Cutting to the Core

Nissan announced good news yesterday (Tuesday) for motorists weary of rising gas prices. With a gallon of regular gasoline reaching a price well above $3 in Sunnyside, Nissan has revealed the price of its 100 percent electric car.

The LEAF, as it's called, will have a sticker price of $32,780. According to Nissan, the LEAF will be eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit that will bring the retail price down to $25,280.

Wow, I like that! That's a price even I can afford.

Granted, the Nissan LEAF isn't the solution to our nation's addiction to foreign oil. But it's a start, and a great one, I believe.

According to information gleaned from the Nissan website, CNN and FoxNews, the LEAF will have a range of 100 miles per charge. It would take approximately eight hours to fully charge the vehicle but there are quick-chargers available that Nissan says can replenish the batteries to 80 percent capacity in 30 minutes.

There are other drawbacks, as well. According to the Nissan website, a 220-volt charging dock will need to be installed at the vehicle owner's residence. That will run an additional $2,200, but Nissan says there is a 50 percent federal tax credit up to $2,000.

The payoff, according to Nissan, is it will cost a mere $3 to fill up.

By all accounts the LEAF is a credible car. The five-door hatchback comes with all the bells and whistles and is affordable. That's a step in the right direction.

Sure, 100 miles per charge might not seem like a lot, and maybe the vehicle isn't for you. But it can't be denied that a lot of people could benefit from this car.

Most of those people I would imagine would live in the bigger cities, where stop and go traffic is the norm and most people don't drive more than 100 miles in a day. Some do, of course, but many don't.

The goal is to cut into the number of gasoline users. This, in theory, would ease demand and hopefully bring the price of oil back down to respectable levels.

If an electric vehicle that gets 100 miles per charge can help put a dent in the world's demand for oil, imagine what an electric vehicle that gets 200 miles per charge would do? Or, how about 300 miles, maybe 400 miles?

That's change I can believe in, folks.

And I don't believe it's very far off. The other little darling of the electric car club is the Chevy Volt. This vehicle can only go about 40 miles on its charge but the car comes equipped with a small gasoline motor that provides power and recharges the batteries at the same time. Chevy claims the Volt can go hundreds of miles on a single charge and tank of gas because of this.

The plug-in hybrid is expected to retail around $40,000. Minus the $7,500 tax credit, the Volt will probably set you back $32,500.

But as competition increases I'm sure that price will go down. And the range of these cars will increase. One day, not too far off in the distant future, a family of four will be able to take a cross-country vacation by driving a fully electric car.

Nissan is working with several cities in the U.S. to install a network of public charging stations. Sunnyside is most likely not on that list, but it will be someday.

And that's a win-win-win for me. It's good for air-quality, it's good for our pocketbook and it's good for our national security.

Because I don't think anyone can argue we'll be a heck of a lot safer when we stop diverting trillions of dollars a year to the Middle East.


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