Last weekend I got to go to 2011 Utah International Auto Expo. I saw some cool cars and I saw some seriously bland cars.  There were a few cars that left me scratching my head. Basically they were cars that made me question the intelligence of the car manufacture.

The biggest automotive gaff was the Nissan Leaf.

My question was who the hell buys this car?

The first problem is the price which is $32,780 minus a $7500 Federal tax credit if you are eligible.  Are they serious $32k for a compact car that doesn’t even come with leather?  You could buy a nice Audi A3 and get leather, reasonable performance and 30mpg for 5k less.

But wait there is more cost…

The Leaf is charged using high voltage (480 volts of 3 phase power). That isn’t your normal garden variety home outlet.   Enter the Nissan’s certified Electrical Engineer.  Nissan will charge you $100 for an evaluation of your homes electrical status.   If you qualify you will get to spend another $3000 to install a charging system.  Let me get this straight I have to have a Nissan approved engineer rate my house and then pay to have another Nissan certified electrician wire it?   Who the hell is going to do this?

Now Real Life Scenarios Living La Vida Electric

How many miles will you get between charges?

EPA says 73 but in reality anywhere between 45 and 130 miles depending upon traffic, weather, number of passengers and speed. It takes about an hour to charge the battery 80% at 480 volts, or 8 hours using 220 or 20 hours using standard 110. For me I would make it to work and have to recharge.

This is the point where the crowd 6-10 people started to turn ugly for the poor car presenter.  A skeptic asked right on cue, how am I going to charge my car at work?

The answer from the presenter was “many employers will install charging stations at your work. You should ask your employer to install one.”

Immediately my bullshit meter maxed out!!!!

Really? I can promise you right now that few employers are going to:

A. pay for the charging stations to be installed and

B. Pay the electric bill to recharge your car.

It ain’t going to happen folks.  Sorry.   For kicks and giggle I asked my employer about it and they laughed.  I told them I was serious and they flat out said No.

The next question… How long will the battery last and how much does it cost to replace it?

The pitch man said 7-10 years was the answer and the current cost is $18000. Experts on the web estimate a more realistic time period to be 5-7 years.  I guess you could try to earn some cash by chopping up the battery and make fishing weights to sell on eBay.

The last question was the greatest!

How is it better that you burn coal to create electricity vs burning fossil fuel? Again the pitchman didn’t flinch and in fact he had a delusional answer,”Because you no longer are the direct polluter. Its some one else.”

What? It’s more environmentally productive to just pass the blame for pollution?

So again I ask who the hell is going to buy this car? It solves none of the problems of car ownership.

It’s not cheaper to buy. It’s not cheaper to run. It doesn’t reduce pollution only passes blame.  No wonder car companies are in deep trouble. They have completely stopped building the car people want and or need.

Update:  Its nice to see Jeremy Clarkson and Top Gear making fun of this as well.