I have to admit, being raised on big-block, mega-horsepower, gas-guzzling V8s, I was more than mildly skeptical about Electric Vehicles (EVs) — until I actually drove one. I came away a believer that EVs are the future — not everyone’s future — but for a lot of folks, it will be. While the automotive industry has seriously experimented with alternative fuels (remember hydrogen fuel cells?) for the past decade, it seems they’ve finally settled on electricity as the alternative power source.
Just to clarify the difference between a hybrid and an EV, hybrids, such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight, run on a combination of gasoline and battery power, while a pure EV is 100 percent battery-powered.
Nissan is committed to EVs — so much so, it will offer an EV version of a new commercial van, the NV2500, it will debut in 2011. Company CEO Carlos Ghosn stated without hesitation, “A new era is beginning in the global automotive industry. At Nissan and Renault, we are working together to lead the way to mass market zero emission mobility.” Ghosn is car guy in the Lee Iacocca mold. He “gets it” about what consumers want, and his stunning success turning Nissan, and its luxury brand, Infiniti, around by delivering some of the best selling product on the market proves that.
Nissan has put its money where its mouth is, gambling almost a billion dollars over more then a decade that the Leaf will change the way we drive. And make no mistake, EVs are coming — The high-performance Tesla sports car hit the market last year, and 2011 will see Ford debut an electric version of its Focus, along with the long-anticipated Chevy Volt, Mini E, Mitsubishi MiEv, and a plug in version of the Toyota Prius. The 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show previewed no less then 20 EVs — some from manufacturers you’ve never heard of.