• Oct 1, 2009
2010 Nissan Leaf EV - Click above for hi-res image gallery

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.


[Source: Nissan]


PRESS RELEASE:

Nissan LEAF Electric Car Reservations to Begin in the U.S. in Spring 2010

Nissan North America Targets 20,000 Reservations by Launch Near End of 2010; Will Expand Production to U.S. in 2012

FRANKLIN, Tenn., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- In response to strong initial demand for the Nissan LEAF zero-emission electric car, Nissan North America, Inc. announced it will begin taking reservations for LEAF in spring 2010. Nearly 22,000 people in North America have contacted Nissan since the company unveiled the car in August.

"The groundswell of interest, especially from people in our initial launch markets, demonstrates to us the importance of a reservation system," said Carlos Tavares, head of Nissan's operations in North, Central and South America. "Our goal is to confirm 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."

Nissan will invite people to "opt-in" and receive updates and information about LEAF through a reservation system that will tell them when the electric car is available - either for test drives or to take home. Participants will receive the latest news about the company's zero-emission activities as well as information about Nissan LEAF and how to become "plug-in ready."

"We'll continue to reach out to this enthusiastic and rapidly growing group as we approach launch," said Tavares.

About 70 percent of the people in North America who have contacted Nissan about LEAF reside in markets where the all-electric zero-emission car first will be brought to market.

Of those who have contacted Nissan, about half report that they want to obtain LEAF as soon as it's available, and another 45 percent indicate interest in owning an electric vehicle within the next two to three years. Metro areas with the strongest consumer responses are San Diego, Calif.; Tucson, Ariz.; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; and Los Angeles - all of which are among the first markets where LEAF will be available globally.

More than 90 percent of the people who have contacted Nissan indicate that they drive less than 100 miles daily, which is the range of LEAF when fully charged. Meanwhile, 75 percent indicate that they are members of two-car households - prime candidates for an efficient commuter car like the all-electric, zero-emission LEAF.

People interested in zero-emission mobility will have the opportunity to see Nissan LEAF starting in November, on the heels of its appearance at the Tokyo Motor Show, when it will be on tour throughout the major launch markets in the United States. The tour will kick off in Los Angeles at a dedicated event.

Nissan is the only automaker committed to making all-electric vehicles available to the mass market on a global scale. Beginning in late 2012, Nissan will manufacture LEAF and its advanced lithium-ion battery pack for the U.S. market at the company's plant in Smyrna, Tenn. Initially, LEAF will be manufactured in Japan.

Nissan LEAF will be available for private and fleet customers. People who wish to participate in the reservation program can visit www.nissanusa.com/leaf-electric-car. Details about the program and pricing are being finalized.

In the United States, Nissan - in conjunction with the Renault-Nissan Alliance - is exploring ways to promote zero-emission mobility and the development of an electric-vehicle infrastructure through partnerships in the State of Tennessee, the State of Oregon, Sonoma County and San Diego in California, Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz., Washington D.C., Seattle, and Raleigh, N.C. Additional partnerships will be announced in the near future.

In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive design, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010, whose key priorities are reducing CO2 emissions, cutting other emissions and increasing recycling. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com and www.InfinitiUSA.com
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  • 32 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Slow charging at home, during off peak hours is what I see happening initially. Maybe this money is better spent on an empty battery recovery service, to take the car and occupants home quickly when the thing runs out. Which in practice may never happen once users get accustomed to it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think they already have those...they're called "taxis" and the point of these charging stations is so people won't need an "empty battery recovery service".
        • 5 Years Ago
        My comment was actually pro EV. Guess you're missing the point?
      • 5 Years Ago
      "Each of those five locations has pledged to install 2,500 electric vehicle charging stations in expectation of a thousand or so new electric Leafs roaming their streets."

      "A $99.8 million grant from the DOE is partially paying for the 12750 chargers as part of a study. Total cost of the project is estimated to be twice that (~$200 million). A 240V 32amp level 2 charger (7.68 kW continuous) supplied to buyers of the Leaf costs $1500 ($1000-2000 is a typical estimate for these type of chargers). The interview did quote about $20-40k for a level 3 charger (~40kW), Nissan quoted $45k for these (80% in 30 minutes); 250 of these will be installed as part of the project, which leaves 12500 level 2 chargers:2500 for each of the 5 regions. The charger costs altogether only account for about $30 million; the rest is probably overhead costs for the study and obtaining the locations/installing the chargers." (thanks Jake, for the quote)

      http://blogs.thecarconnection.com/marty-blog/1033949_charging-stations-part-of-the-deal-for-2012-nissan-leaf-ev

      I thought one of the benefits of BEVs is that they didn't need an large capital outlay to develop infrastructure? An estimated $200 million to install plug-in stations in only 5 test markets... how would that scale up to provide enough chargers across the US?
        • 5 Years Ago
        --However, I doubt Applebee's and other retail establishments would like to jump through the regulatory and safety issues just to provide electricity.

        The charging stations already come certified, and be put practically anywhere. These are practically guaranteed to become a mainstay at malls, restaurants, etc basically anywhere that customers can be convinced to spend extra time (and money) at for the convenience of a fast and cheap (or free) charge. A McDonalds store has already put in a free charging station for their customers. You apparently don't know what you're talking about.

        http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/07/07/green-mcdonalds-installs-electric-vehicle-charging-stations/#


        --The local Electric Co. would be the one to do it, and they'd certainly want to charge a premium for the "convenience". If you're using a charger on the road, you're a captive customer - they know you can't go far, and you'll pay whatever price they ask.

        You're blatantly wrong on two points

        1) Local utilities would have incentive to offer LOWER prices on their own (outside-the-home) charging outlets since these would most likely be used during the day during peak hours when they would welcome ability of these BEVs to feed energy back into the grid, and some utilities are already offering to PAY CUSTOMERS to do this.

        2) Local utilities DO NOT have a lock on charging outlets, and the fact that they're being installed will attract other charging station companies who see their is a market. Not only would these utilities have to compete with other charging station companies, they would have to compete with other local utilities and offer competitive rates to these companies for the rights to have their EV charging networks plugged into the utility's lines.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think this is an extraordinary deal. 12,500 charging point is an average cost of only $16,000 each. For the initial run this in an average of 1.6 chargers per person, arguably total overkill, but smart if you want to ensure that the introduction will be positively received. I understan that the level 3 chargers are more expensive but this is REALLY cheap compared to hydrogen. If you set up a level three 'charge station' similar to a gas station, the chargers would only run 40,000 x 8 = $320,000 plus maybe another $100k for the rest of the facility. That's around $1/2 M for a similar facility to a gas station. Even at twice that it would be on par with the cost of a gas station with a similar number of pumps. Does someone have some better number to compare to a gas station? I'm curious how the comparison pencils out.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You say the DOE pays 100million for 12,750 chargers, but the cost of the project is 200million which means that the additional cost is to be covered by electric utilities.
        This would yield 127 stations for each of the 100 largest cities.

        Sounds like not such a bad deal given that hydrogen advocates estimate that hydrogen stations would cost 2-4million apiece which would yield 100 stations under a similar scheme(if you could get oil companies to invest any of their own money). This would yield 1 station for each of the 100 largest cities.

        Also at the costs you list of $20-40k per charger put electric charging stations in range of being affordable for individual entrepreneurs and complementary businesses such as hotels.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Boyprodigy1

        So you're saying we're paying $200 million just to make life convenient for some people in five states? Specifically, approximately 1000 hand-picked individuals in each state?

        People, 90% of whom who have already told Nissan that they drive less than 100 miles a day and therefore wouldn't even need a charger? I'm sure they'll think of the rest of us as they drive by the charges they don't really need and likely won't use.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Polo

        I appreciate the enthusiasm everyone shows for BEVs, I'm just playing Devil's advocate. I am confused by this:

        "1) Local utilities would have incentive to offer LOWER prices on their own (outside-the-home) charging outlets since these would most likely be used during the day during peak hours when they would welcome ability of these BEVs to feed energy back into the grid, and some utilities are already offering to PAY CUSTOMERS to do this."

        1. Why would the Electric Company even want to add to the burden on the grid during peak hours? Again, I thought the BEVs were intended to be charged at night, so that they wouldn't place an extra burden on the grid. Also, why exactly would a BEV driver want to feed energy back into the system at one of these charging stations? They're just going to need to get that juice back at some other time, why waste time and energy hooking up when it's not necessary? I know that some utilities will pay residential users for power put back on the grid, but it doesn't make sense to use a BEV in the same fashion. A PHEV, maybe, since they have on-board generating capability.


        "2) Local utilities DO NOT have a lock on charging outlets, and the fact that they're being installed will attract other charging station companies who see their is a market. Not only would these utilities have to compete with other charging station companies, they would have to compete with other local utilities and offer competitive rates to these companies for the rights to have their EV charging networks plugged into the utility's lines."

        2. Where do the charging stations companies get the power from, if not the local utility? In the future I could see solar, wind, or other non-grid sources, but since $100 million is being paid for by the electric utilities themselves, it's safe to assume they're planning on getting a return on their investment. Competitive rates? Who's the competition here? BEV users have only these charging stations to use, which makes them a monopoly. It only make sense that a service and a commodity provided to a captive market by a single provider would charge a premium price in order to make a return on its investment.

        Of course, these are all hypothetical. We won't really know how it all works untill the infrastructure has been installed and the buyers receive their cars. I wish Nissan good luck, but I'm worried about the range and lifespan of those batteries. I'd prefer a PHEV, personally. Plug in at home, fine. But then there's no worries about range with the extender...

        (...and to all those who think I'm a shill and have complemented my debating abilities, thanks. I do believe in the Socratic method, and apparently I do make enough sense to put people on the defensive.)
        • 5 Years Ago
        You make a good point. In fact, Don Karner (CEO of eTac - the company behind the chargers) is hoping that retailers and employers will provide much of the needed infrastructure. However, I doubt Applebee's and other retail establishments would like to jump through the regulatory and safety issues just to provide electricity. The local Electric Co. would be the one to do it, and they'd certainly want to charge a premium for the "convenience". If you're using a charger on the road, you're a captive customer - they know you can't go far, and you'll pay whatever price they ask.

        Why would a hydrocarbon company like Exxon or BP go through the expense of installing fast-chargers and setting up billing with the local Electric Co., when they could just sell their own reformed fuel cell fuel?
        • 5 Years Ago
        You also forget that you don't necessarily need to charge at these stations. People can still charge their cars in their garages. These chargers are ultimately a convenience.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You don't NEED this many public chargers to have a BEV work for a community. This is just a study to show the best strategies to expanding infrastructure. It doesn't mean every city has to install this many chargers.

        Again, quoting myself: "Where chargers might be deployed is residences, employers, parking structures, retail locations, city-owned parking, and maybe even at gas stations." Basically every place that it might make sense to install, they will install a charger. They are expecting some locations to be "failures" and they want to learn why some locations don't work and some do. That is the reason for what seems like an "overkill" amount of charging stations.

        In general, a charger can easily be paid by the owner of the location (even the level 3 chargers at $40k isn't that bad in terms of cost and any location can afford $1-2k for one of the slower chargers provided they have space/electricity for it). And the chargers can immediately start paying for themselves (for example the paid street-side chargers). This means it is not a heavy burden for private businesses to install their own chargers as plug-ins gain market share.

        Even if you divide out the $200 million (which is a lot of money) over the 12750 chargers, you get $16k each, which isn't that much money per unit wise, esp considering this includes all the study/installation/location costs. If this wasn't part of a study and was a done by the a small business, I imagine you can easily install a J1772 charger for under $5k (the charger itself is only $1.5k).
        • 5 Years Ago
        Assuming a half-hour lunch at Applebee's, you won't get more than about 25 miles of charge using the new standard J1772 connector at a maximum rate of 240V/70A. Not really enough to be useful IMO. Connection limits are the weak link in the quick-recharge chain, and get overlooked quite frequently in debates on the Web. Any connection running at a realistic voltage and amperage is not going to let through enough power to fill up your battery that fast.

        I think the need for public charging stations is highly overrated, since people will already have the ability to fully recharge at home. Just about every forseeable EV, including the Leaf, isn't intended as a cross-country vehicle. It's for commutes and errands. All the public charging stations in the world won't change that. You could have the U.S. peppered with charging stations every mile, and you'll still only be able to travel 100 mile segments in between charges.

        If there is a place for public charging, it's at locations where you know you'll be staying for several hours. Great examples include hotel chains like Extended Stay America, or the parking lots of large companies where employees will be staying a full working day. Then you can at least get your vehicle recharged enough to make a big difference.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "I thought one of the benefits of BEVs is that they didn't need an large capital outlay to develop infrastructure?"

        You thought people could just pull up to a tree and plug their EV in? no charging station needed??


        "An estimated $200 million to install plug-in stations in only 5 test markets"

        For over 12,000 charging stations thats an incredible deal. If power can be fed back into utilities during peak hours that would be a major boon to utilities as well, who have already suggested they'd subsidize something like this. How many hydrogen stations would $200mill get? 50?
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's glaringly obviously letstakeawalk is trying to sow doubt, obfuscate and trivialise all efforts towards BEV adoption.

        He is doing a pretty good job clogging up these message threads. There is enough rational and plausible content in his posts to convince the unwary. he is so damn dogged and determined... a real grinder.

        It's so tiring to argue with him, people give up. I can even sense the editorial team being swayed by his relentless assault.

        He has to be a morph of Glen Blencoe or something. If you did actually take a walk with letstakeawalk you will be brainwashed into a freaking hydrogen cult within 30 mins.
        • 5 Years Ago
        More fud from another industry lobbyist.
        • 5 Years Ago
        mass production might solve some of that problem. The other would be commercialization. Exxon won't stand still and let electric take over, they'll put in an "electric pump" where you can use that giant plug to get a quick fix for $5 or something. Restaurants would also be a good place for electric plugs. If you could go to McDonalds for $5 and get something crappy or go to Applebees for $10 and get good food plus a free charge, well that would be a very good incentive at little cost for Applebees beyond the initial investment.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I repeat: I understand Nissan's preocupation with laying the groundwork for public charging, but it is nonethless irritating that they will only include those targeted cities in the introduction of the Leaf. They are putting the cart before the horse, the supply (of chargers) before the demand (for charging).

      There are numerous EV advocates throughout the country who would be MORE than happy to only be able to recharge at home for the time being. Nissan should open their reservation list to anyone who is willing to "live with" that limitation until public chargers become more commonplace.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Then we'll have agree to disagree, Nick. Ah, well... I guess I'm not a real person, let alone ready for a real car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I disagree. Nissan is doing the right thing by making sure some forward-thinking cities are ready to support electric cars. Compare this to GM's strategy of fudging the MPG to confuse consumers. Nissan wants real people to be ready for real cars.

      • 5 Years Ago
      The Leaf is quite possibly the most homely vehicle ever designed. Great technology tho... but UGLY!!! Just when I was hoping that environmentally friendly didn't have to equate to driving a squashed Prius with a fat and droopy rear end. I look forward to Le Leaf, Part Deux.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Fully agree, an incredible ugly car.
        Just put that technique in an Audi TT or Porsche shaped body and I'd buy it straight off.
        Is it really that hard, dear manufactures?

        However, Nissan will sell them like hot cakes anyway. Great tech job Nissan, except of the bangled design.
        Fast charge stations will spring up like mushrooms, you'll $ee.
        • 5 Years Ago
        To each their own, I like the design :)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why would a hydrocarbon company like Exxon or BP go through the expense of installing fast-chargers and setting up billing with the local Electric Co., when they could just sell their own reformed fuel cell fuel?

      Because the electric car is coming and they can either get run over (like the RIAA did with MP3) or make a buck off of it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Exxon may have locations(current gas stations) but people who don't deal drugs wont hang out at the gas station(unless there is a restaurant or coffeshop).

        Exxon can also get commercial rates for electricity, but the electric utility could always cut out the middlemen by jumping into the business and installing their own chargers.

        Right now oil companies are all pretty much on even footing and collude to set prices(the shell and mobil stations by me always have exactly the same price). But when it comes to electricity oil companies would not control the means of production and would always be at a disadvantage compared to a utility.

        Maybe the republicans(and blue dogs) will do the oil companies a favor and make it illegal for utilities to sell electricity directly so they can continue to be "competitive".
        • 5 Years Ago
        "...the electric utility could always cut out the middlemen by jumping into the business and installing their own chargers."

        This makes the most sense to me. If anyone is going to make money on BEVs, it will most certainly be the electric utilities. They would always be able to charge less than any other source (Exxon, Applebees, etc.) because they control the product. They would actually have a greater monopoly than most oil companies currently enjoy. Of course, most of the electricity today comes from coal and natural gas, so there's always a chance for collusion between the electric utilities and the fossil fuel suppliers.

        It looks like the car of the future will be determined by the outcome of a political struggle between Big Oil and Big Electricity.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Paul

      The 12,750 chargers won't be spread out over America's 100 biggest cities, they're going to be installed in the five geographic test markets. That's a little more than 2,500 per state. Considering the Leaf has such minimal range, it's not surprising they want about a 2.5-to-1 ratio of chargers to ensure there will always be one nearby when the Leaf is ready to conk out.

      "You’d like people to mostly charge at home and at night, that’s the prime objective. The usable available infrastructure is there to help them extend the usability of their vehicles.

      The level 3 chargers provide an insurance policy, so if you decide you need to go farther you can stop for 10 minutes, get a hit, get another 20 or 30 miles and then you can do what you need to do and get home."

      That sounds like fun. I'm out shopping, and I'm low on charge. Assuming I can even get to a level three charger and not the more common level two, that's a 10-minute wait for 20-30 miles of range. And I might have to stop again for more juice. Sounds like a great way to spend the weekend: errand, charge, errand, charge, errand, charge....

        • 5 Years Ago
        Those numbers include home chargers, when most people will be charging from when they're at home at night, and

        The Leaf gets over 100 miles and thanks to these EV stations being blanketed everywhere drivers will simply be able to convenience charge when they're out and they want to keep their car topped off. When they get home they plug it in for a full charge - enough to last the average person two full days worth of driving. The only time when somebody would be running on E would be if they were traveling almost 100 miles without stopping to plug in along the way - something thats not going to happen in cities where there are almost 2 plugs for every person with a BEV.

        Cut the hyperbole, the act is getting old.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If you live further than about 20 miles from where you work, your kids go to school, or you do most of your shopping, then I would recommend against getting an electric car. Let's leave it at that. I live within about 10 miles of all of those things. There are about 8 days a year when I drive more than 50 miles in a day. I have an 11 year old Civic that is still quite reliable that I'll happily keep around (I wouldn't get much for it if I sold it) that will take me as far as I like.

        You may be someone who is poorly suited to an EV with 100 mile range.
        I'm someone who is well suited to an EV with 100 mile range (or 50 for that matter).
        • 5 Years Ago
        If you're on errands, then you won't need a charge. It's pretty simple, not sure why you have such a problem and describe 100 miles as "such a limited range". Perhaps you live in a very remote area? Then you're not the right audience for current technology and you'll have to stick with dinosaur tech.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Polo

        LOL. Cut the hyperbole? I remeber a few posts ago when I asked people to stop posting "hydrogen goes boom" in every post that was positive regarding the advances in fuel cells. Here are a few responses I got:

        meme: "sorry if this hurts your feelings so much that you feel the need to insist that nobody can bring it up."

        sean: "You have no right to complain about people posting an anti-hydrogen opinion....The only time you have a legitimate complaint is when some one posts false factual claims, ignores logic, refuses to listen to the other people here or resorts to personal attacks...If we don't listen to those we disagree with there is no way we can correct our mistakes."

        meme: "I'd love it if someone drove up in front of your house at 3:00 AM and start lighting hydrogen balloons until you got a picture of how violently it burns. ;)"

        If they can talk about the negatives of fuel cells in a pro-fuel cell post, what's the big deal with me bringing up the negatives of BEVs in a pro-BEV post? I asked for a little civility, and got people telling me I was an industry shill, and an idiot for supporting a potential beneficial technology. I like BEVs, but I happen to think that the battery tech isn't where it needs to be yet. Many OEMs agree with me, and most industry players think that BEVs will always be a niche market.

      • 5 Years Ago
      --However, I doubt Applebee's and other retail establishments would like to jump through the regulatory and safety issues just to provide electricity.

      The charging stations already come certified, and be put practically anywhere. These are practically guaranteed to become a mainstay at malls, restaurants, etc basically anywhere that customers can be convinced to spend extra time (and money) at for the convenience of a fast and cheap (or free) charge. A McDonalds store has already put in a free charging station for their customers. You apparently don't know what you're talking about.

      http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/07/07/green-mcdonalds-installs-electric-vehicle-charging-stations/#


      --The local Electric Co. would be the one to do it, and they'd certainly want to charge a premium for the "convenience". If you're using a charger on the road, you're a captive customer - they know you can't go far, and you'll pay whatever price they ask.

      You're blatantly wrong on two points

      1) Local utilities would have incentive to offer LOWER prices on their own (outside-the-home) charging outlets since these would most likely be used during the day during peak hours when they would welcome ability of these BEVs to feed energy back into the grid, and some utilities are already offering to PAY CUSTOMERS to do this.

      2) Local utilities DO NOT have a lock on charging outlets, and the fact that they're being installed will attract other charging station companies who see their is a market. Not only would these utilities have to compete with other charging station companies, they would have to compete with other local utilities and offer competitive rates to these companies for the rights to have their EV charging networks plugged into the utility's lines.
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