Nissan's 'Leaf' brings jobs, electric cars to Tucson - Tucson News Now

Nissan's 'Leaf' brings jobs, electric cars to Tucson

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By Bud Foster – email

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) - The all electric car movement ran out of gas a few years ago but it's now being revived.

The Nissan Leaf will be launched in Tucson and four other cities in December.

Initially, Tucson will get about a thousand of the cars and a couple thousand car chargers will be strategically places all around town.

The car will cost about $32,000 but there will be a $7,000 federal rebate making it more affordable.

"In order for any type of vehicle to be successful , we have to make it available to everyone," says Colleen Crowninshield, manager of the Tucson Clean Cities program for the Pima Association of Governments. "I think $25,000 for a brand new car is very affordable."

It's a public/private partnership to help wean people off of fossil fuels and it's a risk.

Brent Sandweiss, whose company Tucson Rental Properties, is building a new apartment complex on the far eastside, had a Charge Point electric car charger installed before the complex is finished.

It's a selling point and something he will offer his residents for free.

"It's to step up and show our customers that we're investing in the future in a smart way," he says. "They see that and they respect that and they're part of this grand experiment with us."

Nearly every major car maker will be introducing an all electric car this year.

Some people are confused by hybrids, which are part electric/part combustible. The Leaf will be all electric.

But that brings up a couple of problems which need to be addressed.

One is, how far can I go.

"The average Tucsonan drives about 50 miles a day," Crowninshield says.

The average electric car will go 100 miles on a full charge. 

The second problem is how long do I have to wait to charge with car.

"Most of the charging will be done overnight," she says.

But a company in Scottsdale, eTec, has developed a system which can give an adequate charge in only 15 minutes and that's expected to come down.

Ecotality, the parent company, has received a $99 million dollar grant to further interest in the all electric car.

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