Earlier today ( 5/13/2010 ) I completed our Nissan LEAF reservation ( with help from Cheryl ). Unfortunately the Nissan LEAF website doesn’t work well with the Mozilla based browser SeaMonkey. So Cheryl had to complete the LEAF reservation from work. The $99 reservation fee is fully refundable and doesn’t lock us into a commitment. This reservation just puts us first in line for when the car is released in our area.
Nissan has overlooked the central portion of the United States for the initial LEAF release. Granted the State of Illinois hasn’t done much to encourage the sale or production of electric cars within it’s borders. Only selected States will get the first batch of cars. Hawaii was recently announced as the early release location for the Nissan LEAF.
During the reservation process a few weeks back I chose the lease option. It might be smart to lease the LEAF do to changing battery technology. My thought is Nissan is more likely to upgrade the battery pack in leased vehicles. If enough tax credit amounts are increased we might consider financing a full purchase instead.
In my opinion the Nissan LEAF will be the first electric car to come to market that real people can afford. With Federal and State tax credits the sticker price is close to what the average American spends on a new vehicle. Unfortunately right now it looks as if demand will be low. Roughly 117,000 people expressed interest in the Nissan LEAF online. A very small number of them have now completed the reservation process. The last total I saw was 6,635 ( add at least 1 to that – our household). Not bad for a car that hasn’t been test driven or seen by many potential customers. But far from sending a message that change needs to take place.
I’d venture a guess limited range is the biggest concern. Range Anxiety is real to a point. It’s something I have struggled with even though I know the facts and how they relate to our driving patterns. The fact is a Nissan LEAF would meet 85 to 90% of our daily driving needs. That doesn’t mean the car would be completely suitable for our lifestyle. I think this is what turns most Americans off about electric cars.
Many of my previous electric car articles have covered this. Consumers are concerned about range and charge times. There are some who worry about safety. But never seem worried about driving a car with an engine that has mini explosions to make it move. For years there has been a small group of devoted electric car drivers. A limited amount of electric vehicles were produced by major manufacturers. I know of no safety concerns that have come up over the years with these cars. The original EV 1 had a few problems that needed addressed.
Other than range I’ve never understood why a majority of people are freaked out by electric cars. Especially since a lot of evidence exist to show that these vehicles are a viable driving solution. A good number of people have put this technology to use for a few decades now without lifestyle changes. I don’t understand the concern about how to use an electric car. Is it really that hard to grasp – come home plug it in – let it charge. As long as your home has power you wake up in the morning to a car ready to drive.
I think the public needs to see more electric cars on the road to become comfortable with the technology. As more people adopt these vehicles there is a better chance of consumers becoming accustom to them. Only then will they start to see it’s just as easy as driving a gasoline powered car.