Nissan’s first zero-emission, all-electric car, the Nissan LEAF, will be hitting Seattle streets in December. And where will you plug them in? In August 2009, a $99.8 million goverment grant to Electric Transportation Engineering Corporation (eTec) was awarded to set up electric car networks in five cities nationwide. Seattle’s portion will be used to set up around 2,550 charging systems, enabling drivers to use electric vehicles throughout the region with the security of knowing a charging station is nearby. AND, under this program, LEAF buyers will also be offered a free 220-volt charging station for home use, similar to the power level you’d use to run your dryer.
With an agreement between local goverments and Nissan North American in place, both Seattle and King County are working to get these cars into their carpools, as well as encouraging buyers to get them on the streets. Zipcar users both public and with the city will be able to drive a LEAF, too, because Zipcar is also an eTec program partner.
Plug-in locations are still being determined throughout King County, but currently scheduled for setup in Seattle are as follows:
Central Library Parking Garage- 4 stations
Fauntleroy Ferry Dock- 6 stations
King Street Center- 8 stations
Pacific Place Parking Garage- 5 stations
Pike Place- 2 stations
SeaPark Garage – 6 stations
Seattle Center, 5th Ave Parking Garage- 5 stations
UW Foster School of Business- 1 station
The LEAF is a five-passenger hatchback with sporty handling that can go about 100 miles on an eight-hour charge. At current Seattle City Light electric rates, the LEAF would cost approximately $200 to drive 10,000 miles, or around 2 cents a mile. With the same scenario, a gas-powered vehicle based on 25 mpg would cost approximately $1,220, at $3.05 per gallon. One hears about the high cost of purchasing an electric car, but the LEAF is scheduled to be priced in the range of a typical family sedan. And, you’ll be able to set your mobile phone to activate the air conditioning and the charging performance wirelessly.
If you’d like to take the future out for a spin today, Nissan is sponsoring a test drive in Tukwila from Friday through Sunday, November 12th – 14th. Register ahead of time at https://www.drivenissanleaf.com, select Events in the left column, then Seattle, and a registration form will pop up. Allow around 60-90 minutes for the test drive. If you want to go on a first-come, first-serve basis, the event takes place at Westfield Southcenter in the parking lot area north of Macy’s. Hours on Friday and Saturday are from 7am – 5pm, and Sunday from 8am- 4pm.