissan-leaf.net/2010/09/10/demo-leafs-coming-this-december/


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (12:28 pm)

    This LEAF car looks amazing. Really like the lack of union thugs touching the build, makes for much higher quality in my opinion.

    I have been to two American union plants, both GM, one in Oklahoma and the other in Michigan and the build quality was awful and from what I witnessed the Unionized workforce had very bad work ethic. This is a first-hand eyewitness account and the reason I will never own a GM product. Good luck with the Volt, but I will be purchasing the Nissan electric instead.

    A nice bonus appears to be the LEAF is lighter, faster, emission free and cheaper than the Volt. That’s a huge win for me !

    Note: Even if none of these bonus items were true I would still buy the Nissan LEAF because of the x-factor, namely QUALITY which is something still lacking in many GM products.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (12:30 pm)

    statik: I actually talked to Nissan’s Director of product planning about this, and EVERY approved LEAF dealer in the rollout regions will be getting a demo car the first week of December. The first year is not sold out, but it is a regional rollout out until the fall of 2011 when it goes nationwide. http://nissan-leaf.net/2010/09/10/demo-leafs-coming-this-december/  (Quote)  (Reply)

    …not really sure why my avatar took a holiday on that one


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (12:32 pm)

    Eco_Turbo: Hi #47 True Electric,I find you guilty of contempt of facts, and sentence you to 40 nights of watching the nightly news, starting Jan. 1st, 2011.    

    OUCH! Boy, you’re tough! (more like “cruel and unusual punishment”)

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (12:33 pm)

    the paragraph preceding the one that you cited reads to me like motor output and battery capacity are related. it says that if you do level 3 charging, the degradation would be more rapid. if you do level 3 charging, the battery capacity will also decline more rapidly.

    the article, which seems a bit loosely written to me, is by a autoblog contributor. however, what struck me about it is that it appears that nissan has started with the disclaimers about the leaf: stuff about not leaving the leaf outdoors in hot weather, not leaving it plugged in too long, and so forth. this reinforces my suspicion that you’re going to see nissan issuing a lot more disclaimers as the car gets closer to market introduction where it will be held to more scrutiny than it was in this autoblog article.

    i found the autoblog writer’s arguments, where he writes about how range anxiety is a myth with the leaf because it gives you so much information, to be less than persuasive to say the least. the mere fact that the leaf will give you directions to the nearest charging station if you get caught out with low charge is hardly a comforting thought given that you’re going to have to hang around for a few hours before you have enough charge to drive very far.

    i’m not into the idea of “war” between the volt and the leaf: i consider myself to be someone who considers the merits of both without being an enthusiast for either. from that standpoint, i’m not particularly impressed with the design of the leaf: either the exterior or the dashboard layout. by contrast, the volt strikes me as a pretty well designed car, both from the perspective of the exterior and the dashboard layout (although i don’t care for the shiny center stack thing).

    koz: It derives from this quote and this article http://green.autoblog.com/2010/10/22/2011-nissan-leaf-review-drive-second:
    “The warranty is not related to battery capacity. The warranty is related to motor output. So if the battery has degraded to a point where the motor can’t get enough power from the battery, then it’s a warrantable event. But if someone abuses the battery – parks it outside in 140 degrees and all that – and they have 60 percent capacity after eight years, that’s on them. They abused it.”It appears to be made by Nissan’s director of product planning, Mark Perry, but the article does not clearly make the associaton. Is Nissan not releasing the details of their warranty in writing?    


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (12:35 pm)

    Jimbo: …I have been to two American union plants, both GM, one in Oklahoma and the other in Michigan and the build quality was awful and from what I witnessed the Unionized workforce had very bad work ethic. This is a first-hand eyewitness account and the reason I will never own a GM product. Good luck with the Volt, but I will be purchasing the Nissan electric instead…

    Just out of curiosity, were you visits before or after the bankruptcy? I’m not trying to be a wise guy – I guess I’d just hope that a bankruptcy might have an effect on attitude.

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    QE Master

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (12:44 pm)

    RDOCA:
    Where did the 0-60 in 7 sec come from? I think it will be closer to 11 sec.    

    You can be sure the LEAF is faster than the Volt. The Volt is just too darn heavy and its battery form-factor (T-shaped) causes much cramped interior (aka poor space utilization). The LEAF is highly optimized as one need look no further than batter placement, which is much much better than the Volts.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (12:48 pm)

    the volt has much better thermal control systems than does the leaf, so i would think that it would be more likely that the leaf battery will deteriorate faster than the volt battery. i believe that the leaf merely uses an air cooled battery while the volt has a fairly sophisticated network of liquid filled cooling fins dispersed in the battery pack.

    my intuition is that the “engine power” warranty is more beneficial to nissan. “engine power” and battery capacity seem to be related, but my intuition is that if you hit 70% “engine power” you will have lost a lot more than 70% battery capacity. so by the time you hit 70% “engine power” your “up to” range is going to be a lot less than 100 miles.

    like i say, beware of the coming disclaimers for the leaf, because i just have a hunch that we have much more to learn about the limitations in the leaf design. the fact that they aren’t even going to try to produce a vehicle that meets the california PZEV standard leads me to think that there are reasons, related to limitations of the leaf, that explain why they aren’t going to try. that said, i’m not sure have gm is going to produce a PZEV volt, because california establishes the standard with the ICE running. in part, because of CO levels produced by the ICE, the current volt meets the ULEV standard.

    DonC:
    I haven’t seen anything in writing for the warranty on either the Volt or the Leaf battery pack. Have you seen anything in writing?
    I’m thinking that Nissan believes that a warranty on “power” is more beneficial from a consumer standpoint than a warranty for “capacity”. At the “ride and drives” the Nissan presenter has been saying the capacity should drop by approximately 1% a year but that seems inconsistent with warranting the capacity of the battery for 70% at the end of 8 years. However, power is something of an instantaneous measure, and without specifying the duration of the power draw warranting power draw doesn’t have much meaning.For both the Volt and the Leaf the warranty seems a work in process.
    The good thing is that he history of batteries in auto applications is that the battery outperforms expectations. My guess is that this will happen here. But of course the RX for all the battery concerns is a lease. Both Nissan and GM are offering favorable lease terms. Maybe it’s not the time to look a gift horse in the mouth?    


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (1:06 pm)

    kent beuchert: “Healthier environment ” is pure PR. I’m cerainly all in favor of electric vehicles, but not impractical ones like the Leaf, whose main function seems to be to ease the faulty consciences
    of those too ready to believe that one can improve in any significant fashion on the low emission levels of modern fuel injected vehicles. Many hardly register any pollutants on sensitve emission testing machines, while electric cars are powered mostly by burning coal. Those smokestacks
    can’t even remotely approach the emission standards of ICE vehicles these days.Avoiding oil is certainly a worthwhile pursuit, but that has nothing to do with emissions.

    Here in Northern California, our utility company (Pacific Gas and Electric) generates about 50% of the electricity carbon-free: 20.5% Nuclear, 13% Hydroelectric, and 14.4% renewable like wind and solar and biomass. Of the remaining, 34.6% is natural gas, and only 1.3% is coal, and rest unspecified.

    http://www.pge.com/myhome/environment/pge/cleanenergy/

    However, EV drivers don’t need to be in the super “green” Northern California to have significant CO2 emission reduction. Even in state like Colorado with a whopping 95% of electricity is generated by Natural Gas and Coal, driving a Plug-in EV can still lead to a significant reduction in NOX and CO2 emission. You can see it on figure 19 the report “Costs and Emissions Associated with Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Charging in the Xcel Energy Colorado Service Territory”, National Renewal Energy Lab, TP-640-41410, May, 2007.

    http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy07osti/41410.pdf

    The data is clear and overwhelming, adoption of electric vehicle will lead to emission reduction, and just as important, reduction in our oil dependence.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (1:12 pm)

    QE Master: You can be sure the LEAF is faster than the Volt. The Volt is just too darn heavy and its battery form-factor (T-shaped) causes much cramped interior (aka poor space utilization). The LEAF is highly optimized as one need look no further than batter placement, which is much much better than the Volts.  (Quote)  (Reply)

    Yes. You can drive a Leaf very fast before the battery runs out. That would be fun.
    You can drive the Volt just as fast and then keep going, and going, and going.
    Both are great cars and both have their place.
    I prefer the “Electric Car with Extended Range”.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (1:14 pm)

    by “western washington” i take that to mean washington state. the thing is, the volt isn’t even available in washington state so i’ve got to suspect that this guy isn’t selling anything real. yet, people are actually bidding on this.

    bookdabook: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250714595507&viewitem=#ht_631wt_950Off topic.
    Ebay update. The guy selling his no. 1 place in line at a Washington dealership for a Volt only has the bid up to $4.05 with a little over one day left. It seems people up there are not really into buying a place in line.-Book    


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (1:16 pm)

    i thought that the top speed of the volt was a little over 100 mph.

    CorvetteGuy:
    Yes. You can drive a Leaf very fast before the battery runs out. That would be fun.
    You can drive the Volt just as fast and then keep going, and going, and going.    


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (1:18 pm)

    It’s a shame they could not bring a Leaf to the Volt Dealer training. It would have been a better comparison to drive 2 quiet electric cars instead of 1 quiet electric car and the buzzy engine Toyota.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (1:20 pm)

    Jimbo: I have been to two American union plants, both GM…    

    I was able to tour the Oklahoma plant before they switched to SUVs and the build quality and morale seemed fine to me. Later, a tornado damaged the plant and union hall, the plant and hall were repaired. Eventually the plant closed and is now being used by the Air Force. A huge savings to tax payers to use existing buildings instead of constructing new ones.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (1:23 pm)

    no comment: my intuition is that the “engine power” warranty is more beneficial to nissan. “engine power” and battery capacity seem to be related, but my intuition is that if you hit 70% “engine power” you will have lost a lot more than 70% battery capacity. so by the time you hit 70% “engine power” your “up to” range is going to be a lot less than 100 miles.

    Yes capacity is related to power through the C rate. More capacity means for the same C rate you have more power. I don’t see anything in what was written about a 70% power rate. Mark Perry seemed to be talking about a 100% power rate.

    Again, for both the Volt and the Leaf, until we see something in writing or get a much fuller and more detailed explanation this is just a lot of useless speculation. Personally I find it strange that both GM and Nissan have announced battery warranties but neither has announced any details. In this regard GM has been a bit better — at least we know that the warranty covers all the pack along with the electronics and not just the cells.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (1:28 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: It’s a shame they could not bring a Leaf to the Volt Dealer training. It would have been a better comparison to drive 2 quiet electric cars instead of 1 quiet electric car and the buzzy engine Toyota.

    While both the Leaf and the Volt are EVs, the most direct competitor for the Volt will be the Prius. Both are hybrids having extended range. I think statik has it right when he says that a Leaf and a Volt would work well together. One would be for more local trips and one for when you needed to go further. Plus they really do drive and handle differently.

    I think the fact that the Volt has taken direct aim at the Prius why you see all the Prius “advocates” here and not over in the Leaf forums.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (1:40 pm)

    QE Master: The Volt is just too darn heavy and its battery form-factor (T-shaped) causes much cramped interior (aka poor space utilization). The LEAF is highly optimized as one need look no further than batter placement, which is much much better than the Volts. 

    This is complete and utter BS. If you get T-boned which of these cars would you rather be in? If you said the Leaf that would be a wrong answer. The T used in the Volt gives the car great structural integrity and offers superior protection to passengers — the housing for the Volt battery is like a giant blast shield and its constructed so that if there is a problem with the battery the energy will be diverted downward and away from the passenger compartment. Personally I’m happy to give up a seat for a dwarf in return for greater safety though I understand some might come out differently.

    In regard to my reference to the dwarf, if you think the Leaf sits five you haven’t been in one. The back seat has reasonable room if the front passengers don’t lean their seats back, but there is not room for three adults in the back seat. There is great headroom and a spacious feel to the cabin, but that comes at the cost of a higher frontal area.

    The Volt is heavier but it has an engine. And why does this matter that much? The additional mass has little effect on the AER so what you’re talking about is acceleration, and for its purpose the Volt without question has adequate acceleration. Neither of these cars is performance oriented.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (1:47 pm)

    what is “C rate”?

    it is interesting that there seems to be a bit of vagueness about exactly what is covered under the battery warranty. even with tesla, i’m not sure what a “warranty event” is.

    DonC:
    Yes capacity is related to power through the C rate. More capacity means for the same C rate you have more power. I don’t see anything in what was written about a 70% power rate. Mark Perry seemed to be talking about a 100% power rate.
    Again, for both the Volt and the Leaf, until we see something in writing or get a much fuller and more detailed explanation this is just a lot of useless speculation. Personally I find it strange that both GM and Nissan have announced battery warranties but neither has announced any details. In this regard GM has been a bit better — at least we know that the warranty covers all the pack along with the electronics and not just the cells.    


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (1:52 pm)

    i think that volt positioned itself against the prius because the volt ended up being a hybrid vehicle. originally, gm was promoting the idea that the ICE never turned the wheels; at that time, the positioning was more directed at the leaf.

    the other reason why targeting the prius is actually a better idea is because the prius is a more significant entry in the hybrid/alternative segment right now than is the leaf, which like the volt, is trying to establish itself in a segment which has, up to now, pretty much been defined by the prius. what gm is trying to do is to both enter, and expand, the segment.

    DonC:
    While both the Leaf and the Volt are EVs, the most direct competitor for the Volt will be the Prius. Both are hybrids having extended range. I think statik has it right when he says that a Leaf and a Volt would work well together. One would be for more local trips and one for when you needed to go further. Plus they really do drive and handle differently.
    I think the fact that the Volt has taken direct aim at the Prius why you see all the Prius “advocates” here and not over in the Leaf forums.    


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (1:52 pm)

    I really don’t want to steal statik’s topic here, particularly since I think it has done a super job of toning down some potentially unnecessary antagonism towards the Leaf, but sometimes exceptions need to be made. This is absolutely the best thing I’ve ever seen written about the Volt. Maybe cause it’s written by a Pulitzer winning writer? Anyway Dan Neil has written a fabulous Volt review. Here is a taste:

    And it works like a champ. Actually, it’s extraordinarily efficient. Consider that the operable range of charge in the battery is 65%, or 10.4 kWh. At 40 miles all-electric, that’s 260 watt-hours per mile, or about the power necessary to run a hand-held hair-dryer for 15 minutes. We’re talking about an object that, with passengers, weighs two tons.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304510704575562363168727230.html

    Read it and believe!


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (2:01 pm)

    statik:
    …not really sure why my avatar took a holiday on that one    

    Someone conjectured the other day that the gravatar app might be case sensitive. I’m not sure if this is true, but you might check two postings and see if your email is typed identically. Just a thought.
    -Michael


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (2:08 pm)

    jscott1: In order for me to buy a BEV I need the following to happen:
    1) range of 300 miles
    2) Level III quick charging deployed everywhere we currently have gas stations
    3) price comparable to ICE vehicle of similar size
    The current BEV fail on all three…

    Well said, +1.

    Maybe I’m crazy, but when I hear things like this, I say to myself, OK, what if we had that right now? What would that be like?

    The first problem is charging time. According to Wikipedia, Level 3 charging has a max of 240 kW:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_1,_2,_and_3_charging#Level_1.2C_2.2C_and_3_charging

    Now let’s say we have an SUV with 300 miles of all-electric range. A car that size would require about 120 kWh of usable battery. At 240 kW max charging power, that would take 30 minutes to charge.

    So the next logical step would be to increase the max charging power, which brings us to the second problem: Safety. 240 kW is already a sh1t-load of power. That’s a quarter mega-watt. If that shorts, it’s not a spark – it’s a small explosion. Things get vaporized with that much power. Things like fingers and hands. That’s probably why level 3 charging hasn’t been approved by SAE. So I think increasing the power beyond level 3 is highly unlikely.

    Now is when people with some knowlege in this area talk about potential methods to make this more safe. The main method proposed is to make the connection with the power off, check the circuit for shorts, and then ramp up the power. All charge ports currently do this. Here’s the problem: If there’s water, snow, or ice near the contacts, but there’s no short, the initial check will show that everthing is OK. Then when power heats up the connector, the water, snow, or ice will melt or move to cause a short at full power. Ka-boom.

    Given that cars are frequently covered with rain, snow, or ice when they pull into a fueling station, I believe shorts will occur. Shorts with a level 3 charger could cause serious injuries.

    So then people say that the future will invent some new technology that will solve all these problems. Don’t bet on it. The safety issues with very high power charging involve basic math and physics. They are most likely inherent.

    Let me be clear here: Level 1 and 2 charging are fairly safe. It’s level 3 that’s the problem. With Level 1/2, a short will produce a big spark, which may cause a minor blister or burn. With Level 3, potential injuries are serious.

    So then people start pointing out the safety issues involved in dispensing gasoline, and comparing that to very high power charging. But that’s apples and oranges. If a little bit of snow or water drips as you’re insrting the gas nozzle, nothing happens. Dispensing liquid fuel is much safer than very high power charging.

    A good engineer will start by analyzing the requirements, expectations, and issues, and let those factors determine the best solution.

    With electric cars, I believe too many people have started with a dream of what the end solution will look like, and then anything that doesn’t fit that dream, they discount or ignore. I don’t believe that kind of process will lead to energy independence. We need to be realistic.


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    CorvetteGuy

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (2:12 pm)

    DonC: I think the fact that the Volt has taken direct aim at the Prius why you see all the Prius “advocates” here and not over in the Leaf forums.

    Given the intensity of attacks to this site by “advocates” of the Prius, it appears to me that GM has succeeded with the Volt. These ‘advocates’ have never sounded threatened by electrics or hybrids from Ford, or Coda, or Nissan, or anyone else, so it seems that the Volt is right on target when it comes to “Who” would be interested in it. If these ‘advocates’ felt that the Volt could not possibly take away future Prius buyers, they wouldn’t bother with attacks.

    The belief that only the Japanese can build a high-quality, high-mileage vehicle is about to change in a big way. And it’s about time. This country needs to be the leader again.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (2:19 pm)

    Dave G: Maybe I’m crazy, but when people say things like this, I say to myself, OK, what if we had that right now? What would that be like?

    Its nonsense when people make requests like that.. since we have done cars like that for a long time there cant possibly be a different way of doing things.

    Very good possibility that future cars will carry small battery packs, and be recharged on the go with wireless power transfer transmitters buried under the pavement.

    I can imagine the arguments 100 years ago of electrics vs gas powered cars.. what do you mean I have to go to a gas station to buy gasoline?.. why cant I refuel at home?


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (2:31 pm)

    herm: Very good possibility that future cars will carry small battery packs, and be recharged on the go with wireless power transfer transmitters buried under the pavement.

    Actually, I believe cars like the Volt are the final solution.

    First, let’s look at the facts about oil. The United States imports around 2/3 of the oil we consume. Oil consumption breaks down roughly as follows:
    • 43% Gasoline (mostly for passenger vehicles)
    • 21% Diesel (mostly for heavy duty long distance travel)
    • 9% Jet Fuel
    • 4% Heating Oil
    • 4% Heavy Fuel Oils (Residuals)
    • 4% L.P.G.
    • 16% Misc. Other Products 

    So even if all passenger vehicles were pure BEVs, that wouldn’t even replace 1/2 of our current oil use, and we would be no where near energy independence.

    Replacing diesel and jet fuel with electricity isn’t viable. You can’t power a plane or ship with batteries, and there is no battery technology on the horizon that can power an 18-wheel truck across the country. So to me, it’s obvious that any real solution for energy independence must include bio-fuels.

    And if bio-fuels are required anyway, why not use them for the relatively small amount of gasoline consumption that isn’t covered by EREVs?

    Using cellulosic gasification, up to 35% of our current gasoline consumption can be replaced, without any affect on our food supply. EREVs can replace up to 80% of gasoline consumption. Together, that’s 115% – more than enough to completely replace gasoline, all using our current infrastructure of 110 volt home outlets and liquid fuel filling stations.

    Couple that with bio-diesel and jet fuel from algae, and you may have a real solution for energy independence.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxNeBQCRv1c
    “If we took one tenth of the state of New Mexico and converted it into algae production, we could meet all the energy demands of the U.S.”

    And by the way, cellulosic gasification is not some lab experiment. They’re scaling it up now:
    LightHouseFacility2.jpg


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (2:54 pm)

    DonC,

    Although I often say “Thanks for the link”, THANKS FOR THE LINK!! That piece borders on real literature (or poetry) – and they even pictured a red Volt!

    Excellent read.

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (3:15 pm)

    DaveG,

    Well, I think we have discussed this in the past. You do not need to reduce consumption of oil by 100% to attain independence from other, less friendly oil nations. Reducing consumption of gasoline by only 10-20% would be a huge step forward in achieving independence.

    I agree the use of Bio-fuels is an important and good thing, but the electrification of automobiles does not need to be tied to this.

    You cannot just look at the impact related solely to fuel source and consumption, the building of EREV’s requires the use of more natural resources and energy to fabricate. The BEV, by its nature is simpler and requires less raw material and manufacturing, which also reduces the overall energy footprint of the vehicle.

    While EREV’s, like the Volt are a great move forward and I expect them to be around for many years, I also ultimately feel that the move to pure BEV’s is going to be made by the pure economics of the vehicle. Paying an extra few thousand dollars for a machine that can be met by two sources will ultimately make a BEV the clear winner.

    /It’s been a while since we have had these conversations. And I have not enough energy to rebut your issues with Level III charging and all its unsafe issues that you have brought forward in the past.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (3:29 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: The belief that only the Japanese can build a high-quality, high-mileage vehicle is about to change in a big way. And it’s about time. This country needs to be the leader again. 

    Well here’s something that speaks to this point from the WSJ review cited above:

    But for the moment, we should suspend our rancor and savor a little American pride. A bunch of Midwestern engineers in bad haircuts and cheap wristwatches just out-engineered every other car company on the planet.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (3:35 pm)

    Tagamet: That piece borders on real literature (or poetry) – and they even pictured a red Volt!

    Dan Neil’s articles are always so well written they’re fun to read even when you could care less about the vehicle he’s reviewing. I love the bit about “driving like a funeral directory”. He just has a way of putting it.

    And just a note for all of our friendly Prius advocates out there who are always accusing us of “fanboyism”: GM threatened to pull all their advertising from the LA Times because of a Dan Neil article on the quality of GM cars and management. It was negative. Real negative. So no “homeboy” on this one. He knows a technological marvel when he sees one (and when he doesn’t).


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    LEAF Guru

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (4:08 pm)

    DonC,

    Indeed the LEAF IS a 5 Passenger Car while the Volt cannot seat more than 4 rather diminutive humans.

    Thanks for reminding me of this additional LEAF advantage.

    LEAF +1


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (4:11 pm)

    JEC: … the building of EREV’s requires the use of more natural resources and energy to fabricate.

    This is not clear to me. EREVs have much smaller battery packs than a pure BEVs, and new types of range extenders are much smaller and lighter.

    Here’s one example:
    alt_engines_01_0810-lg.jpg

    Just because it’s a combustion engine doesn’t mean it has to be old school…


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (4:16 pm)

    Are we going to see the oil price drop once the Electric cars become popular? will the OPEC kill the Electric cars by lowering the oil price?


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    LEAF Guru

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (4:18 pm)

    (click to show comment)


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (4:27 pm)

    niapa: Are we going to see the oil price drop once the Electric cars become popular? will the OPEC kill the Electric cars by lowering the oil price?

    Excellent point, +1.

    Back in summer 2008, I proposed a floor tax of $65-$70/barrel, and most people responded that oil would never go that low, so why bother.

    Meanwhile, people who want to invest in alternative energy are scared. They know gas prices under $2/gallon will kill their investment. If we want more investment in alternative energy, we need to give private investors some type of assurance that OPEC isn’t going to flood the market with cheap oil to kill off the competition.

    As I understand it, oil prices around $65-$70/barrel is right around where alternatives start becoming competitive. If we can guarantee investors oil won’t fall below that point, private capitol investment will start pouring into alternative energy, and things will start happening MUCH faster.

    So again, even if oil stays above $65/barrel and no taxes were ever collected, having a floor tax would give alternative energy a huge boost.

    Some people say that’s it’s not good to interfere with the free market, but they forget that OPEC is a cartel, and together with Russia, they pretty much control things. If a competitive alternative to gasoline becomes viable, what’s to prevent them from killing it off with low gas prices? In the late 70’s and early 80s, when ethanol started to take hold, OPEC lowered prices. Then in the late 90s when it looked like EVs and hybrids would really take hold, they lowered prices below $1/gallon.

    So this is really a case of preventing a foreign cartel from interfering with our free market …


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (4:28 pm)

    LEAF Guru: Sorry, but the Volt is a non-starter in the true EV world (think Telsa, Nissan, BMW, etc). This is because the Volt is a HYBRID …

    Yes, and I think plug-in HYBRIDS are the final solution, not BEVS.

    A good engineer will start by analyzing the requirements, expectations, and issues, and let those factors determine the best solution.

    With electric cars, I believe too many people have started with a dream of what the end solution will look like, and then anything that doesn’t fit that dream, they discount or ignore. I don’t believe that kind of process will lead to energy independence. We need to be realistic.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (4:31 pm)

    DonC:
    Dan Neil’s articles are always so well written they’re fun to read even when you could care less about the vehicle he’s reviewing. I love the bit about “driving like a funeral directory”. He just has a way of putting it.And just a note for all of our friendly Prius advocates out there who are always accusing us of “fanboyism”: GM threatened to pull all their advertising from the LA Times because of a Dan Neil article on the quality of GM cars and management. It was negative. Real negative. So no “homeboy” on this one. He knows a technological marvel when he sees one (and when he doesn’t).    

    Thanks for sharing the background info. That’s great to know. I *did* like his style, and he had JUST enough showy words to keep me enthused (and the topic didn’t hurt either). I’ll have to look up some more of his work.

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (4:31 pm)

    DonC: I haven’t seen anything in writing for the warranty on either the Volt or the Leaf battery pack. Have you seen anything in writing? I’m thinking that Nissan believes that a warranty on “power” is more beneficial from a consumer standpoint than a warranty for “capacity”. At the “ride and drives” the Nissan presenter has been saying the capacity should drop by approximately 1% a year but that seems inconsistent with warranting the capacity of the battery for 70% at the end of 8 years. However, power is something of an instantaneous measure, and without specifying the duration of the power draw warranting power draw doesn’t have much meaning. For both the Volt and the Leaf the warranty seems a work in process. The good thing is that he history of batteries in auto applications is that the battery outperforms expectations. My guess is that this will happen here. But of course the RX for all the battery concerns is a lease. Both Nissan and GM are offering favorable lease terms. Maybe it’s not the time to look a gift horse in the mouth?  (Quote)  (Reply)

    I’m not sure if this is legit or not but I found it from a Nissan-Leaf site and is an image. They erroneous state it means the Volt’s is a similar power warranty but I don’t see a reason for them to misrepresent anyhting given the information. Oddly, I was not able to find the original on the Chevy Volt’s website as they claim to have.

    http://nissan-leaf.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/voltservice3.jpg
    http://nissan-leaf.net/2010/09/13/volt-battery-warranty/

    Since both companies are taking orders and Nissan has actually produced job 1, I would be surprised if they don’t have their battery warrantees competed (at least the version that current purchasers will be covered under).

    I have to disagree completely that a power warranty (from the motor BTW) is better or even remotely similar to a energy capacity warranty for a BEV, especially a 80 miles AER one. I would and imagine most people would be far more concerned about their range rather than 0-60 times. Additionally, if the warranty is actually on power output from the motor then it is warrantying 80KW sustained from the motor less 30%. The battery pobably begins life capable of supplying something on the order of 110kw sustained. Range can go down severely before a warranty event would occur if this is the case. Of course, we’ll have to see the details from an official Nissan source to know for sure.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (4:43 pm)

    DonC:
    Well here’s something that speaks to this point from the WSJ review cited above:But for the moment, we should suspend our rancor and savor a little American pride. A bunch of Midwestern engineers in bad haircuts and cheap wristwatches just out-engineered every other car company on the planet.     

    Don’t forget: “And they did it in 29 months while the company they worked for was falling apart around them. That was downright heroic. Somebody ought to make a movie.”

    And: “I caution against what author Rebecca Costa calls “extreme economics,” the pecuniary mindset that says every choice is reducible to a simple cost/benefit ratio. There was a moment last week when I borrowed a Volt to drive to a local mall. It was raining. I was alone. And I had a moment when I felt, ever so slightly, less of the problem and more of the solution. That feeling was priceless.”


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (4:45 pm)

    Dave G: …With electric cars, I believe too many people have started with a dream of what the end solution will look like, and then anything that doesn’t fit that dream, they discount or ignore. I don’t believe that kind of process will lead to energy independence. We need to be realistic.

    Sometimes “being realistic” just means putting one foot in front of the other. A “journey of a thousand miles” and all that. We can be 100% certain that if we don’t get started, we’ll never get there.

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (4:47 pm)

    Incredible! We are finally entering a time of real progress…let’s not stop!


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (4:50 pm)

    RDOCA: Where did the 0-60 in 7 sec come from? I think it will be closer to 11 sec.

    60in7%20Leaf.jpg

    http://www.autoblog.com/2010/10/22/unofficial-nissan-leaf-does-0-60-mph-in-7-seconds-tops-out-at/

    http://auto.vsocorp.info/unofficial-nissan-leaf-does-0-60-mph-in-7-seconds-tops-out-94-mph/

    The word directly from Nissan is that they are targeting 90mph as the top speed. Read several reviews concerning top speed. The number being reported is between 87mph and 94mph.

    Powered by a unique array of thin, laminated lithium ion cells capable of delivering over 90 kW of power, the Leaf’s front-mounted electric motor delivers 80 kW (107 horsepower) and a healthy 280 Nm of torque (208 pound-feet), and it promises brisk and silent off-the-line power, with acceleration from a stop comparable to that of the company’s Infiniti G35. And as Nakamura-san noted, the Leaf has a top speed of over 140 km/h (87 mph).

    =D-Volt


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (4:57 pm)

    LEAF Guru: Indeed the LEAF IS a 5 Passenger Car while the Volt cannot seat more than 4 rather diminutive humans.

    Nissan has done a good job with the Leaf, especially in terms of pricing and trim level. It’s clear they’re aiming at the mass market, while GM seems to be aiming at a niche market of well-heeled high-tech greenies.

    Nissan’s one mistake, and it’s a big one, is the lack of a range extender. Early adopters either loathe them, or accept them as a necessary evil. By contrast, the mass market simply won’t accept an EV without a range extender.

    One thing people seem to have forgotton: Nissan has admitted working on a range extended version of the Leaf. A larger battery pack is probably more expensive to build than a range extender, so an EREV-40 version of the Leaf should cost the same or less than the current BEV-100 Leaf.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (5:26 pm)

    DonC: And it works like a champ. Actually, it’s extraordinarily efficient. Consider that the operable range of charge in the battery is 65%, or 10.4 kWh.

    Ohh. 8 kwh becomes 10.4. Much more realistic numbers, but this works out to under delivering stated AER efficiency by 30%.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (5:26 pm)

    Tagamet: Sometimes “being realistic” just means putting one foot in front of the other. A “journey of a thousand miles” and all that. We can be 100% certain that if we don’t get started, we’ll never get there.

    Yes, +1.

    But I also think its important to head in the right general direction.

    For example, I’m convinced big oil companies used fuel cells as a red herring. While we were waiting for hydrogen cars that were supposedly “just around the corner”, oil companies continued their record profits importing foreign oil. That’s why I call them “fool sells”.

    My biggest fear is that car makers and car buyers will both wait for a new infrastructure of fast charging stations before embracing plug-ins in a big way, which will allow oil companies to continue their record profits importing foreign oil.

    Meanwhile, the combination of EREVs and cellulosic gasification easily has the potential to completely replace gasoline, without any affect on food supply, using our current infrastructure of 110 volt outlets and liquid fuel filling stations.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (5:27 pm)

    Dave G: One thing people seem to have forgotton: Nissan has admitted working on a range extended version of the Leaf. A larger battery pack is probably more expensive to build than a range extender, so an EREV-40 version of the Leaf should cost the same or less than the current BEV-100 Leaf.

    You had me until the very last sentence. Given how difficult seamless integration of two disparate systems, wouldn’t a Leaf EREV be more in line with the cost of a Volt?

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (5:28 pm)

    (click to show comment)


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (5:32 pm)

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    Oct 24th, 2010 (5:37 pm)

    The lack of a range extender is a deal breaker for me on the Leaf.

    As I was driving the Volt today I was amazed at how quiet it was, (Isn’t that a cool sentence?)

    And the thing is the Volt was in charge sustaining mode. The engine still shut off at stop lights even in the 90F Houston heat with the a/c blasting.

    The Cars on the Volt tour were DRIVEN to Houston, and probably haven’t seen a plug since they left Seattle. The Volt team has been driving them across country.

    Imagine the Leaf cross county tour…. Giant tractor trailers haul the cars across country. A massive generator is running back stage and somehow fast charging the cars such that potential customers can take them on 0.1 mile test drives and hopefully the Leaf’s batteries will not all go flat before the last customer has had a drive.

    Gas free driving is cool, electric drive is cool… but 100 years of history tells us the world is not ready for 100% battery electric vehicles.

    Battery technology has improved but not by that much compared to everything else. In fact we have become spoiled by how fast computers have evolved that we fail to notice that not every technology advances at the same rate. The computer I have today has a processor that is 1000 times faster than the one I had in the 90s. The battery in that computer is about 1.2 times better.

    More research into energy storage technology might reward us with a breakthough but the reason you don’t see manufacturers pumping out BEVs is that today’s batteries won’t cut it.

    NISSAN is taking a chance on the Leaf, but not a big one. The BILLION dollar grant from the DOE goes a long way and if the Leaf fails, that plant in Tennessee will be puming out Sentras and Versas I promise you.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (5:40 pm)

    Saying that an auto company is ‘working on’ tech xyz means very little; multiple lines of R&D are pursued as a risk mitigation strategy in case their main focus turns out to be wrong. It is easy to see that Toyota really believes that HSD is going to carry the company for decades, while Nissan is putting its major R&D money into pure EV.

    I think both Ford and GM were preparing to turn to efficient petrol cars again, but the US market appetite for big cars, trucks and SUVs is a siren call both companies hear all to loudly, given their past proven track record of profit in this segment.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (5:44 pm)

    Dear Eric,
    Please keep posting. Given the accuracy and quality of your previous posts, I know that the odds are against you, but eventually, with enough persistence, you may get something right. When you do, I’m sure someone will point it out for you, so you can save it to show your mom.

    Hang in there,
    Tagamet


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (5:46 pm)

    76 herm: have to go to a gas station to buy gasoline?.. why cant I refuel at home?

    .
    As I recall the arguments actually were about patents, and who owned them.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (5:53 pm)

    94 Dave G: By contrast, the mass market simply won’t accept an EV without a range extender.

    .
    I don’t see how you know what the mass market will or will not accept in a product that has never been for sale. Yes, the gm position is “simply won’t accept” but that position is offset by gm’s BEV development in Korea. Elsewhere there have been a lot of people signed up for Leaf, though not any cars actually purchased and delivered. We will know before too long, but right now we do not have the data.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (5:54 pm)

    jscott1: …Gas free driving is cool, electric drive is cool… but 100 years of history tells us the world is not ready for 100% battery electric vehicles…

    Yet, but to be fair, the Leaf will make a great second car as soon as it hits the streets. Plenty of room for both. JMO (and glad you enjoyed the test drive)!

    Be well,
    Tagamet


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (6:04 pm)

    Tagamet: Given how difficult seamless integration of two disparate systems, wouldn’t a Leaf EREV be more in line with the cost of a Volt?

    No, I don’t think so.

    Difficulty/complexity does increase development costs, but not so much production cost. The recurring cost of software is very low.

    Let’s say the Leaf’s battery pack costs around $500 per kWh. Their current BEV-100 pack would be around 24 kWh, or $12K. A 16 kWh version would be around $8K. I’m pretty sure Nissan’s manufacturing cost for a range extender would be $4K or less. So again, I think an EREV-40 will cost the same or less than and equivelent BEV-100.

    I believe the Volt is more expensive because:
    a) the Volt is a more luxurious car, with many more features and trim options standard.
    b) GM is not in a position to take a loss on every car sold, and indeed GM admits they will make a profit initially.
    c) Nissan has admitted they will lose money on every car sold until unit volumes start ramping up.
    d) Nissans production costs may be lower since they make their own battery.

    It’s also possible that GM used a few expensive parts to help expedite the 2011 model year schedule, which means the 2011 Volt may not be fully cost-optimized.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (6:12 pm)

    Tagamet: Pretty similar to the line on which the Volt is produced (between two “gassers”).

    If I had read the first few paragraphs of the story a second time, I would have seen that their line was similar to Volt. All the better when it comes time to ramp up production for more Volt or Leaf vehicles.

    NPNS? They both have plugs, so no more excuses!


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (6:18 pm)

    Dave G,

    I’m not sure that we differ on the production part of the equation, but I think that you’re underestimating how difficult the integration was.
    I guess we’ll need to “Stay tuned”.

    Be well and believe,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The VOLTS ‘ Wheels On The Road!!****NPNS


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (6:25 pm)

    Mark Z: NPNS? They both have plugs, so no more excuses!

    Maybe we need to trade in NPNS, for TPINBNS! (The plug is necessary, but not sufficient)(lol).

    Be well and believe,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The VOLTS ‘ Wheels On The Road!!****NPNS


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (6:27 pm)

    jscott1: I was driving the Volt today…

    Just two months away from delivery.

    NPNS


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (6:41 pm)

    Dave K.: jscott1: I was driving the Volt today…

    Just two months away from delivery.

    Yeah, but I slept in a Holiday Inn Express last night….
    (small sigh).

    Be well and believe,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The VOLTS ‘ Wheels On The Road!!****NPNS


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (6:56 pm)

    Tagamet: Yeah, but I slept in a Holiday Inn Express last night….(small sigh).Be well and believe,TagametLet’s Just Get The VOLTS ‘ Wheels On The Road!!****NPNS  (Quote)  (Reply)

    It would be nice to put money down on a Volt, but a $30K+ car is not in the cards for me.

    And for all the folks that say a Leaf would make a fine 2nd car, for me it would be car #6 (with one driver) and I would still find it inadequate.

    If I’m on the other side of Houston with a flat battery it doesn’t matter how many gassers I have back at the stable.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (6:59 pm)

    koz: I’m not sure if this is legit or not but I found it from a Nissan-Leaf site and is an image. They erroneous state it means the Volt’s is a similar power warranty but I don’t see a reason for them to misrepresent anyhting given the information. Oddly, I was not able to find the original on the Chevy Volt’s website as they claim to have.http://nissan-leaf.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/voltservice3.jpghttp://nissan-leaf.net/2010/09/13/volt-battery-warranty/Since both companies are taking orders and Nissan has actually produced job 1, I would be surprised if they don’t have their battery warrantees competed (at least the version that current purchasers will be covered under).I have to disagree completely that a power warranty (from the motor BTW) is better or even remotely similar to a energy capacity warranty for a BEV, especially a 80 miles AER one. I would and imagine most people would be far more concerned about their range rather than 0-60 times. Additionally, if the warranty is actually on power output from the motor then it is warrantying 80KW sustained from the motor less 30%. The battery pobably begins life capable of supplying something on the order of 110kw sustained. Range can go down severely before a warranty event would occur if this is the case. Of course, we’ll have to see the details from an official Nissan source to know for sure.  (Quote)  (Reply)

    Not sure what you mean about “erroneous state it means the Volt’s is a similar power warranty” – we did say it was about capacity, not power. Unless I am reading my own post wrong…maybe I worded it badly? I dunno. Anywhoo, we were just passing along some information to readers at the time as a straight shot/wondering if Nissan would follow suit.

    Regarding the validity, I would never make up something like that and proport it to be from GM.

    At the time of press (Sept 13), the site (chevrolet volt homepage) was more simple, yet tricky to navigate. That picture straight from two screencaps from the site (you can tell because of the ‘Volty’ printface), the site has since been reconfigured…but I am sure the policy is still the same. You just had to hunt it down. I actually got that lead from a couple people here at GM-Volt.com in the comments section where discussing it.
    Here is the screencaps combined:
    voltservice3.jpg


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (7:02 pm)

    Dave G: I believe the Volt is more expensive because:
    a) the Volt is a more luxurious car, with many more features and trim options standard.
    b) GM is not in a position to take a loss on every car sold, and indeed GM admits they will make a profit initially.
    c) Nissan has admitted they will lose money on every car sold until unit volumes start ramping up.

    The big cost center is the battery technology and the battery warranty. To oversimplify the Leaf has minimal technology. Seems like Nissan is betting that replacing X% of failed packs will be less expensive that building the technology to prevent failure into every car. Time will tell which approach is best. (I’m agnostic).

    The other “cost” is that related to the battery warranty. GM has a lot more reserve in the battery pack and I suspect we’ll see that reflected in the details of the warranty.

    I can see at some point that Nissan’s and GM’s technology will converge into a EREV-100. Nissan is not as advanced as GM with respect to electric drives but has more or less followed GM’s path with respect to hybrid technology. You have Ford and Toyota going down the Berman/TRW power split path and Allison-GM and Nissan going down the two-mode path. Given the trajectory of battery capacity improvement you can see how in five years GM could put 24 kWh of batteries into the Volt, giving it essentially the same 100 mile AER as the Leaf. (I think it’s pretty clear that a 75 mile AER is about the maximum benefit you can get from a battery technology. After that the costs go up exponentially and the benefits go down exponentially). Nissan could go the opposite way and put an engine in the Leaf, though that’s a lot more difficult a task to pull off. But it could get there a whole lot faster than waiting for DC fast charging everywhere.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (7:24 pm)

    jscott1: Gas free driving is cool, electric drive is cool… but 100 years of history tells us the world is not ready for 100% battery electric vehicles.

    Of course a hundred years ago you could have said: “Carriages are cool, engines are cool … but 50,000 years of human history and pre-history tells us that the world is not ready for gas carriages.”

    Not that you’re wrong, it’s just that in technology as in life: “[B]y that destiny to perform an act Whereof what’s past is prologue, what to come?” (When thinking about this keep in mind that there are already gazillions of electric vehicles around — they’re called forklifts.)


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (7:26 pm)

    jscott1: And for all the folks that say a Leaf would make a fine 2nd car, for me it would be car #6 (with one driver) and I would still find it inadequate. If I’m on the other side of Houston with a flat battery it doesn’t matter how many gassers I have back at the stable.  

    How exactly would you get to being in the other side of houston with a “flat” battery ?

    The other day when driving on free way I saw several stranded people on the side. None of them were driving an EV.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (7:30 pm)

    DonC: Nissan could go the opposite way and put an engine in the Leaf, though that’s a lot more difficult a task to pull off. But it could get there a whole lot faster than waiting for DC fast charging everywhere.

    Excellent post, especially the ending, +1


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (7:31 pm)

    DonC: Nissan could go the opposite way and put an engine in the Leaf, though that’s a lot more difficult a task to pull off. But it could get there a whole lot faster than waiting for DC fast charging everywhere.  

    The battery capacity is headed up – and the price down. The oil price will fluctuate with higher and higher stable interim prices (10% unemployment and $80 a barrel now ?!).

    That doesn’t sound like a path to PHEV.

    More likely GM will come up with BEVs and Nissan will come up with PHEV. Leaf will remain a BEV (and Volt will possibly remain a PHEV).


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (7:32 pm)

    koz: I have to disagree completely that a power warranty (from the motor BTW) is better or even remotely similar to a energy capacity warranty for a BEV, especially a 80 miles AER one. I would and imagine most people would be far more concerned about their range rather than 0-60 times.

    Leaf-Electric-Vehicle-Display.jpg

    Would love to jump on my Leaf and feel the acceleration. But I really should do the right thing and accelerate slowly to conserve range.

    Two concerns with the Leaf are the recycled interior holding up in prolonged wet or hot conditions. The other finding oneself 25 miles from home recharge base and having limited options for additional roaming.

    Factors that make the Leaf desirable are the after tax credit price in the 20k’s and totally gasoline free driving. I can see this car being a huge winner as a shuttle vehicle for use by elderly communities. And also with night security patrol applications where stealth and efficiency are meaningful. Range enough for use in auto parts delivery? Maybe. A viable courier for medical samples and devices. Should be.

    NPNS


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (7:32 pm)

    statik: Regarding the validity, I would never make up something like that and proport it to be from GM.

    Of course Jay. We all know that. He may not, however, know that is your site.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (7:36 pm)

    Tagamet: Yet, but to be fair, the Leaf will make a great second car as soon as it hits the streets. Plenty of room for both. JMO (and glad you enjoyed the test drive)!

    Why second ? If I use Leaf 330 days a year that is my primary car. I don’t call my vacation home as my first home and the place I sleep 350 days a year my second home.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (7:48 pm)

    # 100 jscott1 said:

    Imagine the Leaf cross county tour…. Giant tractor trailers haul the cars across country. A massive generator is running back stage and somehow fast charging the cars such that potential customers can take them on 0.1 mile test drives and hopefully the Leaf’s batteries will not all go flat before the last customer has had a drive.

    Here’s someone who agrees with your theory:

    Fiat_Plug_In.jpg


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (8:16 pm)

    evnow:
    Why second ? If I use Leaf 330 days a year that is my primary car. I don’t call my vacation home as my first home and the place I sleep 350 days a year my second home.    

    You’re getting far too predictable. I was waiting for you to pipe up. Out here in the boonies, we need reliable transportation (wink).
    Again I say, there’s plenty of room for everyone – nice to have a choice. I’m really rooting for the Leaf to survive, so we can continue to *have* choices (wink, wink).(g). OK, I’ll quit poking at you now.

    Be well and believe,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The VOLTS ‘ Wheels On The Road!!****NPNS


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (8:20 pm)

    Dave G: Yes, and I think plug-in HYBRIDS are the final solution, not BEVS.

    A good engineer will start by analyzing the requirements, expectations, and issues, and let those factors determine the best solution.

    With electric cars, I believe too many people have started with a dream of what the end solution will look like, and then anything that doesn’t fit that dream, they discount or ignore. I don’t believe that kind of process will lead to energy independence. We need to be realistic.

    If this was true, I guarantee the Russians win the race to the moon.

    You need goals to drive a design forward. To set the bar low, just so you can reach it, does not make you reach your potential.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (8:24 pm)

    Dave G:
    This is not clear to me.EREVs have much smaller battery packs than a pure BEVs, and new types of range extenders are much smaller and lighter.Here’s one example:
    Just because it’s a combustion engine doesn’t mean it has to be old school…    

    Uhmmm…how about the rest of the components that ride along with an ICE. Lets see ALL of it, not just one piece of the very large and complex automotive ICE puzzle.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (8:40 pm)

    Tagamet: Dear Eric,Please keep posting. Given the accuracy and quality of your previous posts, I know that the odds are against you, but eventually, with enough persistence, you may get something right. When you do, I’m sure someone will point it out for you, so you can save it to show your mom.Hang in there,Tagamet  (Quote)  (Reply)

    Did you have steak and wine for dinner?


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (8:49 pm)

    koz:
    Did you have steak and wine for dinner?    

    ROTFLMAO, no (but it sure did get quiet around here)(ahhhhh)

    Be well and believe,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The VOLTS ‘ Wheels On The Road!!****NPNS


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (8:57 pm)

    Dave G: One thing people seem to have forgotton: Nissan has admitted working on a range extended version of the Leaf.

    Link ?

    Nissan spokesman was asked whether Nissan build a PHEV one day. He said yes, that is a possibility.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (9:07 pm)

    statik,

    DonC is right. I had no idea that this was your site, although I should have put 2&2 together and figured it out. I saw the article in AutoblogGreen and wanted to contrast the Leaf’s terms with GM’s, so I did a Google search and your article was the first useful link. Since it was a Leaf site, I assumed the info was good. It looked legit but I couldn’t find it on GM’s site when I went there looking for more detail. I could only find the basic warranty and a note to contact the dealer for more info on their website now. The reason I mentioned that GM’s warranty was being erroneously portrayed as a power warranty was from these statements from your article:

    “GM states that first a dealer service technician will determine if the battery capacity is within the proper limit (given its age and mileage) to have any service/warranty work done. This process can apparently take up to 24 hours.

    What is a acceptable loss of power? Anywhere from 10-30% loss of the original 16 kWh capacity. I assume some kind of sliding, pro-rating curve will apply as to which level between 10% and 30% is unacceptable.”

    My intention is not to tear down the Leaf. I’ve always been a big supporter for all EVs that make sense and I do think the Leaf certainly qualifies. I’ve been positive towards it on all occassions until now. I do think, however, that if they are portraying a power warranty as matching the Volt’s energy warranty this is disingenuous marketing. Of course, we should reserve final judgement on this issue until the fine print for both warrantees are revealed.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (9:11 pm)

    Tagamet: You’re getting far too predictable. I was waiting for you to pipe up. Out here in the boonies, we need reliable transportation (wink).

    Well, in that case you shouldn’t be buying a Chevy, right 😉


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (9:23 pm)

    Dave G: I don’t believe that kind of process will lead to energy independence. We need to be realistic.

    Realistically there is no chance of becoming “energy independent”. Only post Peak Oil depletion will force us into “energy independent” …. energy independence is just a political slogan. Not something an engineer would get consider realistic.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (9:26 pm)

    jscott1: The BILLION dollar grant from the DOE goes a long way and if the Leaf fails, that plant in Tennessee will be puming out Sentras and Versas I promise you.

    That is a loan, not a grant. The least you can do is learn the facts.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (9:30 pm)

    nasaman: I took another close look at the video and this time saw several people, at least after the Leaf chassis seems to be fairly well along the line; however, I’m still impressed because it seems overall the number of people involved is considerably less than for Volt assembly.

    It looks on par with a US factory.

    Here the body assembly is all robotic too. When it comes to mounting components there were people guiding the major assemblies into place.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (9:35 pm)

    Hey everybody I wanted to show you an article that I was reading on my Wii earlier today about the future when it comes to stricter fuel efficiency for trucks and other types of vehicles in the future but also I very much do want to see all variety of electric vehicles on the road in the future as well but trust me when you read this article you will be happy for sure that something is changing for the good. Plus me if you like this article? http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130787713


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (9:39 pm)

    evnow, post #131: Realistically there is no chance of becoming “energy independent”. Only post Peak Oil depletion will force us into “energy independent” …. energy independence is just a political slogan. Not something an engineer would get consider realistic.

    Uhhh ….I’m both an engineer & a scientist and I’m absolutely certain it was America’s energy independence that allowed us to win WWII! I shudder to think what the outcome of a WWIII might be now that we’re so heavily dependent on largely unfriendly nations for our energy!!! 🙁 🙁 🙁


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (9:43 pm)

    DonC: Of course a hundred years ago you could have said: “Carriages are cool, engines are cool … but 50,000 years of human history and pre-history tells us that the world is not ready for gas carriages.” Not that you’re wrong, it’s just that in technology as in life: “[B]y that destiny to perform an act Whereof what’s past is prologue, what to come?” (When thinking about this keep in mind that there are already gazillions of electric vehicles around — they’re called forklifts.)  (Quote)  (Reply)

    Okay you got me on the forward looking statement… however, I’ll re-state to say that in the last 100 or so years of automitive history no one has made an 100% battery electric vehicle that people prefered over it’s gas equivalent.

    Only because of the extreme noise vibration and harshness of early ICE vehicles were electrics preferred. But NVH is a non-issue in most ICE cars in the last 100 years. As I indicated earlier, the Volt is electric car quiet even though it’s a hybrid.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (9:45 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: Given the intensity of attacks to this site by “advocates” of the Prius, it appears to me that GM has succeeded with the Volt.

    So it would seem, from deep within the thick of it. But backing way out to see the big picture, those so-called attacks are actually bitter confirmations of “over promise, under deliver”. It’s not going to be the game-changer long awaited for. More waiting is still needed.

    Volt won’t disappoint on several counts. In fact, some consumers will be thrilled by particular aspects of the design. But matching the priorities of middle-market, this generation did not.

    The market will be filled with a variety of plug-in and no-plug choices. Volt will be a player in that, part of the industry effort to end traditional vehicle production… co-existing with other battery utilizing designs.

    So, it would seem as though the question of how to identify “success” has an answer now.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (9:45 pm)

    evnow: That is a loan, not a grant. The least you can do is learn the facts.  (Quote)  (Reply)

    Same difference…it will never be re-paid


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (9:47 pm)

    JEC: I think the IGBT’s (insulated gate bipolar transistors) or IPM’s (intergrated power module, which is just IGBT’s packaged together with some additional integrated features such as temperature sense outputs) are being connected directly to the gate driver board, which is very common, and eliminates issues with gating signal integrity.

    I think the IGBTs and power diodes were in the epoxied lower section visible before the board was installed. Most likely the die are mounted to a custom direct copper bond board (DCB).

    JEC: You can see 4 identical sections on that gate driver board, that would be for the 3 phases plus one for the braking regen.

    Take a second look, it looks like 6 sections (for the upper and lower switches of each phase.

    Regen should not require a separate switch. For regen the power direction is reversed by altering the switch timing.

    JEC: I looked at the video several times and paused, but just cannot see what is mounted on the underside of the casting of the inverter module, but the black plastic I can see is indicative of a power module, and I can see what appears to be the signal pins that the board seats onto. The actual power terminals must be on the end or underside, but just cannot get the right view.

    The bottom would be the heatsink… or cold plate. Anyone know if the LEAF inverter is air or water cooled?

    On top of that would be the DCB. Before installing the DCB, the IGBT and diode die soldered down to the DCB and then they are wire-bonded or pinned for the top side connections (emitter and gate). The DCB is then has thermal grease installed, and then it is screwed down to the heat sink. The external power connections appear to come out the end of the module closest to the camera. Usually the power leads are just extensions of the DCB copper. (Conventional IGBT modules use this method – the tab you can see above the captive nut on top is one of these extensions.)

    After that the module is encapsulated to protect the die. Usually this is first a soft silicone to avoid stressing the die followed by a tough epoxy. The black that you can see before the board is loaded is the final epoxy pour.

    What I don’t see is the DC side capacitor bank. There is considerable switching frequency and 6X fundamental AC ripple in the DC link. This ripple can’t be drawn directly from the battery and it requires pretty good sized capacitors to do this.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (9:50 pm)

    evnow: How exactly would you get to being in the other side of houston with a “flat” battery ?The other day when driving on free way I saw several stranded people on the side. None of them were driving an EV.  (Quote)  (Reply)

    Because a trip to the other side of Houston and back is about 100 miles. On a bad day the Leaf range could be significantly less than 100 miles (when it’s new). Two or three years from now the bad day mileage could be 50 miles and I get across town, with the A/C on, winhshield wipers going, lights on, and radio blasting, worst case traffic, (whatever that is, high speed or stop and go) and next thing I know Leaf is shutting down and telling me I need to get to a plug quick and I’m 50 miles from home.

    At that point, what good is my truck (and it’s 600 mile range) going to be to me parked in the driveway?


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:02 pm)

    evnow:
    Realistically there is no chance of becoming “energy independent”. Only post Peak Oil depletion will force us into “energy independent” …. energy independence is just a political slogan. Not something an engineer would get consider realistic.    

    Rather than continuing to try to guess what you’d be *for*, why don’t you just tell us?

    Be well and believe,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The VOLTS ‘ Wheels On The Road!!****NPNS


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:07 pm)

    JEC: Did Nissan design its on silicon, or is it contracted to some of the big IGBT/IPM experts, such as Fuji, EUPEC, and a few others out there. This is a very specialized technology and in-house designs can give you some advantages, usually in packaging, so you can optimize the silicon layouts to the layout of your subsystem, but this is an expensive and complex task.

    I doubt they did their own power die. Unlike the foundry business in logic level devices (TSMC et al.), there are no power device foundries. If you want to make your own power devices you’re going to spend over $1B for your own fab.

    The only reason they might is because of the insane lead times on power devices right now. In many cases the lead time are in the 20 to 40 week range.

    JEC: Also, I would wonder if they have delved into “direct bond” of the power silicon to the pcb (printed circuit board), which requires even more specialize equipment and expertise. This technique brings lots of advantages, which mainly would be size (they can pot the entire pcb/silicon and reduce trace spacing significantly, when dealing with high voltage signals, and also the cost can be cheaper for high volume.

    Custom DCB is far less than you’re thinking. At the thousand units per year level it makes sense. NRE is in the ballpark of $10K for a module and as you note, the costs are in line.

    As far as special equipment: It’s not too bad. You need a fast heated chuck to solder the die. All of the die are placed with solder paste and then reflowed by heating from the heatsink side with a profile similar to reflow soldering a board. Then the die are wire-bonded for the top side connections. There are multiple companies that specialize in this business from low through medium volumes where owning the equipment isn’t cost effective.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:09 pm)

    jscott1: Only because of the extreme noise vibration and harshness of early ICE vehicles were electrics preferred.

    OT but I thought that electric vehicles used to be preferred because they didn’t need to be *cranked* to start. Maybe that’s a wives’ tale.

    Be well and believe,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The VOLTS ‘ Wheels On The Road!!****NPNS


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:11 pm)

    evnow: That is a loan, not a grant. The least you can do is learn the facts.  (Quote)  (Reply)

    You are right my bad… it was a 1.4 BILLION dollar guaranteed Loan, which means that if for whatever reason NISSAN doesn’t pay back the loan it’s covered by you and me and anyone else that pays taxes. So where is the risk in that equation?

    What Is a Loan Guarantee?

    A loan guarantee is a contractual obligation between the government, private creditors and a borrower—such as banks and other commercial loan institutions—that the Federal Government will cover the borrower’s debt obligation in the event that the borrower defaults.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:13 pm)

    nasaman:
    Uhhh ….I’m both an engineer & a scientist and I’m absolutely certain it was America’s energy independence that allowed us to win WWII! I shudder to think what the outcome of a WWIII might be now that we’re so heavily dependent on largely unfriendly nations for our energy!!!     

    Uncontested. I wonder if we could still mobilize our industrial base again. Tough to be optimistic sometimes.

    Be well and believe,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The VOLTS ‘ Wheels On The Road!!****NPNS


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:16 pm)

    jscott1: A loan guarantee is a contractual obligation between the government, private creditors and a borrower—such as banks and other commercial loan institutions—that the Federal Government will cover the borrower’s debt obligation in the event that the borrower defaults.

    (Places tongue in cheek) What happens if the govt defaults? (removes tongue from cheek).

    Be well and believe,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The VOLTS ‘ Wheels On The Road!!****NPNS


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:21 pm)

    Tagamet: OT but I thought that electric vehicles used to be preferred because they didn’t need to be *cranked* to start. Maybe that’s a wives’ tale.Be well and believe,TagametLet’s Just Get The VOLTS ‘ Wheels On The Road!!****NPNS  (Quote)  (Reply)

    I think the crank had something to do with it also… I should have said NVH+cranking


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:28 pm)

    jscott1:
    I think the crank had somethingto do with it also… I should have said NVH+cranking    

    LOL, not a problem. Just checking my recollections.

    Be well and believe,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The VOLTS ‘ Wheels On The Road!!****NPNS
    /Night all. Good thread today.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:28 pm)

    no comment: what is “C rate?”

    It is a way of expressing battery discharge or charge as a ratio of its one hour capacity.

    For example, charging at 2C would (theoretically) charge the battery in 1/2 hour, 1C would charge in one hour, C/2 in 2 hours.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:37 pm)

    Dave G: So the next logical step would be to increase the max charging power, which brings us to the second problem: Safety. 240 kW is already a sh1t-load of power. That’s a quarter mega-watt. If that shorts, it’s not a spark – it’s a small explosion.

    I’ve blasted you before on this and I’m going to get nastier the longer you persist in this line of spreading unreasonable fear.

    How much PERSONAL experience do you have in dealing with this power level?

    I have a couple of DECADES of personal experience in high power electronics, and you’re considerably overstating the risks. That kind of damage occurs with sources with 10’s of MW available. Under 1 MW it just doesn’t happen.

    Even at the highest power levels, the danger pales in comparison to fueling with a liquid prone to flash fires.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:46 pm)

    DonC: But for the moment, we should suspend our rancor and savor a little American pride. A bunch of Midwestern engineers in bad haircuts and cheap wristwatches just out-engineered every other car company on the planet.

    Pure BS.

    The problem at the US auto companies is not found among the ranks of the engineers, it is in the ranks of management. Hands down, the Japanese managers are better than the American managers. Japanese managers are facts and data driven. If they don’t have the facts or data, they will study, measure and find them. US managers just assume if the data isn’t there, it must not exist.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:50 pm)

    niapa: will the OPEC kill the Electric cars by lowering the oil price?

    If they can. There is a lot of speculation that the OPEC countries do not have excess capacity.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (10:58 pm)

    DonC: Nissan could go the opposite way and put an engine in the Leaf, though that’s a lot more difficult a task to pull off.

    That depends if Nissan goes with a Volt approach that provides full performance in either mode, or does a minimalist approach with a much smaller engine.

    A little engine with a pure series design could be fairly simple to pull off. Funny part is that with a little dinky engine it just might beat the Volt for MPG even with a full series design.

    20 HP keeps the car from being stranded on the side of the road. It kills the worry about range anxiety. It won’t be a one size fits all car like the Volt, just a car without worries.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (11:01 pm)

    opec doesn’t set prices, they set production goals. the price is determined on the open market. at present, they have more latitude to increase prices than they do to reduce prices. as to the lack of capacity; i suspect that has a lot to do with the increasing demand for oil.

    Matthew B:
    If they can.There is a lot of speculation that the OPEC countries do not have excess capacity.    


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (11:02 pm)

    Dave K.: The other finding oneself 25 miles from home recharge base and having limited options for additional roaming.

    I’m on the verge of having charging stations 21 miles East, 27 miles South, and 24 miles North. West is uninhabited forest so I wouldn’t be taking an EV that way.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (11:05 pm)

    Tagamet: You’re getting far too predictable. I was waiting for you to pipe up. Out here in the boonies, we need reliable transportation (wink).

    Tag, you disappoint me. I figured you’d stay above the fray.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (11:10 pm)

    nasaman: Uhhh ….I’m both an engineer & a scientist and I’m absolutely certain it was America’s energy independence that allowed us to win WWII! I shudder to think what the outcome of a WWIII might be now that we’re so heavily dependent on largely unfriendly nations for our energy!!!

    Not only did it help us win, but Japan’s strike on Pearl Harbor had EVERYTHING to do with trying to get Malaysia’s oil fields without the US stepping in to stop them.

    We don’t want to be in Japan’s shoes. Fortunately the pentagon is worrying about this and wants to make sure our military is oil independent.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (11:29 pm)

    Matthew B: Pure BS.

    You do realize that was a quote from someone who AFAIK agrees with everything you’ve just written.


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    Oct 24th, 2010 (11:52 pm)

    Matthew B: I have a couple of DECADES of personal experience in high power electronics, and you’re considerably overstating the risks.

    Not saying you’re wrong, I have no idea, but one problem is that people in the field frequently underestimate the risk. If things don’t go wrong it’s human nature to assume they’ll never go wrong. An example of this would be the oil industry’s perception of the risk of a blowout. How many times during the last ten years have you seen/heard oil industry experts claim that with modern technology blowouts were a thing of the past. Until they weren’t.

    As mentioned I know noting about high voltage charging stations. I do, however, know about people, and knowing people I guarantee you that sooner or later some idiot is going to find a way to fry themselves with their EV charger. It’s just gonna happen.


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    Oct 25th, 2010 (12:24 am)

    DonC: As mentioned I know noting about high voltage charging stations. I do, however, know about people, and knowing people I guarantee you that sooner or later some idiot is going to find a way to fry themselves with their EV charger. It’s just gonna happen.

    One person sometime frying themselves is a so what? Do you know how many currently are killed by gasoline fires?

    I sure won’t argue that it’s impossible to kill yourself with electricity. What I will argue strongly is that there is that a high current charger isn’t an explosion risk that will “blow the front of a car off.”


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    Oct 25th, 2010 (1:05 am)

    jscott1: You are right my bad… it was a 1.4 BILLION dollar guaranteed Loan, which means that if for whatever reason NISSAN doesn’t pay back the loan it’s covered by you and me and anyone else that pays taxes. So where is the risk in that equation?

    Easy question, just compare the market lending rates to Nissan Vs GM (which also has received uhhh… fed loans.)

    If you are thinking this is a trick question, you are right. No private bank will lend to GM. Period.


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    Oct 25th, 2010 (1:23 am)

    I won’t argue that GMs uh “loans” are not likely to be paid off either. They will wash the books issue some stocks and declare the loans paid off. They essentially have already done that by announcing a while back that GM had already paid off it’s loans and we know that is anything but true.

    My whole point is that the only reason you see NISSAN building BEVs is not because there is a business case, but bcause they got the DOE to finance refurbishing a plant in Symrna Tenn to build uh “Leafs”

    Let’s check back in 5 years and see what cars are being produced in that plant. NISSAN will either default on the loan or ask permission to build cars they can actually sell.


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    Oct 25th, 2010 (4:43 am)

    Rush Rush Rush….

    Yeah let’s give support to the electric car… The Japanese will put a $20,000 tariff on every Volt sold in Japan while we give them $7500 for every Leaf sold in the big dumb USA.

    This is our “global economy”…. BS.


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    Oct 25th, 2010 (4:58 am)

    pjkPA: Rush Rush Rush…. Yeah let’s give support to the electric car… The Japanese will put a $20,000 tariff on every Volt soldin Japan while we give them $7500 for every Leaf sold in the big dumb USA. This is our “global economy”…. BS.

    You have been repeating this lie for a while now. is everything else you say a lie also?.. the Japanese do not dare put tariffs on American cars.


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    Oct 25th, 2010 (5:04 am)

    Statik…we ever going to see the clash with Johnny Chan you mentioned?

    N2LBRINS


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    Oct 25th, 2010 (5:51 am)

    AP Monday October 25, 2010, 4:09 am EDT

    SINGAPORE (AP) — Oil prices jumped to near $83 a barrel Monday in Asia as investors bid down the U.S. dollar after finance leaders at the weekend G-20 meeting agreed to avoid a so-called currency war.

    =D-Volt


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    Oct 25th, 2010 (7:12 am)

    JEC: If this was true, I guarantee the Russians win the race to the moon.

    Actually, the Apollo program is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. The end goal was clearly stated, but the way to achieve that goal was not.

    In fact, when Kennedy made the announcement, nobody thought Lunar Orbit Rendezvous (LOR) would be the final solution. Many people fought against LOR initially, saying it was too complicated.
    But after analyzing the requirements, expectations, and issues, the LOR architecture had the best chance of success. In the end, reality prevailed, and that’s how we got there.


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    Oct 25th, 2010 (7:21 am)

    Dave K.: Statik…we ever going to see the clash with Johnny Chan you mentioned?N2LBRINS  (Quote)  (Reply)

    I dunno, lol. I was still at the casino playing when it was on ESPN 3. I have not yet watched any of the WSOP episodes from this year to see if I made the syndicated cut.

    For anyone interested in the story:

    I got cut down from about 90,000 to 38,000 with a turn/river flush against my trips early in day 3 of the tourney. Leaving my chips relatively low to the field. When I flopped out top pair (w/top kicker) to Johnny Chan…with so much already committed and so low I had to take a chance he was not holding a overpair (as we were the only two who headed to the flop). He did. I was out.

    You can read the synopsis of my humiliation at the WSOP this year here of the site, hehe:
    (it is the very top update)
    http://www.wsop.com/tournaments/updates.asp?tid=10878&grid=764&dayof=1450&curpage=14


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    Oct 25th, 2010 (7:30 am)

    jscott1: The lack of a range extender is a deal breaker for me on the Leaf. As I was driving the Volt today I was amazed at how quiet it was, (Isn’t that a cool sentence?)And the thing is the Volt was in charge sustaining mode. The engine still shut off at stop lights even in the 90F Houston heat with the a/c blasting. The Cars on the Volt tour were DRIVEN to Houston, and probably haven’t seen a plug since they left Seattle. The Volt team has been driving them across country. Imagine the Leaf cross county tour…. Giant tractor trailers haul the cars across country. A massive generator is running back stage and somehow fast charging the cars such that potential customers can take them on 0.1 mile test drives and hopefully the Leaf’s batteries will not all go flat before the last customer has had a drive. Gas free driving is cool, electric drive is cool… but 100 years of history tells us the world is not ready for 100% battery electric vehicles. Battery technology has improved but not by that much compared to everything else. In fact we have become spoiled by how fast computers have evolved that we fail to notice that not every technology advances at the same rate. The computer I have today has a processor that is 1000 times faster than the one I had in the 90s. The battery in that computer is about 1.2 times better. More research into energy storage technology might reward us with a breakthough but the reason you don’t see manufacturers pumping out BEVs is that today’s batteries won’t cut it. NISSAN is taking a chance on the Leaf, but not a big one. The BILLION dollar grant from the DOE goes a long way and if the Leaf fails, that plant in Tennessee will be puming out Sentras and Versas I promise you.  (Quote)  (Reply)

    a factor of 1.2?
    Batteries improve by about 10% a year as a rule of thumb, and cost falls by more than that. Lithium batteries weren’t as good or as prelevent 15 years ago as now, and found in only a few Sony camcorders. The lithium Manganese (Leaf batteries) and Lithium Iron Phosphate (Valence) batteries didn’t exist 15 years ago anyway so that statement is pretty false. Also I can’t imagine a car 15 years ago having 5 seats, a deep boot and fitting ALL the batteries under the rear seats and passenger floor! Go back to the EV1 and you get a lightweight 2 seater car with marginally worse performance than the Leaf – not a nippy 5 seater family car.


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    Oct 25th, 2010 (7:39 am)

    evnow: Realistically there is no chance of becoming “energy independent”.

    Why?

    Our country has done great things in the past. Why should we be pessimistic now?

    Oil is the only real problem for energy independence. The U.S. started running out of oil in 1973, and oil imports have been growing ever since.

    The U.S. has plenty of coal. Horizontal drilling techniques have improved the outlook for natural gas. We have enough uranium. We have plenty of desert for closed loop algae bio-reactors. And we have a good deal of unused bio-mass (crop residue, forest/mill waste, municipal waste, etc.) for bio-fuels. We have been blessed with many viable alternatives to oil.

    So why should we give up on the goal of energy independence before we’ve even started?


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    Oct 25th, 2010 (7:51 am)

    mark ysmith: Batteries improve by about 10% a year as a rule of thumb, and cost falls by more than that.

    Yes, this is about right.

    Actually, I believe the hostorical average is closer to 9% per year improvement on battery energy density. At that rate, it would take around 27 years to achieve a 10x improvement.

    And as you say, costs have historically fallen by more than 9% per year.


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    Oct 25th, 2010 (8:46 am)

    And Volt Production is underway also. My Volt is in the Body Shop! WhoooHooo!

    Jerry


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    Oct 25th, 2010 (8:47 am)

    RDOCA: Where did the 0-60 in 7 sec come from? I think it will be closer to 11 sec.  (Quote)  (Reply)

    Linked off the leaf fan site nissan-leaf.net the other week there was a video of some guy from a magazine testing the 0-60mph (was actually 0-100ish km/h) and it was a very nippy 7 seconds.


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    Oct 25th, 2010 (9:07 am)

    Dave G: Well said, +1.Maybe I’m crazy, but when I hear things like this, I say to myself, OK, what if we had that right now? What would that be like?The first problem is charging time. According to Wikipedia, Level 3 charging has a max of 240 kW:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_1,_2,_and_3_charging#Level_1.2C_2.2C_and_3_chargingNow let’s say we have an SUV with 300 miles of all-electric range. A car that size would require about 120 kWh of usable battery. At 240 kW max charging power, that would take 30 minutes to charge.So the next logical step would be to increase the max charging power, which brings us to the second problem: Safety. 240 kW is already a sh1t-load of power. That’s a quarter mega-watt. If that shorts, it’s not a spark – it’s a small explosion. Things get vaporized with that much power. Things like fingers and hands. That’s probably why level 3 charging hasn’t been approved by SAE. So I think increasing the power beyond level 3 is highly unlikely.Now is when people with some knowlege in this area talk about potential methods to make this more safe. The main method proposed is to make the connection with the power off, check the circuit for shorts, and then ramp up the power. All charge ports currently do this. Here’s the problem: If there’s water, snow, or ice near the contacts, but there’s no short, the initial check will show that everthing is OK. Then when power heats up the connector, the water, snow, or ice will melt or move to cause a short at full power. Ka-boom.Given that cars are frequently covered with rain, snow, or ice when they pull into a fueling station, I believe shorts will occur. Shorts with a level 3 charger could cause serious injuries.So then people say that the future will invent some new technology that will solve all these problems. Don’t bet on it. The safety issues with very high power charging involve basic math and physics. They are most likely inherent. Let me be clear here: Level 1 and 2 charging are fairly safe. It’s level 3 that’s the problem. With Level 1/2, a short will produce a big spark, which may cause a minor blister or burn. With Level 3, potential injuries are serious.So then people start pointing out the safety issues involved in dispensing gasoline, and comparing that to very high power charging. But that’s apples and oranges. If a little bit of snow or water drips as you’re insrting the gas nozzle, nothing happens. Dispensing liquid fuel is much safer than very high power charging.A good engineer will start by analyzing the requirements, expectations, and issues, and let those factors determine the best solution. With electric cars, I believe too many people have started with a dream of what the end solution will look like, and then anything that doesn’t fit that dream, they discount or ignore. I don’t believe that kind of process will lead to energy independence. We need to be realistic.  (Quote)  (Reply)

    Firstly cars are earthed by their wheels. The safest place to be in a lightning storm is in your car. Ok, so you’ll be out of it for charging. Now Level 3 (same with other charging) doesn’t start when you plugin – it starts when the car has communicated with the charger and ensured everything is fine for the battery to receive the charge (ie. the charge level of the battery, being properly connected, etc).
    The handle and everything of the charger is not your standard mains plug! The 440v level 3 charger is thicker than a petrol pump connector – and you don’t touch bare copper!


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    Oct 25th, 2010 (9:15 am)

    ps the bloke above over-sating electric charging risks reminds me of the same people that said:
    1. trains going through tunnels would kill the passengers.
    2. that plane won’t take off – it’s heavier than air!
    3. that the sound barrier couldn’t be broken
    4. and countless other worries about the first steam trains.
    If that negative approach was taken then nothing new would ever get tried!


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    Bill

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    Oct 25th, 2010 (11:21 am)

    interesting that Nissan has somewhat admitted that the Leaf will get far less range when the HVAC system is on.

    check out this link:

    http://techon.nikkeibp.co.jp/english/NEWS_EN/20101014/186445/

    As you may know the EPA has proposed that EV’s will get a 70% multiplier to their Label. Thus if Nissan Claims 65 miles range with the HVAC system on, then the vehicle will actually get 46 miles range.

    if one where to buy a Nissan Leaf and expect to get more than 46 miles, then one may want a flat bed truck as a second vehicle.


  177. 177
    James

     

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    Oct 25th, 2010 (5:33 pm)

    nasaman: Uhhh ….I’m both an engineer & a scientist and I’m absolutely certain it was America’s energy independence that allowed us to win WWII! I shudder to think what the outcome of a WWIII might be now that we’re so heavily dependent on largely unfriendly nations for our energy!!!   (Quote)  (Reply)

    Yeah – what he said! +1

    Absolutely!

    PUMP OUT THE VOLTS! ( in all 50 states ),

    James


  178. 178
    Tim in SC

     

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    Oct 25th, 2010 (6:32 pm)

    Well said! Every one that rolls off the assembly line is a win for civilized societies and a loss for al-Qaeda.


  179. 179
    Wayne

     

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    Oct 25th, 2010 (8:25 pm)

    I’m falling more in love with the leaf everyday. Low cost and makes a round trip to work for me, about 38 miles, plus lunch!

    It would work. I could sell my motorcycle and get by just fine.


  180. 180
    jeffhre

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    Oct 25th, 2010 (11:59 pm)

    Tagamet: In order for me to buy a BEV I need the following to happen:
    1) range of 300 miles
    2) Level III quick charging deployed everywhere we currently have gas stations
    3) price comparable to ICE vehicle of similar size
    The current BEV fail on all three.. $30K for a car that can never travel more than 50 miles from my house is unacceptable.

    Without unrealistic dreams there would be no telephones, no televisions, no computers
    no cars, no space travel…clearly some technology and manufacturing curves meet up at some points with the cluttered workshops and endless rows of once useless dead end notebooks created by any number of impractical dreamers. Keep working on those unacceptable products guys!


  181. 181
    pjkPA

     

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    Oct 26th, 2010 (4:16 am)

    evnow: That is a loan, not a grant. The least you can do is learn the facts.  (Quote)  (Reply)

    And think about it…our government is giving loans to our manufacturers competitiion while they will put a $20,000 tariff on each VOLT we try to sell in Japan… they have 4% unemployment we have over 10% unemployment…. what’s wrong here?


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    pjkPA

     

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    Oct 26th, 2010 (4:23 am)

    Did you notice in this article …. not one word about the VOLT in JAPAN.

    How did it feel in Japan Lyle?

    Did they wine and dine you for free so you could come back and sell more Leafs for them?


  183. 183
    Vinayababu

     

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    Oct 26th, 2010 (8:28 am)

    So, Lyle and GM-Voltt has a twin in Statik and Nissan-Leaf,both gives hope and inspiration for the future of a better transportation for the coming generation. Thanks and best wishes to both of them.