As far as we know, the first production Chevrolet Volt models are still awaiting their official EPA stickers. Nissan, though, has received the details on what the government agency has rated its all-electric Leaf at, and it looks good: a combined rating of 99 miles per gallon (equivalent) which breaks down into 106 city/92 highway. The official EPA range for the car is 73 miles, which Nissan admits is a variable (we know it can be beaten), and the annual electric cost is estimated at $561. The Leaf is the first vehicle to get this new label, Nissan spokesperson Katherine Zachary told AutoblogGreen that 99 mpg puts the Leaf way in front into the "best" fuel efficiency rating for mid-size vehicle class. It'll be interesting to see how Nissan uses this in upcoming advertisements, especially since the company has called the car a compact in the past.
So, how does the EPA calculate mpg for an electric car? Nissan's presser says the EPA uses a formula where 33.7 kWhs are equivalent to one gallon of gasoline energy. Also, the EPA determined the Leaf's efficiency is 3.4 miles per kWh, another number you can easily beat while driving, as the driver info screen can prove. Since the Leaf has a 24 kWh battery pack and can go, officially, 73 miles, then, the EPA says, it could theoretically go 99 miles if it had a 33.7 kWh pack (and everything else about the car remained the same). Make sense?
Maybe, but the car will also have another label from the Federal Trade Commission that it applies to all alternative fuel vehicles. That sticker will show that the Leaf gets 96 to 110 miles of range, so don't trust everything you see. Check out Nissan's official press release after the jump for more details.
Related Gallery2011 Nissan Leaf: First Drive
Photos copyright ©2010 Damon Lavrinc / AOL
EPA Rates THE ALL-ELECTRIC, ZERO-EMISSION, Nissan LEAF 'Best' in Class for FUEL Efficiency, Environment
– Nissan LEAF label approved as Nissan prepares for December launch –
FRANKLIN, Tenn. ( Nov. 22, 2010) – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved its fuel-economy label for the 100-percent electric Nissan LEAF, rating the vehicle to be "best" in the midsize vehicle class for fuel efficiency and "best" for the environment. The new label shows a best-in-class 99 miles-per-gallon (MPG) equivalent (combined city/highway). The MPG equivalency rating was developed by the EPA as a way to provide a standard so consumers can compare vehicles across the spectrum and make an educated purchase.
The 2011 Nissan LEAF, which uses no gas, was also rated best-in-class for the environment based on emitting zero greenhouse gases or other traditional tailpipe emissions. The label, which will be part of the Nissan LEAF's Monroney label, is now ready for placement on the vehicles in anticipation of the December launch. After completion of five-cycle testing, the EPA has rated the Nissan LEAF with an MPG equivalent of 106 city, 92 highway for a combined 99 MPGe. This calculation is based on the EPA's formula of 33.7kW-hrs being equivalent to one gallon gasoline energy. In addition, the label displays a charging time of seven hours on a 240V charge and a driving range of 73 miles, based on the five-cycle tests using varying driving conditions and climate controls. Driving range on the Nissan LEAF, as with all vehicles, varies with real-world driving conditions.
"We're pleased the label clearly demonstrates the Nissan LEAF to be a best-in-class option, reflecting that it's a pure electric vehicle, uses no gas, has no tailpipe and has zero emissions," said Scott Becker, senior vice president, Finance and Administration, Nissan Americas. "The label provides consumers with a tool to compare alternative-fuel vehicles to those with a traditional internal combustion engine and allows them to make an informed purchase decision."
Sales of the Nissan LEAF will begin in December in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Tennessee. In January 2011, sales begin in Texas and Hawaii, with additional market roll-out continuing later in 2011.
In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010 and has been recognized as a 2010 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America, the Nissan LEAF and zero emissions can be found at www.nissanusa.com.