Roll up in a Leaf

Nis­san’s much-hyped plug-in elec­tric car is here

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News -

sup­ply to juice up the un­der­floor bat­tery pack.

A cut­ting edge telem­at­ics sys­tem con­nected to a global data cen­tre al­lows the driver’s smart­phone to re­motely set charge op­tions, in­clud­ing tak­ing ad­van­tage of off-peak rates. But the Leaf is launch­ing head-on into the car­bon tax— which will raise elec­tric­ity costs af­ter July 1.

The gen­eral view is the car­bon tax will lead to elec­tric­ity prices go­ing up about 8 per cent, says Chris Giaoris of Ori­gin En­ergy, which is sup­ply­ing the Leaf charge points.

The car also faces an ac­knowl­edged re­sis­tance to the new tech­nol­ogy and con­cern about plug-in range. ‘‘ There is some re­luc­tance, not just in Aus­tralia, but in ev­ery coun­try,’’ says Nis­san global head of prod­uct strat­egy and ad­vanced plan­ning Fran­cois Ban­con.

‘‘ We are im­prov­ing the tech­nol­ogy, we are tar­get­ing bet­ter econ­omy and we plan to dou­ble the range in an­other four or five years.

‘‘ The an­swer is in the in­fras­truc­ture, where you can one day drive from one city to an­other and along the way pull into a sta­tion and charge in 10 min­utes while you have a cup of cof­fee. But the govern­ment has to sup­port this ap­proach and in Aus­tralia it has not, so far.’’

Nis­san doesn’t expect the Leaf to sell hugely, say­ing it is spear­head­ing a push for the range of mod­els com­ing be­hind it.

‘‘ We’re talk­ing about just hun­dreds a year,’’ Nis­san spokesman Jeff Fisher says. ‘‘ It’s about elec­tric car aware­ness, so we want to take one step at a time.

‘‘ This is ba­si­cally the thin end of the wedge. We’ve al­ways talked about hav­ing a suite of elec­tric ve­hi­cles: a fam­ily hatch, we talked about a two-seater city run­about, a lux­ury ver­sion that could be un­der the In­finiti brand. We talked about a com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle. All are out there.’’

Eco­nom­i­cal: The­new­five-seater Nis­san Leaf tops up from a charg­ing sta­tion (left) or a do­mes­tic sup­ply

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