Saturday, December 05, 2009

Electric Cars: Video: Nissan Details Schedule for the Leaf, Plus a Test Drive TNR.v, CZX.v, WLC.v, LI.v, RM.v, CLQ.v, SQM, FMC,, QUC.v, NSANY

One of the important issues,, we found at San Francisco Hard Assets Conference this November, was lack of understanding even by Hard Assets industry analysts and letter writers about technological advance in Lithium-ion technology and speed to market in Electric cars mass market. It is very positive for our Investment Trend - first stage of the bull market was driven by only sector insiders and smart money, idea is not even close to be at an investment public domain yet. Jay Taylor has added TNR Gold / International Lithium to his Watch List after the conference and now we have news for all those still hesitating - it is lithium based and you can drive it. Electric cars are here. Graph below is driving appetite of multinationals piling into the battery business this week and Research reports confirm explosive projections and lithium-ion industry choice.
Our own take from Nissan Leaf North American Tour:
Decision will be price driven: if it is a "normal" car with full utility functions, people will buy it - drivers are: coolness to be Green, High Tech and all gadgets included. Nissan's answer: think about price of family sedan under $30000 before $7500 tax rebate.
Main focus now: Range anxiety. Nissan's business model in U.S.: we do not have a pill - we have technology. Leaf will be equipped with a fast charge in U.S. (S. - and a new battery coming will cure this issue hopefully) You can fast charge your car within 26 minutes up to 80%. (S. - Think Supermarkets and Fast Food restaurants chains). Most people do not realise that they are not driving more the 40 miles every day. It is an everyday commute car. If you need three times a year drive 300 miles - most people have an access to another car.
But this is still a valid point of worry for some people and gives market share to GM Volt and BYD - Hard Hybrids with a range extension systems. We think it will be particularly an issue for U.S.,  Canada and China with a first car in household. In Europe EVs will take a bigger share right from the start.
Nissan: it is Lithium-on polymer battery developed by NEC and Nissan for 17 years. We will remind here that Nissan claims to spend total 5.5 billion dollars on Electric Car program in total. this is what we call anchoring technology.


You won’t be able to swap batteries in the Leaf in the U.S., but fast-charging stations will cut the charge time to under a half an hour in San Diego.

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The Nissan Leaf. It's blue and you can go from zero to around 40 miles an hour in a few seconds.
We got to drive a near-final prototype of the Nissan Leaf yesterday. The all-electric car will be released late next year. A final version of the Leaf was parked on Santana Road in San Jose (see picture). The test drive took place on the top floor of an empty parking garage. Why? The prototype isn't licensed for the streets.
Overall, it drove like a somewhat peppy mid-sized sedan, but with the benefits of regenerative braking, quick acceleration and almost none of the noise that you'd expect to find in an electric – think of a Honda Accord or Saab but with extras. Like the Tesla Roadster, the Leaf also has a somewhat clean cockpit. You control the transmission with a knob that looks and operates like a joystick.
The camera work isn't glamorous, but check out the video here.

Mark Perry, director of product planning for Nissan, also reiterated and refined some of the details surrounding the car. Nissan will start production in September 2010 and start selling cars in December 2010. Perry wouldn't comment on an exact price – that will come in about eight months – but it will sell for around the same price as a well-equipped Altima, or in the $30,000 range.
The company is still debating how the sales contracts will work. Customers might buy complete cars outright, or buy the car and lease the battery. Leasing the battery will help ease concerns some consumers have about the durability of the battery. Additionally, by leasing the battery, Nissan can reduce the initial price of the car because the lease agreement can contemplate the $7,500 tax credit buyers will get from the Federal government, he said. Since it is not a rebate, car dealers can't give the money to consumers and collect the $7,500 themselves. Leasing can get around this to some degree.
Nissan will not offer battery swapping for the Leaf in America. Instead, it will equip the cars with 480-volt chargers for fast charging. With a fast charger, 80 percent of the battery can be recharged in 26 minutes. San Diego will set up 50 of these by December. Some may be erected in the Bay Area as well.
More in the video."
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