Nissan Leaf Scores 99 MPGe EPA Rating

People have been wondering how the EPA would rate the Nissan Leaf. The normal “miles per gallon” didn’t make sense because the car uses electricity, not gas. The results are finally in, and the vehicle has scored a 99 MPGe. That stands for “Miles Per Gallon equivalent.”

Now we have to wait and see how the EPA rates the Chevy Volt. That car uses electricity for the first 40 miles before the gasoline engine kicks in, making the calculations a bit trickier.

For more info, check out Consumer Reports guide to best cars for fuel economy.

Nissan Leaf: 99 miles per gallon [CNNMoney]


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  1. The cake is a lie! says:

    I don’t know if even 99 mpg is worth driving a car that looks like it was designed by Dr. Seuss. That thing is nearly as ugly as the Cube. Blech…!

    • The cake is a lie! says:

      here’s the other thing.. “speeds up to 90 mph” and “100 mile range” are pretty much deal breakers. This thing is going to drive like shit when it has 500 lbs of people and cargo in it. It is going to only be useful as a city commuter. If I see one of these on the freeway I’m going to get out of the way. It is going to have zero on-ramp power and zero passing power. At only 100 miles on a charge, it isn’t going to be a viable commuter car for anybody commuting an hour each way into work. Most parking lots are not electric car friendly, so charging this at work is not going to be an option for very many people.

      Bottom line… This car is a horrible idea. It is way over priced for what it is. Even after the tax credits you may or may not get, the car is still going to cost between 25 and 32 thousand dollars. I can think of a number of cars that get 35+ mpg which fall under that price range. Sure you aren’t going to feel cool saving the environment and all, but you won’t look like a stupid tree hugger who blew too much money on a car with less power than a 250cc scooter.

      • Gulliver says:

        So based on the number YOU used, that is a savings of about 65 MPG. This car is not designed for trips across country, BUT the average person who commutes to work is within a 30 mile radius. let’s use 35 miles each way to and from work as an example. That means 2 gallons of gas used or $6 per day. Lets say you work 50 weeks a year. That translates into $1500 a year in fuel cost. Multiply that by 5 years and you have $7500 (assuming gas stays at only $3/gal)
        MSRP is $32780 with a $7500 federal tax credit for a cost of around $25,280. Then take into account fuel savings of $7500 over 5 years and that translates into a car UNDER $18000.
        This car might not work for everybody, but guess what, neither do Hummers, or Corvettes, or Explorers, or Tauruses.
        As for work places not having charging stations, that is the egg or chicken first argument. Workplaces and cities will start having charging stations when there are electric cars on the road.

        Finally, THE ENVIRONMENT MATTERS. If you think carbon monoxide from cars does not matter, why not sit in your garage with the car running and the door closed and tell me how “safe” it is for your environment.

        • The cake is a lie! says:

          blah blah blah…

          300 million people on this earth. At least 100 million internal combustion engines spewing junk into the atmosphere. yet somehow the five or six thousand electric cars that are sold over the next three or four years is going to solve that problem. Hmmm… Gotcha.

          Electric cars aren’t the solution. Cleaner fuel is the solution.

          Besides, buying this car is just financially irresponsible. Sure you don’t spend the money on gas, but you will spend that and more on maintenance and what you lose in resale value because nobody will touch a used electric car that hasn’t had the battery replaced recently. Those batteries can cost thousands and thousands of dollars. They are the majority of the cost on a Segway, in fact. So if you are rich and dumb and really really care about the small reduction in emissions you are going to be influancing on your short commute to and from work, then go for it. Just stay out of my polluting V8 AWD way or we are going to find out how much body work costs on your nice little toy.

          • human_shield says:

            Did an electric car run over your cat or something? You have some serious anger there.

          • drizzt380 says:

            You mean you are going to find out how much bodywork costs right? Cause its not going to bother me.

            But what exactly would you term ‘cleaner’ fuel? Electricity is the ‘fuel’. And it can be acquired with less pollution. So there. We solved the problem.

        • bassbeast says:

          But carbon monoxide, once exposed to the molecules in the air, becomes cardon DIoxide. While it’s not that great, at least it’s not as toxic. Remember high school chem class?

      • ARP says:

        Give me cites for the poor performance. Here are mine:

        You’re just a FUD Troll.

      • chaesar says:

        do you regularly drive faster than 90mph?

        • The cake is a lie! says:

          It’s not about driving the maximum speed, it is about acceleration. Something that only has a top speed of 90 MPH isn’t going to get there very quickly. So if you are following this vehicle up an onramp to the freeway, be prepared for a 0-60 time of about 3 minutes.

          • human_shield says:

            Logic fail. Low top speed does not mean slow acceleration.

          • ARP says:

            Again- Give me cites. Everything I read says it’s fine, even better than similar sized cars. You’re a troll otherwise.

          • ccooney says:

            Electrics have their max torque at 0 RPM, so it’s probably fine. Go test drive one if you care.

          • livingthedreamrtw says:

            Speed =/ Acceleration. Or did you not take Physics class? Just because it can’t go faster than 90 doesn’t mean it cant get to 90 fast. That is why they have the metric of measuring how fast it takes to go 0-60. Top speed doesn’t mean bunk. Just because a Ferrari can get ~200+ mph and get to 60 wicked fast does not mean the two are linked. The Leaf could be designed to have 90 max (because who goes above 90 except moronic drivers anyway?) but get to 60 as fast as all others.

      • moses says:

        That’s alot of negativity for someone that hasn’t experienced the actual car yet. You mention that it, ” is going to only be useful as a city commuter” I believe that is the purpose of the Leaf, it is not meant for offroading or drag racing or escaping the zombie apocalypse. You seem to hate the car because it does not do everything you imagine a car should do, but I don’t think that it is reasonable to hate a car because it is not perfect for every task.
        I am interesting in getting a Leaf but not because i’m a “stupid tree hugger who blew too much money on a car” but because I don’t like buying gas from those countries that, to me, are barbaric in the treatment of their women and have a hateful theocracy.
        I am interested in the Leaf because I believe it is one step towards a more independent America and maybe you are right that I am “dumb and really really care about the small reduction in emissions you are going to be influancing on your short commute to and from work,” but I believe someone must take the first step, and if I am able to I shall or we will be at the whim of barbarians.

    • ohiomensch says:

      It doesnt look all that different from a Yaris or a Fit.

  2. danmac says:

    That’s pretty awesome, however I would like to point out that the MPG was calculated using an average cost of 12 cents per kilowatt hour. In higher cost markets, that isn’t even close to the cost of electricity. For example, the cost per kilowatt hour in San Francisco is about 23-24 cents, roughly twice the number they’re using. This means that while the Leaf may be a great bargain in eastern Washington (8 cents/hr = 150 MPG!), in San Francisco it’s roughly cost equivalent to a Toyota Prius.

    • mythago says:

      Good point. I’d also be concerned about charging stations – like biodiesel, they are a lot more available some places than others.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Charging station infrastructure is being developed. But I wonder if those electricity costs will be the same as at my home. Our utilities incorporates summer pricing, which over a base amount is quite expensive. If these charging stations are subject a premium in the summer, then it’s not very useful for me. I would want to avoid charging at home.

        • Gulliver says:

          MOST people would charge in the evening when rates are usually significantly lower. If you put in solar panels, then you could actually have your car charged for free. Tesla Motors has an existing EV on the road and its users LOVE IT.

    • GearheadGeek says:

      The MPGe is calculated on kWh equivalence between gasoline and electricity, the “annual electric cost” is based on the 12 cents/kWh. The cost of electricity and gasoline have no bearing on MPGe.

      • danmac says:

        You’re arguing my lazy semantics. That doesn’t change the crux my point: when the cost of electricity is far more fluid than the price of gasoline, the car is amazingly viable in some markets and not practical in others.

        Per the EPA, the car travels 100 miles on 34 kwh’s of electricity.

        In eastern Washington, 34 kwh x .08 per hour = $2.72 for 100 miles travelled.

        In San Francisco, 34 kwh x .24 per hour = $8.16 for 100 miles travelled.

        • GearheadGeek says:

          I wasn’t arguing the cost point at all. I was arguing your wholly incorrect assertion that the car would be rated at 150 MPGe if the electric rate is 8 cents/kWh instead of 12, and I reiterated that the cost of operation is what’s affected by the electrical rate.

        • kc2idf says:

          Yes, but by comparison, a gas-powered Nissan Sentra gets 32 MPG (at least mine does) and that 100 miles, therefore, requires 3.125 gallons of regular-grade gasoline. At $3.079/gal, (my local fuel cost), that’s $9.62.

          Compared to the cost of 34kWh of electricity locally (16¢/kWh), which is $5.44, this is very viable. Even at 24¢/kWh, where, as you say, the cost would be $8.16, there would be a (recognizably small) savings.

          The price of electricity, however, is less volatile than the price of gasoline. This predictability is a nice bonus. I guarantee that the $3.079 price I cited a moment ago will be something different this time next week, but the 16¢/kWh won’t.

    • nybiker says:

      Question: Are people talking about just the cost of the electricity itself? Or are we including the delivery charge and taxes?
      For me, here in NYC, I have an ESCO with a 10.2 cents per Kwh charge for the next year or so. But Con Ed still charges a basic account fee and delivery fee (per Kwh) and all their associated fees/surcharges/taxes/whatnot (and yes, they only ‘collect’ things like sales taxes since they pass them on to the state). So for my recent bill where it is noted that I used 500 Kwh over the course of 29 days, the cost of the juice is just $51, but Con Ed adds $68.49 for a grand total of $119.49. So, to me, my cost is $0.23898 per KwH.

      • wryknow says:

        wow , now that is a racket if I ever heard one.

        In San Antonio we have a publicly owned electric co-op called City Public Service. Profits go to streets, lights and other infrastructure.
        We have a straight out KWH fee plus various taxes and fees for a total of .072c per KWH.

  3. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    Not great, but it’s a start. For commuters who only travel between 15 and 60 or so miles to and from work (and who can plug in when they get to work), this could be a viable transportation option.

    As battery technology and the swap-out battery options improve, so should the cars and the number of sales.

  4. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    That’s $46.75/month of energy use. That would be savings for me per month, assuming that it’s the same milage. I can’t tell from this diagram (or the article) how many miles that $561 encompasses.

    • acknight says:

      It’s hard to read in the fine print – but that’s based on 15,000 miles at the stated kW-hrs per 100 miles rate, using an electric rate of 12 cents per kW-hr.

  5. dognose says:

    Ok, so they are doing it on the basis of cost. That’s great. But for those worried about their carbon footprint, they should note that the MPGeC(arbon) would be much lower in comparison as electricity from coal generates much more CO2 for the price.

    • ARP says:

      Charging an electric car with the dirtiest coal plant better than using an equivalent number of ICE’s due to the efficiency of these plants.

  6. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    Feh. I’ll buy an Electric car the day they make it look like a Morris Mini Cooper S.

  7. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    Umm…the thing got EPA tested for range at like 73 miles. Good luck getting your “99.”

    Also, I’d like to see the MPGe incorporate the pollution created getting the electricity generated an to the car.

    …and I’d also like to see the plan, and the budget, for a whackload of new nuclear reactors and a new smart grid to support a significant number of EVs.

    Biofuels please. Ones made from offal and/or otherwise non-dedicated crops and/or don’t use any arable land etc. Maybe algae.

    • coren says:

      99 mpg(e) doesn’t mean it has to be able to travel 99 miles per charge.

    • GearheadGeek says:

      A lot of FUD gets thrown around about how electric vehicles are going to destroy the electric grid. What people fail (or refuse) to realize is that there is a HUGE amount of excess electric capacity during off-peak times, and that actually is one of the biggest inefficiencies in the current system. Most electric generation facilities don’t throttle up and down very quickly or cheaply, and there are limited opportunities for large-scale storage of excess power, so they have to size generation capacity for the peaks and waste or idle capacity during the other 22 or so hours of the day.

      All that’s necessary is to push the EV charging load into off-peak hours (like evenings and nights when the things are parked at home, plugged into their charging stations) and not only will the current electrical delivery system handle LOTS of EVs, but it’ll improve the net efficiency of the grid as a whole just by using up some of the wasted off-peak capacity.

      • neilb says:

        If only we could have spare batteries (even smaller capacity ones) that charge at night so we can always be sure to have a charge.
        Of course, these could contribute to the grid during peak times.
        There are so many things that need to happen with power over the next 50 years!

        Seriously, battery tech and a sensible/monitored grid connection would do wonders for the whole system, but we can barely get anyone to use an AC compressor cutoff that would run for 10 minutes a year.

        I do wonder if the Leaf is premature due to our USE of the grid. It could certainly be better, after all.

      • JiminyChristmas says:

        That’s true to a point but the power generator still has to plan to meet peak load at all places and times and the introduction of EVs will make that more difficult.

        Also, it’s a distribution problem as well as one of capacity. A Leaf charging station on a 220v outlet will draw about 3.3kw. This is a generalization, but that’s sort of like adding another house to your neighborhood’s transformer. That equipment is sized for a particular size load and if we reach the point where maybe 1 in 10 households have an electric car infrastructure upgrades will be required.

        You can certainly encourage people to charge during off-peak periods but as it is a lot of utilities aren’t even set up to bill residential properties variable rates based on peak usage. Likewise, load shifting is not going to eliminate situations like a hot summer afternoon when everyone is running central AC and folks come home from a round of errands and plug in their car.

        Another thing worth mentioning, with a Leaf charging station the quickest charge you can get at home is ~7 hours on a 220v circuit. The superfly 30 minute charge isn’t possible without 3 phase 480v, which isn’t possible with most residential electrical service.

    • ARP says:

      The dirtiest coal plants are cleaner than an equivalent number of ICE’s due to efficiency and economies of scale. Not saying that its 100% clean, but its still much cleaner than ICE’s. Also a large portion of the US gets its power from “clean” sources, so its even better under those scenario’s.

      It’s on the whole cleaner to build new plants (but see other comments about the actual need to build in the near term) than to stay with ICE’s, even using biodiesel.

      These are common Faux News FUD arguments that have taken on a life of their own since they thinks its clever to stump a treehugger with a “gotcha” misrepresentation.

  8. Justin D. Morgan says:

    I was beginning to doubt the math, but comparing the BTU content of gasoline to the BTU content of electricity, 99MPGe is about right. (I calculated that you would have to get 108 miles on one gallon of gas to obtain the efficiency of the Leaf. However, I am not sure if the number I have is was adjusted for 10% ethanol gas.)

    I also think it is misleading that the EPA chooses to label this car as producing no greenhouse gases. While that is technically correct (the CAR does not produce any), the fuel source used to generate the electricity might have. But I will counter my own argument: not all sources of power generate equal amounts of greenhouse gasses, and it is easier to scrub the carbon emissions of one power plant vs. all of the cars that plant could power.

  9. Groanan says:

    If anyone in the automobile industry (outside of Tesla) sees these comments:

    Please stop making stupid looking vehicles with no get-up-and-go.

    Think not only of the drivers, but also everyone else who has to put up with these monstrosities.

    • ARP says:

      It has better acceleration that a Yaris, Fit, and many other small cars. The advantage of an electric is that it has 100% torque available at all times.

      Please provide a cite to how slow it is.

      • GearheadGeek says:

        Not quite. It has 100% of its rated torque available at 0 RPM, but the available torque drops off at higher RPMs. So, EVs are quick off the line, but for the same amount of rated power as an ICE they may be a little more sluggish in high-RPM operation. This depends on the type of motor and how the gearing is set up, etc. There’s no reason for EVs to be poor performers but they’re not perfect.

      • Groanan says:

        There seems to be conflicting reports about the leafs 0-60 speeds.
        Either it is a speedy 7 seconds or a sluggish 10 seconds.
        Other cars with the dual engines are getting the later (they are unnecessarily heavy).

        Either way the leaf is not aesthetically pleasing to me.

        Personally I am waiting for something along the visual lines of the Honda CRX, Ford Probe, or Acura Integra – a small (but not tiny) two door vehicle with a small backseat and a hatchback, but I want one that can do 0-60 in 8 seconds or faster and one that runs on an electric engine that can drive 400 miles on a charge. I’ll probably be waiting until 2020.

        • ARP says:

          I love these comments. I want an electric car that drives 1000 miles, gets 0-60 in 2 seconds, looks just like a regular car, and costs less than regular car.

          OK, how do you propose that they develop such a car if nobody will buy the first few generations? Do you honestly think they’ll pop out with the perfect car the first time with zero money coming in for 10+ years?

          Guess what, the first generation most new technology, computer’s, walk-mans, mobile phones, VCR’s, etc. sucked. But enough people bought them so that they could improve them and drive the costs down.

          • Groanan says:

            I said that I would probably be waiting until 2020.

            Hybrid cars are non-starters because they carry the weight of two engines for the extra comfort have having a gasoline back up. That comfort will no longer be needed once batteries are improved, and batteries are improving.

            I am also not asking for 2 seconds, I am asking for 8.

            The aesthetic qualities I am asking for have been around for thirty years.
            Everyone seems fit to impersonate the prius as that design = saving the environment?

    • HappyFunTimes says:

      I’m guessing you need 230+ horsepower to take the kids to soccer or haul the groceries in from SAMS? We have an excess of horsepower in this country. It encourages poor driving habits with low mpg yields. Unless you are in construction or similar, you don’t really need more than 100+ hp.

      • Groanan says:

        No, I need 230 horsepower to avoid being destroyed by the soccer mom driving a tank at 80 mph.

        I have had too many close calls to settle for anything that cannot speed up / break / maneuver as well as what I have now (a 2001 Acura 3.2 TL).

        There is too much horsepower on the road, I agree with you, but unless they nerf all new vehicles to a lower standard, thereby making us all safer, I am not going to be the poor guy in a SMART car being air lifted by helicopter due to a fender bender.

        It is a veritable arms race; cars are getting larger and heavier because they need to be to be safe on the road.

        I do not need to get-up-and-go because I am an impatient person, or because I am always running late (I’m an arrive early type of person), I need the get-up-and-go so I can avoid accidents.

  10. chucklebuck says:

    They seem to have gotten the math wrong. I come up with #DIVISION BY ZERO ERROR# miles per gallon.

    • ARP says:

      Which is why they use Miles Per Gallon EQUIVALENT. It’s basically taking the average cost of electricity, comparing it to the average cost of a gallon of gas, and getting your MPGe.

      • GearheadGeek says:

        No, it has NOTHING to do with cost. It takes the amount of usable chemical energy in a gallon of gas, 33.7 kWh and uses that to convert the car’s range per kWh to the equivalent range per gallon of gasoline. The costs are variable and unpredictable, the physical constants are… well, constant.

  11. DoctorMD says:

    And how about needing to replace the Li Ion batteries every 2-4 years? Until there is a breakthrough in battery technology electric cars are a no go.

    • Zeniq says:

      Where’d you get that idea? Source please.

      From what I have heard, it is rare to have to replace the battery even in a 2001 Prius at this point, let alone a 2011 vehicle. 2-4 years? More like 10.

      • Maximus Pectoralis says:

        Prius uses NiMH cells. They are less expensive and less sensitive to environmental factors, but they wear down mainly based on the number of discharge / recharge cycles.

        Also consider the Prius is primarily gas powered with the electrical system for enhanced efficiency.

        The Leaf uses Lithium Ion batteries which are much more sensitive to environmental factors, especially heat. They also generally degrade over time — life reduction from discharge and recharge will probably be due to rapid heating of the cells. The official life stated by Nissan is “5 to 10 years”

        If you’ve ever owned a laptop computer you are probably aware that Li Ion batteries tend not to last as long as you’d like. And to replace them in the Leaf would be well over $10,000 based on the capacity (24MWh) and estimated cost per MWh (472/mwh)

    • The cake is a lie! says:

      I’ll bet it will cost five grand to replace those batteries if it costs a dime. That is going to be the most expensive part of these things. That is going to make the resale value absolutely horrible. Nobody is going to want to buy one that has 30K miles on it and never had the battery replaced. Look for a 70% decrease in value in the first three years.

  12. cashxx says:

    They mention the chevy volt at 40 miles…..I believe they lowered that to something lower. Well now I am reading 25-50 miles depending on how you drive and conditions.

    • GearheadGeek says:

      That’s the Volt’s electric-only range you’re talking about, not its MPGe in electric operation. The last I heard, GM is waiting for the EPA to provide their window stickers so they can start delivering the Volts, there apparently are some that are complete and ready to go to dealers to fill orders as soon as the EPA gets the ratings out.

  13. neilb says:

    – I like the looks. It is similar to a Versa (which we bought last year and still find reasons to enjoy). I understand why some people don’t like the looks. It is not meant for everyone. I don’t like the traditional SUV appearance, but it is not “my” segment, so that is ok.

    – No one should be concerned with oomph on vehicles that run on electric motors. They CRUSH internal combustion engines for off-the-line horsepower. They are at max torque immediately. They are a mind-blowingly different and enlightening drive. We should welcome this change!

    – If these were half the price then I would consider replacing my Corolla with the Leaf for commuting. It would also have to be as reliable around -10 F without a charger for 10 hours while I am at work during the winter.

  14. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Pity that my daily commute is about 120 miles.

  15. Hi_Hello says:

    i wonder if you still need to get yearly state emission test….