Battery-operated Leaf vehicle hits first glitch

Written by  //  April 12, 2011  //  Auto  //  No comments

Nissan Leaf

It has yet to truly hit the road and it is already hitting some bumps, of the mechanical malfunctioning kind.  The Nissan Leaf, the automaker’s first battery-powered sedan, which the local government chose earlier this year to launch an electric vehicle program on the island, has already shown signs of engine restart troubles, manufacturers in Japan said over the weekend.

On Monday, Fortune Magazine reported that the vehicle’s problems are attributed to an air conditioning system sensor that if activated, will prevent the car from restarting once it is turned off. So far, less than 500 such vehicles have been delivered to the U.S. and it will not be until the summer that they will reportedly arrive to the island.

The automaker said the total number of affected Japanese vehicles so far is small and because the flaw does not affect vehicle safety, the company has not issued a recall. “Technical glitches aren’t unusual at the start of production of new vehicles, though anything relating to Leaf is bound to draw more scrutiny than a new vehicle with an internal combustion engine since Leaf belongs to the vanguard of modern electric-vehicle technology,” Fortune magazine reported.

The Nissan Leaf retails at about $33,000, but is eligible for a federal government rebate of $7,500. The first purely electric vehicle of its kind to come off an assembly line offers 90 miles of road time per charge, which could translate into hundreds of dollars in savings on gas and a significant reduction in polluting gas emissions.

Earlier this month, the Luis Fortuño administration kicked off the start of “Earth Month” with the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Nissan Motor Corp. to make possible the introduction and use of the Leaf on the island.
For that purpose, the government is already working with several municipalities to establish a network of charging stations, where would-be Leaf owners could drive up to recharge their vehicle’s battery.

The governor also hinted at the possibility of offering local incentives to move Leaf sales. The agreement with Nissan is part of the government’s environmentally friendly platform, for which it has earmarked millions of dollars to develop ‘green’ energy projects.

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