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Nissan's division vice president Al Castignetti made quite a bold statement and prediction at the recent groundbreaking event in Smyrna, TN when he said that over half of the 130,000 hand-raisers for the Nissan Leaf, currently own a Toyota Prius. Specifically, Castignetti said:
That's a pretty significant signal to us. It tells us that there is a segment of eco-friendly consumers who are interested in going to the next level. They own a hybrid vehicle. But if the next step is available, they want to take it.
Castignetti went on to predict that current Prius owners will be won over by the Leaf's charm and promise of zero-emissions driving. At the beginning, though, the small number of Leaf buyers will barely put a dent in the Prius' huge sales totals. Castignetti added that many Nissan dealerships are now eager to get the Leaf, adding that all Nissan dealers that plan to sell the Leaf will be required to install at least two charging stations. Larger dealers will be required to install four units, including one for public use by Leaf owners. No word on whether using that public charger will cost Leaf drivers any money or not.

[Source: Autoweek]


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  • 59 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Note the word "hand raisers", the numbers are those who signed up for the info and many to reserve but we will see how many really buy. Sure there would be clear high numbers here but the statistics that were given were misleading. The Prius needs a full reboot and yes many like the taste of electric drive.
      • 5 Years Ago
      if the Leaf had a tiny lean optimized range extender it would cripple prius sales. the prius gives you the taste of electric drive but still rapes you with fossil fuel burning. bit like that vehicle from south park, comes with a catch. if they could get the real thing without the range limit it would be adios crappy prius.
        • 5 Years Ago
        hehe, I take it you are new here. many consider me wrong at first but I'm usually not.
        the prius is a gas car that gains an increase in efficiency with the aid of an electric motor but it's still a combustion engine running on fossil fuel. electric cars and plugin hybrids are totally different. they can drive without gas, powered from sources like windmills and solar panels. entirely easily green and here. even if all the cars in the world were changed to prii it would still not avoid peak oil, nor provide energy security nor stop global warming. it is just not part of the solution. it has played an important symbolic role but is ultimately useless and it is time for it to leave and so it will be.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Gary, indeed. especially when cars are made really light and aerodynamic so they take very little power to drive at highway speeds and then a very small simple and elegant generator that weighs and costs very little hidden away in the back of the car such that it spoils as little of the EV experience as possible.
        the REEV has great potential. if only the moronic car makers got in gear.
        it's terrible really. there are no real technical difficulties in getting off fossil fuel, only obstructing idiots.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Dan, you're a moron. The Prius is the highest rated and best regarded car - hyhbrid or not. Crappy? What planet do you live on?
        • 5 Years Ago
        "The biggest value of the Prius is that it gives their drivers a hint of what driving electric could be. That is another reason why so many Prius drivers are interested in EVs."

        Yeah, a hint. You can up to a mile at low speed under a few specific circumstances.

        Depending on the driver's habits, the range-extended and I'll-never-be-stranded gas-5%-of-the-time Volt will slot nicely between the range-limiting Leaf with gas 0% of the time, and the Prius with gas 95% of the time.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The biggest value of the Prius is that it gives their drivers a hint of what driving electric could be. That is another reason why so many Prius drivers are interested in EVs.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Same small group of nuts.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Back to the topic...

      I think it the fast chargers at the dealerships is a great idea. Dealership traffic would go up- per dealer visit, free charging would surely give better ROI than advertising. Maybe they can sell refreshments- like a gas station. Passers by would have the opportunity to look at a car that will be in short supply while it is charging. Owners would have more interaction with the dealer to potentially build consumer loyalty (as well as sell accessories and push new models). And owners will have more interaction with each other- potentially forming a subculture surrounding the car. This cultural reinforcement would create a stronger market for the vehicle.

      I also think it would be fun to roadtrip (for relatively short trips) by dealer-hopping. I kind of like stopping every hour or so anyway (wish we had German-style rest stops).
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think it will really help people get a chance to see a LEAF in the early stages of the roll out. When the dealer does not have one sitting on the lot as they fill the reservation, customers might get a chance to see one charging up. I am sure the ower will be willing to answer questions that salesperson can not. Like range questions for the weather in that area. The problem with the EPA and range/mpg, at least for gas cars, the companies can only quote the EPA numbers. I am thinking with the EV they will only be able to quote the LA4 range numbers. Someone who has driven in the winter with the heater on in a cooler area can say "You are good for 50 miles on a really cold day" or whatever the car gets.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ine937s

        That's a good idea, they should design the recharging spots in a way that attracts foot traffic and spread EV coolness.

        But it will take many more fast chargers, thousands of them, located everywhere from parking garages to the supermarket lot. I don't see how 2 chargers at the dealership will be nearly enough to supply power to the Leafs bought there.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm skeptical. Just because current Prius owners make up a majority of Leaf buyers doesn't mean that a majority of Prius owners want to own a Leaf or that the Leaf could ever cut significantly into the Prius' marketshare.

      I own a Prius. I love my Prius, but I would never buy a pure electric vehicle, because I like the range flexibility. Plug-in hybrids are a different story however. I'd trade my Prius in for a plug in hybrid.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yay! Bring on the flooded used-Prius market; cheap Priora for all!!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ paul

        1970 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Nixon
        1977 Clean Water Act: Nixon
        1987 Water Quality Act: Reagan
        1990 Clean Air Act: Bush

        The only party to ever push for nuclear power: Republican
        (I know nuclear isn't perfect, but it sure beats coal)

        I know that it seems like republicans often side with economic interests over the environment, but I assure you we have the environment at heart. I'm not sure what's going on in your part of the country, but in Alabama it's generally Republican or Republican Lite policy, and we have some of the cleanest water in the nation... except for that one.. little... oil spill :(. But seriously, our rivers and lakes and forests are thriving. Our gulf is still thriving, though it seems BP may have screwed the pooch on that one.

        Clearly, Alabama's industry is younger than in some places, but that's not to say we don't have laws that keep facilities from dumping whatever they like into the wilderness. Environmental protection is paramount, and I agree that we should be doing more, but I don't think it needs to be a partisan issue, we should be working together. I think you'll see a lot of these "just say no" politicians (rep) getting kicked out this year because we're tired of the stalemate and want progress. I'm as frustrated with my party as any Democrat is because I think they're loosing sight of what it means to be a good steward of our nation's finances. Beyond that, there doesn't seem to be any cooperation between anyone on capitol hill to get even the most mutual interests passed. Of course, that's why my money goes to AWF (the Alabama chapter of the NWF) and Ducks Unlimited... I KNOW they're doing what's in the best interest of our nation, and I think a lot of others out there agree, whether you see it happen or not.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @matt

        it is huge, zero sales tax, road tax exempt etc.. And it does nothing to save CO2, 140 grams/km in real life, exactly the same as the competing Golf Bluemotion.

        You can guess how much the cost per tonne CO2 saved is.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Is there a method to check the condition of the battery pack? Having to replace that, means it is a write off, even as a DIY job...
        • 5 Years Ago
        "I don't live in subsidy heaven... I live in (and love) Alabama"

        Sorry Matt. Although the right-wing rhetoric may lead you to believe that Alabama isn't milking the federal government, it collects the seventh most in federal spending for every dollar in federal taxes paid. Federal spending makes up more or your economy than it does in any of the west coast of east coast deep-blue states. The right has a problem on spending on "we", not a problem with spending on "me"

        http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/266.html

        State, Federal Spending per Dollar of Federal Taxes, Rank
        New Mexico, $2.03, 1
        Mississippi, $2.02, 2
        Alaska, $1.84, 3
        Louisiana, $1.78, 4
        West Virginia, $1.76, 5
        North Dakota, $1.68, 6
        Alabama, $1.66, 7
        South Dakota, $1.53, 8
        Kentucky, $1.51, 9
        Virginia, $1.51, 10
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Matt

        I know republicans who are hunters and care about the environment and I enjoy a bit a venison as much as the next guy. But I don't trust elected republicans to make sure that the wild game and fish we eat are properly managed and safe to eat.

        Up north here we have a problem with cwd in the deer population(I think it comes from deer eating cow feed containing ground up animal proteins.) To find the problem we need more testing and possibly government regulation. This is a problem that private industry is unable to solve.

        We also have many lakes and rivers where the fish have high mercury levels. But I have never heard an elected republican official say a bad thing about bad about the coal and paper plants that cause the pollution.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, not really sure what that was all about. I just mean that we don't have any special subsidies for cars, like, say, California. The state has no incentive program for buying an EV, or any other car (that I'm aware of).

        Also, @ Ine937s,
        The federal spending in Alabama may have something to do with:

        Maxwell Air Force Base
        Anniston Army Depot
        Fort Rucker
        Redstone Arsenal
        I-65
        I-20
        I-59
        Corridor X (still under construction)
        I-10

        For the amount of infrastructure in this state, it has a relatively low population. If you look at federal spending per populated are I think you'll see a different story, but I really don't care. If we get more money than other states, good for us, I'm not going to cry about it. Maybe you should move? It's nice here, and the people are friendly, too.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't live in subsidy heaven... I live in (and love) Alabama. I'm aware the Leaf will not be on sale in my area right off the bat, but the used car market is now much broader thanks to eBay. With all those Prius owners wanting the newest/greenest thing they can get their hands on, I think the market for a lightly used one will be a buyers market.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You must live in subsidy heaven as well... Americans, spend your money wisely...our Golden Century was 400 years ago...
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Matt

        Sorry, I am keeping my prius for long trips. The leaf(or other EV) will replace our older ice vehicle.

        And good luck finding a republican politician that takes environmental protection as seriously as you do. I think there are a lot of hunters in your boat, republicans protect your guns but democrats protect the animals you hunt. As a democrat I take environmental stewardship seriously but I don't have a problem with sustainable hunting and hunting rifles.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Laurens,
        If you're issue is the subsidies, then I can understand that. Do you also campaign against subsidies for the oil companies? Do you also try to get us to stop spending military money protecting pipelines in the middle east?

        Do you support a level playing field or is it ok to subsidize the choices you make but not the ones that someone else makes?
        • 5 Years Ago
        "it is huge, zero sales tax, road tax exempt etc.. And it does nothing to save CO2, 140 grams/km in real life, exactly the same as the competing Golf Bluemotion"

        Nothing to save CO2? Really? Lets see, I live in Washington, where 70% of the electricity is generated from hydro. I also signed up for 100% green (wind) power from my utility (we don't count all the hydro we are blessed with as "green" power in WA). So, please let me know how much CO2 I'm generating by powering an EV with wind and water. I think all of the folks with rooftop PV systems are also curious as to how much CO2 is generated when the sun fills up their batteries.

        In the US, at least, we are blessed as consumers to choose how our electricity is generated, just head to the website for your Electric Company and search for the link for Green Power. You don't need an EV to reduce your Carbon footprint, just a couple of bucks. My utility charges an extra $2 for 160 kW of green power... which amounts to a grand total of $4 a month for me at my consumption level of electricity. Imagine how much CO2 we could reduce if everyone in the US was willing to spend just trivial amount of extra money and signed up for green power.

        An EV is the ONLY type of vehicle available now that can run completely carbon-free. Thats 0 grams/km, and I'm pretty sure that zero is less than 140 g/km, with no mining, drilling, shipping, refining or spilling needed.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ paul,

        I think there are a lot of Prius owners that will do just as you are, replacing a second vehicle, but hopefully (for me :) there will be a lot of them with a need for only one car that will replace their Prius. If that's the case it could be a good opportunity to pick one up.

        The second thing I would like to say is that all of the hunters I know are Republican. Those same people are the ones that fund every single wildlife conservation group in the state. Most people don't realize that Ducks Unlimited and the National Wildlife Federation, arguably the two biggest conservation groups in the country, were started by and are currently supported by Republicans. You don't have to be Rep. to be a donor, but most members are. Those two organizations have had a tremendous impact and have saved millions of acres of our forests from destruction. Ducks Unlimited protects more wetlands than any organization on earth. To say that Republicans don't support the wildlife of this country is ludicrous, and completely false. The fact is, conservatives would rather donate directly to the groups they support, rather than allowing politics decide where it should be spent. I'm not saying Democrats don't love animals or anything stupid like that, but I am saying Republicans support the wildlife of this country and to say otherwise is uninformed.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm not sure... It may be worth replacing anyway, if for no other reason than to upgrade and have a nice little plug-in conversion. Haven't seen much on those lately, but I'm sure there's a good one out there somewhere. Are you saying there's a tax write off for that? How much, and is it federal or just your state?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Republicans do not equal conservatives. I can understand the conservative philosophy -- limited government, low taxes, fiscally prudent. And I support hunting, at least for food (trophy hunting for grizzlies is a different matter). I may not agree with conservatism but I can at least respect it. But the Republican party is a farce, these are some of the stupidest people I have ever laid eyes on, it's a mockery of conservatism.

        Now Sarah Palin is blaming the oil spill on radical environmentalists, I presume that she is arguing that somehow she would have discouraged offshore drilling (yeah right) instead of the "safer" on shore drilling such as in ANWR (can you give us a number of how long would all that oil power the US, Miss Palin?). And I'm sure she would have cleaned up all the MMS / government cronyism which lead to the spill in the first place, since of course Republicans are all about increasing government regulation of criminal industries..... NOT. This woman is an insult to the human species, taking advantage of 11 deaths, destroyed livelihoods, destroyed wildlife, and taxpayers' money to clean up the mess, in order to further her own personal political agenda.
        • 5 Years Ago
        lne937s,
        I'm not doubting the numbers because the link you gave is very clear. But I would like to see what they define as "federal spending". I've spent a great deal of my life in Alabama and my family is all from there. My aunt was the mayor of Enterprise and worked hand in hand with Ft Rucker so I'm very familiar with the state and most of it's economy.

        I'm not sure what they count as federal spending, but I have a feeling that a lot of that is disproportionate because the state is relatively poor so the spending on military bases or up in Huntsville on rocket programs might skew those numbers to not really reflect the average person's lifestyle.

      • 5 Years Ago
      That is good news, means that every one else sees it as just another craze.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nope, I'm not talking about myself at all. If bio-fuels help reduce CO2, if they lower the amount of petroleum we use, then I'm all for them. Same with EV's and FCV's and whatever.

        To me I'm hugely in favor of getting off of petroleum for what it does to our economy, our environment and the politics of the whole thing.

        If you're against EV's because you think they don't help with these issues, then fine we can debate the merits of the various choices. But you always come off as negative on EVs.

        If your arguments are that there are better ways to achieve our goals, then I apologize and will be happy to debate which path is the best way forward.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ask yourself why Europeans emit less CO2, that is not all wealth related. Bang for buck, the EV just doesn't qualify. Frugal ICE does, cost is zero...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Somehow, aren't you talking about yourself? My view is: cost per tonne CO2 reduced. EV doesn't show up on the radar screen, if one would make a list, ok, at the bottom.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Your logic doesn't make sense simply because the numbers won't support your goal. Transportation only accounts for 25% of US CO2. You think that decreasing that by some "frugal ICE" is going to somehow make us emit less overall CO2 than Europe? You site the 140g/m figure for EVs and say it's about the same a Golf Bluemotion.

        Ok, did you also factor in the 3 kWh of electricity used to refine that gallon of petroleum? That's another 1,800g of CO2 for each of those gallons for the Golf.

        Can you run around and put extra filters on the 250 million cars already in the US fleet? Remember, transportation only accounts for 25% of our CO2 output. Are you really focusing on bang for the buck/tonne CO2 removed...or did you just pick something that would be yet another small contribution to improving the situation?

        If you want to talk the most bang for the buck in CO2, then shut down older coal plants and replace them with natural gas. That is a 50% improvement on the average coal plant, much higher % compared to the oldest and dirtiest. And natural gas has almost ZERO mercury, SO2, PMs and most of the other horrors of coal.

        On top of that, that 140g/m can be improved, and WILL be improved every year as the grid improves. Can you do that with a bluemotion? The grid dropped 4.3% CO2 emissions last year simply by a small increase in natural gas vs. coal (it was over 7% total, but part of that was due to the recession...the "CO2 intensity" dropped 4.3%).

        The real world number for the Leaf was actually 136g/m with the 2008 grid. With the 2009 grid, that number would be 130g/mile. That decrease is expected to continue and even accelerate. Every EV and PHEV on the road benefits and gets better every year as the grid cleans up...AND the overall electric grid cleans up which is where most of our CO2 emissions come from.

        The Golf also doesn't do anything to decrease smog in city centers where traffic is concentrated. The EVs/PHEVs do.

        If your goal is to reduce CO2, why wouldn't we focus where the bang for the buck is the greatest overall?

        By the way for me, reducing petroleum usage is just as important as CO2 reduction. If they certify all their diesels for bio-diesel so that we can eventually make some progress. Otherwise, I would not possibly support something that furthers our petroleum dependence. Our economy can't take it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Lauren,
        "Whatever"??? Wow, that's a mighty strong argument. I'm not sure I can counter that kind of intellectual prowess.

        You say that you want to address CO2 and I talk about a better way, with concrete numbers, to do that for less money. And your brilliant rebuttal is "whatever".

        So do you have some other logic why you would not take the actions that most address the problem you're trying to solve? Or do you really just like that diesel car so much that you don't really give a damn about the goals you're talking about?

        If you don't believe the numbers I'm giving, I can provide plenty of references, but then they are fairly common and easy to find so it seems a waste of time. You just don't care do you?

        I guess you're right: Whatever.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Whatever. 140 gram is Prius, by the way. Overpriced/under performing, you pick.

        Go ahead, do make yourself extinct. We managed that 400 years ago.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Laurens,
        You're the kind of guy that goes to a party and gets pissed off
        because everyone at the party isn't getting drunk like you are. Who
        cares if they might even be a designated driver....they should be
        doing what you do and "getting shit faced drunk like the rest of us!
        What's wrong with them???"

        What do you care if someone else likes EVs? Does it diminish your
        manhood somehow by comparison? Is there something evil about EVs
        that you have a problem with or do you just enjoy trolling and
        showing your ass?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Prius owners might use the Leaf as a primary vehicle for their commute. Then use their Prius for longer drives.

      Or they sell their Prius and use the Leaf as their only vehicle. Thousands of used Priuses will then be on used car lots making the vehicle available to more people.

      Either scenario is good. The less oil we use, the better off we will be.
        • 5 Years Ago
        And of course, some of those Prius will be retrofitted with plugs and better batteries to use even less petroleum fuels. Some may even get a flex-fuel modification, to become a "tri-fuel" (petrol/alcohol/electricity) hybrid...
      • 5 Years Ago
      --EV adoption will take decades and we have to start now.

      Most (oil folks, government folks, financial industry folks) are predicting peak oil by the end of this decade, with oil prices blowing away 2007-08 highs by 2015 (of course, high early EV adoption rates could affect that).

      Forget any reported statistics you hear about adoption rates. By the end of this decade the entire world will be lunging for EVs like a drowning swimmer lunging for air.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Dave

      I think that military and government contracts being a major pillar of the Alabama state economy probably has a lot to do with it. Politicians from the area have lobbied for generations to get it there. And federal infrastructure spending per cap is more for rural areas (even compared to places like NYC with public transit). And Alabama state government doesn't spend as much on things like education, which is the foundation for the establishment of stronger private industry. By comparison of another state with miltary bases and federal contracts, Connecitcut (#1 in federal taxes paid per cap and #4 in state education spending per pupil) spends much more on education (almost twice as much) and has much stronger private industry compared to Alabama (#42 in federal taxes paid and #44 in state education spending).

      Cultural differences also contribute:
      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/opinion/10douthat.html
      • 5 Years Ago
      I can see why. I had the chance to drive a Prius and even took my roommate for a ride. The experience of the ICE cutting off is so nice. Even just those brief periods of EV driving caused my roommate to reconsider his stance on electric cars. He's one of those "if it wont go 300 miles and recharge in 10 minutes, it will never work" types.

      I'm not a super environmentalist. I don't conserve every watt of electricity or take super short showers to save water. My main concern is the amount of oil the US consumes. The Prius is a good step toward reducing oil consumption but the stock Prius still goes nowhere without gas.

      Now with the golf oil spill as evidence that the hunt for oil is going to far, pushing to many limits. We have to liberate ourselves from oil sooner than later. Electric cars, like the Leaf, are the way to go.

      P.S. 130,000 hand raisers? I thought the reservations were at 13,000
        • 5 Years Ago
        The right-wing should embrace EVs for a number reasons. It reduces the deficit and thus helps the USA economy . . . you love the USA, right? And much of the money we spend on oil is used to fund terrorists . . . you don't want to fund terrorists do you? And much of the oil money funds Chavez . . . are you Chavez fans?

        Former CIA director & conservative james Woolsey drives a plug-in Prius.

        The Republican who funded the Swiftboat Vets for Truth drives a natural gas vehicle.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Randy

        I'm not sure what your political views are, but as a Republican, I believe this line of thinking is what should drive more of us right-wing-ers to more sustainable living. I'm also a hunter, and an outdoorsman, so I'm a strong believer in taking care of our environment and our fellow creatures. You don't have to be a "tree hugger" to realize the benefits of having a conservative (in the most literal use of the word) energy policy, in both the public and private since. As a private citizen I know what I do adds up, as a voter I push for cleaner energy policies whenever possible. Either way, being conservative with energy use benefits us all, I don't know how fuel efficient cars came to be seen as a political divide... it's an automobile, it's not a political statement.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The 130k handraisers are the people who signed up for the email list. 13k is the number of people who put $99 down(refundable) to reserve a vehicle.
        • 5 Years Ago
        --The right-wing should embrace EVs for a number reasons. It reduces the deficit and thus helps the USA economy

        When has the right-wing ever done either of those things?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Bravo! And congratulations to your friend for taking the first steps toward freedom from the oil cartels.

        I look forward to millions more like your friend finding out how cool an EV actually is.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The right-wing used to be environmentalist, it was a Republican who created the Endangered Species Act.

        Since then things have changed, and if you're not a drill baby drill cretin, then other Repubes will spit on you. Sad.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I've own a Prius for almost 7 years now and I am one of the first to reserve the Leaf.

      I am disappointed that Toyota does not have a comparable EV. We will keep the Prius because it is paid in full, but our next car will be the Leaf.

      Toyota just lost a customer.
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