Leaf, Nissan Says, Gets Equivalent of 99 M.P.G.

Pat McMahon Contributor
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The federal government has rated the Nissan Leaf, the battery-powered car scheduled to go on sale next month in five states, as getting the fuel equivalent of 99 miles a gallon, Nissan said Monday.

The Environmental Protection Agency, which tests vehicles for emissions and fuel efficiency, has determined Leaf’s official range to be 73 miles on a fully charged battery, much less than the 100 miles previously claimed by Nissan.

Both figures will appear prominently on the Leaf’s window label, which shows the estimated yearly electricity cost as $561. The E.P.A. calculates annual fuel costs as $867 for the Toyota Prius hybrid and $1,669 for Chevrolet’s Malibu, which like the Leaf, is classified as a midsize car.

The E.P.A. puts vehicles through five tests to simulate varying driving conditions and levels of climate-control usage.

Because drivers cannot simply stop at a gas station and refuel, the Leaf’s range is expected to weigh heavily on shoppers’ minds. Adding to any confusion they might feel, the Leaf will have a second sticker from the Federal Trade Commission — it regulates advertising by alternative-fuel vehicles — displaying the car’s range as 96 to 110 miles.

“Driving behavior, temperature — those things do affect your range,” said Mark Perry, the director of EV and Advanced Technology strategy in North America for Nissan. “We’re trying to be very open so folks are making the right decision for them. We don’t want them to be surprised.”

The E.P.A. calculated the 99 m.p.g. equivalent figure by combining ratings of 106 m.p.g. in city driving and 92 m.p.g. on highways. The Leaf’s rating is nearly double that of the Toyota Prius hybrid, which is 50 m.p.g.

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