Not your father’s golf cart

Nobody questions whether the Tesla Roadster acts like a real car on the road: they assume that since it costs $120,000 or so, these matters have been adequately addressed by the manufacturer.

Nissan’s asking about a quarter of that for the new Leaf, which may explain their current print ad, apparently intended to assure potential buyers that yes, their little electric car can get out of its own way:

max torque — it’s that fleeting moment when a gasoline engine is strongest. unfortunately it takes a while to get there. wait no more: the Nissan LEAF electric motor gets 100% torque right off the line. so the moment you step on the pedal, wahooooo!

My own gas-engine car, powered by Nissan, reaches its torque peak at a relatively-lofty 4000 rpm, and it does take a few seconds to get there — though in the interest of fuel economy, unless you’re really pushing on the loud pedal, you’ll get an upshift long before you get there. An electric motor reaches its torque peak at zero rpm: it’s pretty much instantaneous.

I suppose the best thing about this is that Nissan is not going to try to sell the Leaf as an automotive hair shirt, to be worn in penance for all those years you wheeled around town in a bitchin’ Camaro, but as a car that can actually be enjoyed, provided you don’t have to drive all the way to, say, Wahoo, Nebraska in a single day. (Eventually, I suppose, there will be fast-charge stations along the highway.)

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