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  1.  (6539.1)
    The Nissan LEAF is an actual battery-powered electric car - as opposed to a plug-in hybrid like the Chevy Volt.

    It goes on sale next year and the price should be around US$15,000. That's for a car with a 90 MPH top speed and 100 mile range.

    But down the track, things get really interesting. The LEAF is designed for inductive charging - meaning i draws power from a nearby charged coil of wire without needing to actually be plugged in. The eventual goal is to build those coils into roadways - so the car can recharge on the go possible having virtually unlimited range.
    • CommentAuthorBoga_
    • CommentTimeAug 7th 2009
     (6539.2)
    It's a shame the car is fucking hideous.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeAug 7th 2009 edited
     (6539.3)
    Do you mean this:

    the prototype

    or this:

    the production model

    I agree about the first one but that was apparently a "mule" - an early testbed intended to prove the technology.

    Apart from the bump on the back, I don't think the production model looks too bad,
    • CommentAuthorBoga_
    • CommentTimeAug 7th 2009
     (6539.4)
    Hadn't seen the new one yet, all I saw on tv was that horrible one that looked like a square(r) mini.
    Good show.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeAug 7th 2009 edited
     (6539.5)
    The scary thing is that the first one is based on an actual production car from Japan - think it's called a "Boxster".
  2.  (6539.6)
    Found it - the Nissan Cube.

    •  
      CommentAuthorrickiep00h
    • CommentTimeAug 7th 2009 edited
     (6539.7)
    That second one definitely fits into the Prius/Ford Focus design space.

    As for the concept, that's fantastic. My only question is how powerful the coils have to be to charge such a vehicle. Would it, say, wipe my credit cards and my magnetic data backup? I'll have to check the link. EDIT: I checked. Doesn't really address an answer, but it brings up the same question. So it's obviously something on people's minds.

    So far, though, I'm for it. The range is a little short for me if I plan on going to Indianapolis or Chicago, but it would be fantastic for an urban vehicle.
    • CommentAuthor/
    • CommentTimeAug 7th 2009
     (6539.8)
    Yeah. America will love this.

    <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMc2RdFuOxI"></a>
  3.  (6539.9)
    Still fucking hideous. And the 100 mph range? That's cruising range, meaning the actual range is much lower in traffic or other areas where acceleration is happening at inconsistent, slow rates. The best improvement over horrible electric cars like the, say, Tesla Roadster, is (Allegedly) fast recharge times of 80% battery charge in under an hour. And a lot of electric cars have been promised 90 mph or better, and frequently failed to deliver. I won't pass judgment on this for now, but I remain skeptical of the things until I see vast technological improvements. As anyone that follows my car Tumblr knows, I did a road test of a Tesla a month or two back, and they were, in a word, awful. So bad, in fact, that when I asked the guy from Tesla why it was that bad, he responded by telling me that they weren't designed to be used in the rain.
    • CommentAuthor/
    • CommentTimeAug 7th 2009
     (6539.10)
    <blockquote>they weren't designed to be used in the rain.</blockquote>That's fucked up. If you can't trust your car on a wet road, then you need to get that fixed.
  4.  (6539.11)
    The Tesla in general has so many problems that I never thought it would be a viable road car. For a lot of people, electrics won't be for many, many years. For instance, I travel to Louisville and Lexington at least a couple times a month. Even if a magic road suddenly appeared that led in a straight line from my door to those cities, I'd be pushing the operational ranges of the electrics car on the market just to get there, and in the case of Louisville there's no way I could make it there on one charge with the leaf. The reason that I say the leaf is a big improvement is because of the supposedly great recharge times, which means that a trip to Lexington is now a one-day viability. The 10+ hour recharge time on the Tesla would make such a trip a two or three day affair. Electrics are great for people that live in Urban areas, don't have far to drive, and don't plan on leaving their area often. For now though, they simply aren't viable alternatives for people like me. I'd much rather have a hydrogen, but the myths about their safety seem to be doing a lot to derail that idea. (Well that, and massive costs, which I do suppose is a legitimate problem). I don't forsee electrics becoming widely popular until long-range, fast charge batteries with a long life that can be charged passively (the previously mentioned coil idea, or more ideally efficient solar) and still provide performance are released, which doesn't seem to be coming anytime in the next few years. There are also big environmental factors to consider with electric; where's the power that's producing them come from? What happens with all of the batteries that die? My point is, people seem to have this idea that electric vehicles are sort of the grand Messiah's of global warming, the end-all be-all transportation alternative that eats Nazi's and shits gold. I'd much rather see some healthy skepticism on electrics with the aim of improving both transportation environmental consciousness, drivability, safety, etc.
    • CommentAuthor/
    • CommentTimeAug 7th 2009
     (6539.12)
    Brandon - I don't know about all this computerized engine shit. My car's in the shop now because a circuit got wet.

    Seriously. I had a leak in the sunroof and now my car doesn't run right. SCIENCE HAS FUCKED ME
  5.  (6539.13)
    @sleepless_criminal

    And that's why I love an old American Muscle Car. You can literally run them into a wall and still go. Of course, you'll pay a small fortune to get you from your house to that wall, but at least you won't break down. I lost all faith in computers in cars when one told me my 3.5 Liter, V6 engine was getting 78 miles to the gallon while accelerating up a hill at 80 mph. And it's just got too much room to fail even when being done right; the BMW M6 for instance, which has to be programmed before each run (you set it's horse power, torque, gear-ratio, etc.) Which can be useful if you plan on racing the thing often, but otherwise would just get really annoying.
    • CommentAuthor/
    • CommentTimeAug 7th 2009
     (6539.14)
    Honestly? I don't know if this is politically correct or not, but I'd trade my luxury sedan for my old '76 Nova in a heartbeat.
  6.  (6539.15)
    Heh... I'm driving a '69 Nova Funny Car as a semi-pro drag racer right now. I know exactly what you mean :)
    • CommentAuthor/
    • CommentTimeAug 7th 2009
     (6539.16)
    *sigh*

    Man, that's like you're showing off my first love. Damn, I miss that car. :(
    • CommentAuthorFan
    • CommentTimeAug 7th 2009
     (6539.17)
    > The eventual goal is to build those coils into roadways

    At what cost per mile? I'm finding it hard to imagine any situation where that would be economically sound. Would your first plan be to do it on an inter-city highway (where you need a range of more than 100 km)? On one specialized road, such as between a city and its airport? Or covering a whole city (so that, for example, Singapore could replace its entire fleet with electric cars)?
  7.  (6539.18)
    I'm also wondering about the health effects of such coils. We know that people that live underneath or near large power lines have been shown to have a number of health problems. What would such coils cause?
    • CommentAuthor/
    • CommentTimeAug 7th 2009
     (6539.19)
    <blockquote>What would such coils cause? </blockquote>

    <img src="http://www.coverbrowser.com/image/amazing-spider-man/9-4.jpg" alt="" />

    ok, I guess i should step aside now...
  8.  (6539.20)
    I am still waiting for an explanation of where the electricity for electric cars will actually come from. In some parts of the US there are still rolling blackouts in the summer when everyone is running the air conditioning. What happens in August when heat causes the efficiency of the batteries to drop and everyone needs to charge up? Adding new power plants isn’t easy in America; if you’re outside the southeast there’s nothing that won’t encounter fierce resistance from environmental activists and NIMBYs. Solar charging systems won’t do much good unless they’re set up en masse in office parking lots or at homes with batteries to store a charge for the owners to tap after work, either option is quite expensive. Has anyone seen proposals for actually powering the electric cars? Because I suspect that the reason I haven’t seen one is that nobody expects electric cars to matter for decades and that what is being done now is just for the sake of PR.