Cue the pundits. Nissan's incoming Leaf has just nabbed an official EPA sticker, with a mind-melting 99MPG "equivalent" rating set to grace every single window. That'll undoubtedly catch eyes, but it's also likely to spur a huge debate on what "miles per gallon" truly means when you're throwing a battery into the mix. We actually had the pleasure of driving one ourselves late last month, but we weren't able to take off on any extended joyrides to really put MPG claims to the test. At any rate, the 99 rating breaks down to 106MPG in the city and 92MPG on the highway, but there's quite a bit of fuzzy math here that gas guzzlers aren't accustomed to considering. Nissan claims that the EPA uses a formula where 33.7 kWhs are equivalent to one gallon of gasoline energy, and that the entity also found the Leaf's efficiency to be 3.4 miles per kWh. Given that the car has a 24 kWh battery pack and can go 73 miles officially, then the EPA says it could theoretically go 99 miles if it had a 33.7 kWh pack. Still, the Leaf has to await its other label from the FTC, but it's apt to show a range of 96 to 110 miles of range. Head on past the break for the full presser.
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EPA Rates the All-Electric, Zero-Emission, Nissan LEAF 'Best' in Class for Fuel Efficiency, Environment

- Nissan LEAF label approved as Nissan prepares for December launch -

FRANKLIN, Tenn., Nov. 22, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved its fuel-economy label for the 100-percent electric Nissan LEAF, rating the vehicle to be "best" in the midsize vehicle class for fuel efficiency and "best" for the environment. The new label shows a best-in-class 99 miles-per-gallon (MPG) equivalent (combined city/highway). The MPG equivalency rating was developed by the EPA as a way to provide a standard so consumers can compare vehicles across the spectrum and make an educated purchase.

The 2011 Nissan LEAF, which uses no gas, was also rated best-in-class for the environment based on emitting zero greenhouse gases or other traditional tailpipe emissions. The label, which will be part of the Nissan LEAF's Monroney label, is now ready for placement on the vehicles in anticipation of the December launch.

After completion of five-cycle testing, the EPA has rated the Nissan LEAF with an MPG equivalent of 106 city, 92 highway for a combined 99 MPGe. This calculation is based on the EPA's formula of 33.7kW-hrs being equivalent to one gallon gasoline energy. In addition, the label displays a charging time of seven hours on a 240V charge and a driving range of 73 miles, based on the five-cycle tests using varying driving conditions and climate controls. Driving range on the Nissan LEAF, as with all vehicles, varies with real-world driving conditions.

"We're pleased the label clearly demonstrates the Nissan LEAF to be a best-in-class option, reflecting that it's a pure electric vehicle, uses no gas, has no tailpipe and has zero emissions," said Scott Becker, senior vice president, Finance and Administration, Nissan Americas. "The label provides consumers with a tool to compare alternative-fuel vehicles to those with a traditional internal combustion engine and allows them to make an informed purchase decision."

Sales of the Nissan LEAF will begin in December in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Tennessee. In January 2011, sales begin in Texas and Hawaii, with additional market roll-out continuing later in 2011.

In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010 and has been recognized as a 2010 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America, the Nissan LEAF and zero emissions can be found at www.nissanusa.com.

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Nissan Leaf blessed with 99MPG 'equivalent' sticker, roundtable arguments ensue