The writer, an electrochemical engineer, consults with battery companies in the United States, Europe and Asia.
To the Editor:
This is in response to Executive Editor Edward Lapham's Dec. 13 column, "Ready for a shock? Nissan Leaf is the real deal."
As presently produced, the Nissan Leaf will be a loser for a number of reasons.
It will fail for the same reason that General Motors' EV-1 did: short range, awkward recharge, and the considerable uncertainty of battery safety (fires), lifetime, and cost.
Those battery issues are the main ones expressed by the engineers working on the problems. Those people are my friends. I realize Lapham's back-page column is not a search into all the ins and outs of a complex matter, but it should be accurate as far as it goes.
I think Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has really screwed up this time. The EV-1 gave electric vehicles a bad name. Will the Leaf do it again? Maybe, unless something is done about it.
Lithium batteries for cars (as opposed to laptops and cell phones) are in many respects a work in progress. Competitive pressures are putting the heat on those car companies and engineers involved to finish the job, but realities finally win -- every time.