It's fair to say that state Sen. Mike Schneider is energy conscious. The 46-year resident of Southern Nevada and a 20-year veteran of the Nevada Legislature has traveled the world reviewing green and renewable energy.
So Schneider's recent test drive of a 100 percent electric 2012 Nissan Leaf provided by Henderson Nissan served as another journey in his reviews of alternative sources of energy. Schneider drove the vehicle for five days.
"The acceleration in this car is really good," said Schneider, 61. "It's a very nimble car and it's very good in and out of traffic. It handles very nicely for a small car. In addition, it will get up and go on the freeway; that's for sure."
Schneider said the Leaf provided instant power, unlike a traditional engine.
"You have 100 percent torque when you step on the accelerator, as opposed to an internal combustion engine where you don't have all that torque right away," Schneider said. "The misconception many people have is that electric cars are slow when, in fact, they are faster in acceleration. I was really surprised at the amount of power the Leaf has. A good comparison is that the big gold mines in Nevada use electric shovels on their heavy equipment for moving the tons of rock. The electric motor is more powerful, it lasts longer and it doesn't break down."
Even more important, though, is that the Leaf has no tailpipe emissions.
"This helps clean the air," Schneider said. "As a matter of fact, the governor of Utah has just called on the people of that state to clean their air and lower the emissions there. This car is a perfect urban car and helps rid us of the costs of fuel while also cleaning up the environment."
Also interesting is that solar power eventually could be used to charge the Leaf.
"With that, you would have a zero carbon footprint," Schneider said.
Introduced last year, the Leaf is considered the ideal answer to the rising cost of gasoline. The car can be recharged at various outlets, including a standard home plug. It has a mileage range of about 100 miles.
Henderson Nissan Internet Manager Bob Stewart and sales consultant Jason Morales are both certified Leaf sales consultants.
"It's always fun to see the expressions on the faces of people after they have stepped on the accelerator of the Leaf," Stewart said. "This is the future of the automotive industry."
Morales said each Leaf purchased includes as much as a $7,500 tax credit to the purchaser.
"I think it's fantastic technology," said Morales . "This kind of vehicle is certainly the wave right now."
For more information regarding the Leaf, call 558-5800, go to the dealership at 295 Auto Mall Drive in the Valley Automall or visit www.hendersonnissan.com.
Henderson Nissan is led by General Manager Marty McKenna. The dealership is part of the Super Store Auto Group, which has five dealerships in Las Vegas and 26 throughout the nation.