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Nissan's Leaf: Electrifying the Auto Market?

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With the Nissan Leaf's 2011 model year sold out, it may be a while before you can get your hands on one. To bring you closer to the action, Nissan gave Planet Forward the opportunity to take the Leaf for a spin. We're premiering our test drive on PBS's Nightly Business Report tonight. Check your local listings for times!

Nissan touts its all-electric Leaf as a $25,800 environmental wonder, but that figure also relies heavily on state and federal tax credits for energy efficient vehicles. Without tax credits, the Leaf rings in at a $32,000 -- still about $10,000 less than Chevy's Volt.

Nissan's Leaf is innovative, to be sure. It's one of the first plug-in electric vehicles to get a major market rollout, and the engine makes use of a unique power array that is more efficient than previous carmaker attempts. The Leaf embraces its plug-in restrictions, with Nissan marketing the car to urban denizens making 80-100 mile jaunts.

Trek farther, though, and the old drawback of plug-in power rears its head. Critics have bashed the Leaf's battery for underperforming on hot days and idling in traffic, and potential buyers have been turned off by the long recharge time -- it's recommended to let the Leaf juice up for at least eight hours for longer trips.

Share your experiences with the Nissan Leaf and comment on other sustainable transportation videos at Planet Forward. With everyone collaborating, we may just find an even better model for electric cars!

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