What is it?

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THIS WEEK'S CONTEST

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special

Can you tell us the make and model of this 2011 car? Call (706) 823-3419 or e-mail glynn.moore@augustachronicle.com.

We need your name, telephone and city or community. Feel free to include any comments you have about this vehicle. Comments will be edited.

Your deadline is noon Wednesday. A winner will be chosen randomly, and the results will be printed Friday.

-- Glynn Moore, staff writer

Last week's photo showed the brand-new Leaf from Nissan, the first all-electric car from a major manufacturer to be sold in this country in a long time. For a better look at the hatchback, see this week's road test.

Chosen randomly from the correct entries was the name of Amy Hunt, of Augusta, who wrote: "The car featured in the Dec. 30 'What Is It?' is a Nissan Leaf. I think this car would be great if the front end were different. Nice car, but terrible front end."

She wins a gift from The Augusta Chronicle. Other readers identifying the vehicle were:

CANTON, GA.: David Anderson wrote: "Given our 'going green' politically correct attitude these days, I can understand bringing to market the world's first viable 100 percent electric vehicle, but must you beat me over the head by naming it the Leaf?

"Why just Leaf? Why not the whole Tree or even Branch? Is one tiny leaf all I am going to save the planet if I buy one of these?

"Actually, aside from the name, I applaud Nissan, even though I still have my reservations about tooling around in an all-electric vehicle. Call it comfort -- and I'm not talking about the seats. When I'm sitting in traffic and the needle starts getting over too close to the 'E,' I know that there are any number of gas stations I can pull into to top off my tank. If I am in an all-electric vehicle and it starts warning me that battery power is low, what am I going to do? No matter how well you plan, sometimes stuff happens.

"Nissan claims a range of 100 miles. The available raw data on the Nissan Web site show an actual range of as low as 62 miles and as high as 138 miles. The variance depends on everything; the ambient temperature, terrain, top speed, style of driving, and use of climate control and other accessories.

"As for charging the Leaf, it appears that the owner must pay an assessment fee to get an estimate of how much it will cost to have a Nissan 240-volt charging station installed in their home. That fee is then refundable towards the actual installation cost. The only charging alternative is a '120-volt trickle charge cable' that takes considerably longer to recharge the car than the charging station.

"For my money, I will go with the Chevy Volt. In fact, I am on a list to be called by my local dealer. The Volt also has the wheels driven 100 percent by electric motors, but it has a gasoline engine backup to produce the electricity those motors need when the batteries get low. The Volt also does not require a special charging station. It can be recharged from a standard 120-volt plug-in, although it also will recharge faster with a dedicated, standard 240-volt plug-in (like your electric dryer).

"I like the total-electric concept, but living in the suburbs of metro Atlanta, a vehicle like the Leaf would be dicey. My typical round-trip driving habits during the week are around 70 miles per day. I did not choose that commute; my company relocated last year! This is the way the job market here operates. One company moves out, another moves in. When you work for one of those companies you either move with the company or find a new job.

"With 10 years of service and being way beyond the twentysomething fresh out of school who will work for peanuts, a new job was out of the question, so I commute. I mitigate the cost with carpooling and telecommuting whenever possible while I consider the viable alternatives"

CUMMING, GA.: Chris Rhodes wrote: "The Leaf is Nissan's answer to the electric car question, and a fairly good answer at that. Unlike the rock-star media coverage surrounding the GM Volt, the Leaf has been introduced with relatively modest fanfare. But this does not detract from the importance of this 'new-age' car.

"The Leaf, a compact five-door hatchback, drives and handles very similarly to the gasoline models to which most American drivers are accustomed; however, with an EPA-rated 73 miles per gallon, the Leaf trounces all nonhybrid cars on the market. With government tax credits and incentives figured in, the Leaf is attractively priced as well.

"In years to come, the Leaf may be viewed as one of the first truly competitive electric cars that helped blaze the trail for a new generation of energy-efficient personal passenger vehicles."

EVANS: Wayne Wilke

HEPHZIBAH: Jason Wright wrote: "This vehicle is an affordable all-electric family sedan. Supposedly capable of 100 miles between recharges and capable of a 80 percent recharge in 25 minutes on a 220-volt home charging station, the Leaf would seem to be a real alternative for urban families interested in making a statement about impacting the environment.

"More interestingly, the 'Carwings' system allows you to remotely initiate and monitor charging as well as activate the A/C and heater using a smart phone. Additionally, drivers will be able to compare their driving habits against other Leaf drivers. Using a combination of miles traveled, state of charge and kilowatt-hours per mile, the Carwings system rates each driver.

"You also can check your own fuel economy against Nissan's own constantly evolving database of performance figures from every other Nissan Leaf in real time. Most important, Nissan's database can monitor and use this data to improve satellite navigation systems, providing real-world data about traffic flow to enable the system to chose the fastest and most clear route, reducing energy use. It's amazing!"


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