What do you get when you combine the world’s best-selling electric vehicle with innovative paint technology that repels dirty slush, Chicago street grime, bird crap and everyday dirt? Answer: a Nissan LEAF electric vehicle that might just be the “world’s cleanest car,” which will be shown at the Chicago Auto Show.
Created to demonstrate its potential use in future vehicles, this Nissan LEAF’s exterior is treated with a specially engineered “superhydrophobic” and “oleophobic” paint that repels water and oils. This “self-cleaning” paint, called Ultra-Ever Dry, creates a protective layer of air between the paint and environment, effectively stopping water and road spray from leaving dirty marks on LEAF’s surface. Nissan is one of the first carmakers to apply this technology to a vehicle.
The coating, marketed and sold by UltraTech International Inc., has been in testing at the Nissan Technical Center in Europe. So far it has responded well to common car-dirtying events including rain, spray, frost, sleet and standing water with the technology creating an protective “umbrella of air” for the paint. Chocolate syrup squirted onto the hood rolls right off onto the floor and has been a crowd favorite during public demonstrations.
Nissan is evaluating public feedback to consider using the treatment as a future aftermarket option. For the North American demonstration, the paint is featured on a white Nissan LEAF with a matte finish.
Nissan LEAF in Chicago
Nissan’s “No Charge to Charge” promotion provides Chicagoans with two years of no-cost public charging with the purchase or lease of a new LEAF from Nissan dealers in the Chicago market. This includes complimentary access to fast chargers that can charge a LEAF from zero to 80 percent in about 30 minutes.
With “No Charge to Charge,” new LEAF buyers can enjoy added range confidence with free access to fast chargers spread throughout Chicagoland at retail stores, tollway oases and other convenient locations for drivers. As part of the promotion, LEAF drivers will also enjoy free one-hour charging sessions at more than 140 level 2 (240 volt) charging stations.
For 2015, the zero-emissions Nissan LEAF is available in three trim levels: LEAF S, SV and SL, along with option packages offering advanced systems such as Around View Monitor and seven-speaker Bose energy-efficient audio and Hands-Free Text Messaging Assistant. The EPA estimated driving range for LEAF on a fully charged battery is rated at 84 miles and MPGe ratings are 126 City, 101 Highway and 114 Combined. Nissan LEAF can be charged up to 80 percent of its full capacity in 30 minutes when equipped with a quick charge port and using a fast charger. Charging at home through a 240V charging dock is estimated to take less than five hours with the 6.6 kW onboard charger (less than eight hours with the S grade’s standard 3.6 kW onboard charger). However, charging times may vary.