Saturday, October 22, 2011
2012 Nissan Leaf - Cool idea. But it still looks like a turd.
Power: Hard to describe. It can go freeway speed?
Sex Appeal: If you find a tortoise sexually appealing, then you will be all over this car.
I like electric things. I spent most of my youth playing with high end remote control electric cars and airplanes so I know first hand the power of the electric motor. I have also dabbled in go kart racing, both gas and electric, so I know full well what having instant torque means (you go fast, instantly). All things considered then, I should like this car...but I don't.
Nissan had a huge opportunity here. They were coming out with the first affordable electric car the world had ever seen. Being electric, there wer no limitations for this car. It does not require the same aerodynamics as its gas powered equivalent and there is not a lot stored under the hood of this car, so they could have made it look however they wanted. Electric cars are affected by wind just like gas cars, so its range is highly dependent on aerodynamics. Nissan could have gone all out and made this thing incredibly space-aged looking and extended its mediocre 50-mile range to 100 and beyond without having to mess with any of the technology under the hood.
But they didn't. They made a turd. It rivals the most ugly car every made (the prius...but more on that some other time), and it only goes 50 miles. It is a cool idea to have an electric car. I admit that 99% of my driving per day is less than 50 miles, so 360 days of the year this is all the car I need. But I really can't get over how dumpy it looks. Why could they have not made a plastic ferrari and put a dinky electric motor in it? There are a reason fast cars look fast. They use up so much gas every little bit counts. I feel that Nissan should have had the same mentality here. Electric cars can't go very far to begin with without adding thousands of pounds of batteries, so why not focus on that last little bit?
What we are left with is a half assed attempt at taking on the Prius. They made it look like the Prius, gave it a million miles per gallon, and charge 10k more for that extra amount of smugness you can carry around when you say: "well I drive an ELECTRIC car, what about YOU?" Is it really so much to ask for a mainstream car thats good for the environment, saves you a butt load of money, and doesn't look like a pile of S***?
I guess so. I have hopes for the future, but as it stands, the car industry is terrified of doing anything different than the competition. This car is just a drop in the bucket of what is possible. Audi just needs to come out with that electric thing they had in I-Robot that Will Smith drove. Now THAT is what the "future" should look like. Not a stink bug.