Published on July 11th, 2012 | by Matthew

Announcing: Project Leaf

Our automobiles are always evolving in pursuit of the highest level of innovation. And for more than a century, CAA has strived to learn all it can about the future of the car so that we can best serve our Members. It’s part of who we are.

The back of our new Leaf

The back of our new Leaf

Project Leaf is a new initiative we’re launching this summer at CAA South Central Ontario. Our goal is a simple one: to understand where the automobile is going. In the last decade, there has been a dramatic push for low-emissions or electric vehicles in the marketplace as manufactures race to provide more eco-friendly transportation.

While the technology may only be in its infancy, there’s no doubt it will improve in the coming years. That’s why we want to get started now, and that’s where Project Leaf comes in.

So what is it? The concept is simple, really. We’ve added a Nissan Leaf to our fleet of vehicles, along with a new charging station in our parking lot. The Leaf is a completely electric five-seater hatchback with an official range of 117 kilometers and a top speed surpassing 150 km/h. Amazingly, all of this is accomplished by battery power alone. That means no emissions. Zero. None. With no exhaust pipe and no gears to shift, the Leaf redefines what an automobile should be. That’s why we chose it for this project.

Over the coming weeks, CAA Associates will have the chance to test drive the electric car, many of whom will be doing so for the first time. After they’ve had their chance behind the wheel, our Associates will report back to us — and to you — their thoughts on the Leaf, how they enjoyed their drive, and discuss how an electric car fits into a gasoline-driven world.

“The goal is to demonstrate our commitment to the environment, to new vehicle technology, and to learning and sharing our experiences,” said Teresa Di Felice, the CAA Associate who’s spearheading the project.

The Leaf charging at CAA South Central Ontario's head office“We also want to help our tow network learn about servicing the technology as well.”

To power the latest addition to our fleet, we’re using the latest charging technology. The  charger, a Level II dual-watt post, is one of the first of its kind in Canada. We’ve put it proudly on display at the front of our building. Specially-designated parking spots are where you’ll be able to find the Leaf when one of our Associates isn’t out for a spin.

Officially, Project Leaf is part of our wider Autogreen program. Launched in 2006, Autogreen is an ongoing initiative at CAA dedicated to exploring the environmental impact of our travel habits, working on ways to limit or reduce our transportation emissions.

“If everyone made just one small change in their driving habits…a significant reduction in CO2 emissions is possible,” said Di Felice.

Project Leaf goes further, using a vehicle that cuts out those emissions all together. What does that mean for your driving habits? Or your lifestyle? Those are the questions we’ll answer over the coming weeks with Project Leaf.

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