Electric car wars hit the Central Valley

FRESNO, California

"Right now we don't have any intention of charging the customer any money for charging. And you realize this is the first stage of the electrical, 100% electrical car," said Ashish Desai, general manager of Lithia Nissan in North Fresno.

Desai is has already installed four stations. There are no Leafs on the lot yet but three Valley customers have pre-ordered them online.

Desai: "The actual MSRP is somewhere around $27/30 (thousand) but with the rebates fluctuating you can look at somewhere down to $18 or $20,000."

An overnight charge from home will get Leaf owners about 100-miles on the road ... that's less than half as far as a traditional car or truck. If drivers stop at one of Desai's quick charge stations a 30-minute hook-up can return the battery to 80%.

Desai: "Is this a complete perfect electric car? No. Because of the range anxiety and I'm pretty sure the next couple of models they are going to solve that."

Lithia Nissan invested about $50,000 to make this new technology possible in the Central Valley. That includes new tools to take care of the Leaf as well as a new 240W electrical line to power this charging station.

Leaf is not charging the zero emission field alone.

"People need to understand that it is not a hybrid it's truly electric," said Brett Hedrick of Hedrick Chevrolet in Clovis.

Hedrick is selling the new Chevy Volt ... An extended range electric car promising at least 350 miles on the road and requiring a shorter time to charge ... However gas is still a part of the car's make-up.

Hedrick: "But what the gas is ... there's an onboard generator that will recharge the battery and extend the range."

The MSRP for a Volt is $42,000 before government rebates. Both dealerships said these new electric cars will be on the road within the next two weeks.

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