While a lot of things have changed in the auto industry with the introduction of the all-electric Nissan Leaf, here’s one thing that hasn’t: Just the same way drivers of gasoline-powered vehicles occasionally find themselves out of of fuel and in need of roadside service, the same thing can happen to owners of the Leaf. So, in the same way traditional roadside assistance can handle an empty fuel tank by bringing along a few extra gallons of gas, Nissan is now working to make it just as easy for Leaf drivers to get back on the road: The automaker is teaming up with the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) to test service vehicles capable of recharging EVs without the need to tow them to a stationary charging point.
According to Franklin Nissan Dealers, the first such vehicles, developed by Nissan and operated by the JAF, are already on duty in Japan. There, according to Masakazu Kume JAF executive director, they are helping “create an environment where motorists can drive EVs with the assurance that assistance is available” and supporting that country’s adoption of EVs as an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional gas- or diesel-powered vehicles.
And Nissan’s efforts to support the Leaf are having much the same affect in the U.S., where the vehicle has been outselling the Chevrolet Volt by a rate of 2 to 1 in recent months. Certainly helping matters is the fact that the Leaf also offers more than twice the all-electric driving range of its rival, and without any tailpipe emissions of any kind—unlike the Chevy, which has to rely on emissions-producing premium gasoline when traveling more than approximately 35 miles. The Leaf, on the other hand, has an EPA-certified range of 73 miles, all of it relying solely on electric power—and that goes with the Leaf’s EPA-certified ability to achieve the equivalent of 106 mpg city/92 mpg highway/99 mpg combined.
Available in select U.S. markets now, the Nissan Leaf will continue to roll out across the country through 2012. For information on when it’s coming to your location, check with Nissan Dealers Seattle Area or a local Nissan dealer.