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Nissan Does a Low Key Tit-for-Tat with General Motors at Plug In 2009 - EXCLUSIVE VIDEOS

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

LONG BEACH, CA - August 12, 2009: Both General Motors and Nissan used their presence at this year’s Plug In conference in Long Beach, California to promote their first American electric cars, both expecting to be available to consumers about 14 months from now in late 2010: GM with their Chevrolet Volt, and Nissan with their newly announced Leaf.

Tony Posawatz, Vehicle Line Director, Global Electric Vehicles & Chevrolet Volt, kicked off the five-presentation panel “First to Market – The Arrival of Plug-In Vehicles” by telling the audience that after recent testing and evaluation that the Volt expects to achieve a city fuel economy rating of at least 230 MPG.

Tony continued by describing a very impressive suite of features that Volt owners will enjoy from the vehicle’s interconnectivity with GM’s now-mature OnStar service.

Two speakers later, Mark Perry, Director, Product Planning & Advanced Technology Strategy, Nissan North America, trumped the GM announcements by stating that although additional evaluation had to be conducted by Nissan, that the Leaf is expected to achieve a city fuel economy rating of about 360 MPG. Mark added that the Leaf is a completely new design (rather than borrowing from existing bodies), and that Leaf owners will be able to interface from remote distances with their cars via cell phone. Leaf owners will, for example, be able to turn on the vehicle’s air conditioning or heating prior to the vehicle’s use in order to maximize comfort.

Click PLAY to watch Tony Posawatz' complete presentation

Click PLAY to watch Mark Perry's complete presentation

One important, but heretofore unknown detail about the Chevy Volt, was learned on Monday evening during the GM Media Dinner. The Auto Channel’s Marc Rauch doggedly inquired as to why GM did not consider using a non-gasoline engine in the Volt to re-charge the batteries, when needed. Marc’s point was that the “green” value of the Volt is mitigated if it still has to rely on gasoline. He asked if GM had considered alternatives, such as a propane-fuel generator such as the ones used to charge batteries and run the electric in motor homes. While the two GM people (Btitta Gross and Dave Barthmuss) seated at Marc’s table replied that GM had not considered this substitution, Britta did say that the Volt’s small charging engine could use E85, which would provide a nearly gasoline-free experience thereby helping to significantly reduce harmful emissions. Marc and his fellow media-members seated within earshot of Britta’s explanation were all quick to encourage Britta and Dave to get GM to do a better job of promoting this information.

Click PLAY to watch video of the Chevrolet Volt

Click PLAY to watch first video of the Nissan Leaf