In a previous blog called Three Cars You Won’t Find at BigBucksAuto, I mentioned the Tesla Roadster and in doing the research on the Roadster, I wanted to know more about electric cars. I must admit, what I found, surprised me. Electric cars are on America’s horizon. The Nissan Leaf and The Chevy Volt are due out at the end of the 2010.
There are a few similarities in the two electric cars:
- both have electric engines,
- both are greener than vehicles previous,
- both have 8 year/100,000 mile battery warranty,
- both are considered fun to drive, and
- both are expected to be pioneers in the evolution in electric engines.
This is where the similarities end though. While the two cars often get thrown into the same group, they are actually worlds apart.
Electric Hybrid versus Electric Plug In
First of all the Leaf is the only car powered 100% by its electric engine. The Volt’s batteries are recharged by its electric engine after its first 40 miles and act as the car’s generator after this. The Leaf has to be recharged after 100 miles while the Volt can go for about 340 miles. This is by far the biggest advantage that the Volt has over its competitor and really separates the two cars from a functionality standpoint. With only a hundred mile range, the Leaf will not see many road trips. This car is more suited for local errands, and with today’s families, it will certainly find a role. I know on an average Saturday while running errands and enjoying my free time, I can easily put 60 miles on my car, so the Leaf would be perfect. However the Leaf is limited to just this, as anything over 50 miles away requires a charge that could take up to 8 hours with a 240V charge or 20 hours with the standard plug 120V charger. There are a few places where recharging will only take 30 minutes, but they are not readily available yet. This limited range certainly restricts the car’s usability, especially since the Volt’s recharge time is only about 3 hours.
If the Leaf is an Apple, than the Volt is an Orange
Once this major difference is accepted, the Leaf has a lot to offer. It handles well, has ample headroom and a spacious cabin, and most important of all, it is about $12,000 less than the Volt. Certainly one could argue that the Volt’s advantage in range and function warrants the price difference, but there is another factor to the equation. Since the Leaf’s motor is all electric, you never have to worry about burning gas or having to deal with the maintenance issues of a combustion engine, like changing the oil or replacing the spark plugs and/or timing belts. These things add up after years of driving. Another notable difference is in the acceleration. The Leaf is described as “quick” and “peppy,” as electric motors have a lot of initial torque. On the flip side of the coin, words like “sluggish” and “somewhat delayed” have been used to describe the Chevy Volt’s acceleration.
The Volt is not a Bad Car!
The Volt does have a few advantages though. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the Volt has more storage capacity, a more comfortable backseat, and obviously, shorter charging times. The range and recharging time allows this electric car to be the only car a family needs where the Leaf would have to play more of a secondary role.
What do you think? Do you think the Leaf can be a family’s only car? Although both electric cars are considered to be in the same group by the general public, the overall differences make them unique, with each serving its own purpose.
Its time to sell your old gas guzzler car then!
When you are ready to make the leap into the next generation of cars, you are still going to need to sell your old gas guzzler car. So bring your used car into Big Bucks Auto and lets make a deal!