Nissan has made it official: pre-orders for the Leaf electric car will start in spring 2010. The company said that, "Nearly 22,000 people in North America have contacted Nissan since the company unveiled the car in August." Nissan's Carlos Tavares, head of Nissan's operations in North, Central and South America, said the company is hoping that all this initial interest will translate into sales and is expecting of have "at least 20,000 reservations for Nissan LEAF by the time we deliver the world's first mass-market zero-emission car in late 2010."
To prepare the market, Nissan will offer people who sign-up for the Leaf – either to buy or to just be alerted when a test drive is available – information on how to become "plug-in ready." The first markets for the Leaf in the U.S. include Tennessee and Oregon; San Diego, CA; Seattle, WA; and the Phoenix/Tucson region in Arizona. Nissan said that 70 percent of the people who have contacted them for more information about the Leaf live in one of these regions and they seem to be exactly the kinds of drivers that would get the most use and fewest hassles from an EV. 90 percent say they drive less than 100 miles a day and 75 percent live in a two-car household. The Leaf will kick-off a U.S. promo tour in November. Nissan got a DOE loan in June to build plug-in cars in the U.S. starting in late 2012.