All it needs is a hand crank

The Nissan Leaf is an electric vehicle; it has no pistons, no cylinders, no valves.

It does, however, have a valve cover:

Under the hood of the Nissan Leaf

David Vespremi sees a cultural precedent for this sort of atavistic throwback:

When the television was introduced, and for literally decades afterwards, it was not uncommon for them to be housed in wooden cabinets or, in later, years, to come with faux wood finishes. The thinking was, the TV was something new and alien. So, to integrate it with our lives and, indeed, the fabric of our society, it needed first and foremost to integrate with our living rooms. Ergo, the TV became a piece of wooden furniture.

So the Leaf, inevitably, is a bit closer to Studebaker than to Star Trek. I’m not quite sure how I feel about this. If this is the powerplant of the future, it seems like it ought to look futuristic, but I hate it every time I pop the hood of a car and nothing looks familiar. So maybe this is Nissan’s sop to saps like me.


  1. Keith »

    5 November 2010 · 5:50 pm

    It would be great if they put a dipstick in it. Of course I am hearing some gas engines are now made without a dipstick. I guess the “idiot light” better tell you if your crankcase oil is low.

  2. McGehee »

    5 November 2010 · 8:45 pm

    It would be great if they put a dipstick in it.

    Well, you won’t see this dipstick in one.

  3. CGHill »

    5 November 2010 · 9:41 pm

    I remember reading on a BMW fans’ message board that some of the Bimmers that officially “don’t have dipsticks” actually have a hidden stick accessible only by the dealer — or, presumably, by civilians with access to service manuals.

    I’m pretty good about checking my oil. Nissan makes it simple by putting the stick right up front and easy to find; then you discover they made it complicated by making the stick about three feet long. The stick for the ATF is about the same length, but it has a differently-shaped grip, and it’s about eighteen inches away. (Besides, I have this delusion that I can judge ATF quality, though obviously not volume, purely by scent.)

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