Nissan Leaf

The new 2010 Nissan Leaf, the first mass produced electric car entrant in the U.S. and other major markets, is catching a lot of attention these days.  What a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and your entire family’s carbon footprint!

You may have seen the provocative polar bear commercial during the NFL 2010 Kickoff Game last Thursday night (Polar Commercial On You Tube)  or read an article about the 15,000 pre-orders as of June 2010 and Nissan‘s modest estimates to sell 25,000 electric vehicles in the U.S. by March 2011, in AutoBlogGreen.

Right now, the upfront cost offset is sweet with a federal rebate is $7500,…. PLUS an added bonus in states like Tennessee that are offering a $2500 rebate for the first 1,000 buyers.   Pack up the car, we’re moving to Tennessee.

Environmentalist and Green Blizzard say that these electric cars are a step in the right direction, but unless certain legislative actions are taken, their impact will be mixed and the full potential benefit unrealized.

If the Leaf is charged with 100% coal power, it wouldn’t be much greener than a regular car.   In a state like California where the electric grid has half the carbon intensity of the overall U.S. electric grid (because of its mix of power plants of natural gas (55%), nuclear (17%), and only 1% coal), it will be more of a positive benefit than if the Leaf operated in another state that’s more coal intensive. 

For those future Nissan Leaf owners who have their own local source of clean renewable power, (photovoltaic on their roofs or backyard) it will make a big difference.   But results will be marginal, until legislation mitigates the U.S. reliance on coal and gas generated electricity.  Parallel to this, we need a continued roll-out of smart meters across the U.S..   Smart meters will encourage re-charging in the wee hours of the morning, when excess electricity is available and unused.   These combined factors will reduce everyone’s carbon footprint

Cyclist, naturally prefer electrics and hybrids.  You can literally taste the difference between diesel particle spewing vehicles and these cleaner versions as you are sharing the road. Lance Armstrong endorses the Nissan Leaf from a cyclists point of view.

It is great that the marketplace is moving in this direction, but legislation has to move in step with shifting consumer preferences and climate-light options like this car in order to realize the true benefits.

Consider buying a Nissan Leaf, its probably the single largest action you can take to dramatically reduce your carbon footprint.

Be sure to check out our green lifestyle store Green Blizzard Store. Read these related Green Blizzard articles: Seafood Watch, Are We Eating Fish Into Extinction, Carbon Impact of Meats.


About the author

Keith Blizzard

A life-long environmentalist, Keith set out on the never ending journey of adjusting his lifestyle to a more sustainable one, with a goal of annually shrinking his carbon footprint. When he looked around for a dependable source of meaningful carbon footprint reduction ideas, it was pretty lame - so he launched Green Blizzard loaded with eco-friendly lifestyle tweaks. When he's not managing Green Blizzard, you'll find him on the trails around Mid Coast Maine with his trusty trail companion mutt, Moose.