Are you one of the 20,000 people who've pre-ordered a Nissan Leaf without driving one? Perhaps your only EV experience has been on the golf course?
Well, come on down — to Suffolk Downs in East Boston — and find out for yourself if this $36,000 electric hatch is worth the gas you won't burn and the long road trips you can't take. This is an all-electric car with a range of about 100 miles, seating for five, and a hefty compliment of tech-savvy features. We almost got stranded when we tested one in April, but Nissan's come prepared with a slew of 240-volt chargers, so that won't happen.
The Leaf is only on sale as far east as Tennessee, and Massachusetts dealers won't get their first shipments until late fall. This is your only chance to drive one now, aside from going all the way to Tennessee and trucking one on a flatbed a thousand miles north (which at least one person in the Boston area has done).
Here are the details:
Friday, July 29: 9 a.m – 8 p.m.
Saturday, July 30: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Sunday, July 31: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Map and directions: 111 Waldemar Ave., East Boston
Register, so you're not waiting in line: www.drivenissanleaf.com
For 2012 — New England's first model year — Nissan has increased the Leaf's base price by $2,450, to $36,050 with destination. In doing so, they're giving us a winter welcome basket no compact car can match: standard front and rear heated seats, heated steering wheel, heated outside mirrors, a rear HVAC duct, and a battery heater (cold zaps the power from lithium-ion cells). You won't switch on any of them, but in a few months they'll feel fantastic.
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About Boston Overdrive
|Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
|Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
In the garage: 2006 Subaru Baja
|John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
In the garage: Hyundai Sante Fe, Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible
|Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
In the garage: 1968 Buick Riviera, 1996 Buick Roadmaster, 1974 Honda CB450
|Keith Griffin is president of the New England Motor Press Association and edits the used car section on About.com. He also writes for the Hartford Business Journal and various weekly newspapers in Connecticut.
In the garage: Mazda 5, Dodge Neon
|George Kennedy is a senior writer for WheelsTV in Acton, which produces video reviews for Yahoo, MSN, and other auto websites.
In the garage: Lifted 1999 Jeep Cherokee