Brad Berman - PLUGINCARS
- January 3, 2010
Before the holidays, I checked in with Tom Franklin, the San Diego man who in mid-December became the world’s second Nissan LEAF driver. At that point, he had been driving the car for about five days. Tom described the transition from a 2006 Toyota Prius to a 2011 Nissan LEAF as a paradigm shift. He contrasted what he called the “Rube Goldberg” design of internal combustion engine versus electric drive.
“In a gas car, you push on the accelerator and it pulls on a cable, which changes a valve to put more gas down a line which eventually gets to cylinders that create explosions that drive a drivetrain, that if it’s a CVT there’s some clutching in there, so there’s a lot of lag,” Tom said. “From the time you push the accelerator to when you go, what is it, a quarter of a second or a half-second, or a couple seconds.”
By contrast, Tom is struck by the LEAF’s rapid acceleration. “I push on the accelerator and it’s immediately delivering power to the wheels, at essentially the speed of light,” he said. “If I were to design a perfect car, it’s going to work like the Nissan LEAF. I push and I go.”
The electric car’s rapid acceleration is a major advantage, but Tom was equally amazed by the "small things" about the LEAF, such as how easily it connected with his iPhone. If he steps into his car while playing Pandora or a Podcast on his phone, the LEAF automatically pairs the device and starts playing the audio from his phone.... [Read More]