Remember when Nissan tweeted the Leaf would achieve 367 miles per gallon in response to the Chevrolet Volt's then-claimed 230-mpg rating? Well, there will be none of that here. After an evaluation by the Environmental Protection Agency, the federal fuel economy overlords will reportedly endow the Leaf with a 92 city/106 highway mpg rating, good for 99 combined mpg (or MPGe as established by the EPA for electric vehicles).
The EPA has also estimated the Leaf is good for 73 miles on its 24-kilowatt-hour, lithium-ion battery, which is 27 miles shy of Nissan's touted 100-mile range. The 73-mile range is deemed to be accurate for the EPA's testing demands, and unsurprisingly for these types of vehicles, your mileage may vary significantly on driving habits and circumstances. There's no doubt that the 99-mpg rating would garner an "A+" grade if we resorted to the letter system proposed by the EPA and Department of Transportation.
To find the fuel efficiency numbers, the EPA uses five-cycle tests with different driving conditions and climate control settings. Then, using the standard of a single gallon of gasoline equaling 33.7 kW-h of energy, the EPA calculates the MPGe for the Leaf.
The Leaf's future Monroney will display a 7-hour recharge time on a 240-volt outlet and the 73-mile driving range as well. Again, your mileage and range will vary. With enough stop-and-go traffic and regenerative braking, 100 miles of travel is not out of the question.
Powering the Leaf is a 107-horsepower electric motor. It's pegged to start at $32,780 before federal tax credits. Preorders have been sold out and deliveries begin at the tail end of this year in select states, including Arizona, California, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington.
Sources: Nissan, MSNBC