2011 Nissan Leaf - Click above for high-res image gallery

Yesterday, we reported that Nissan had delivered a total of 106 Leafs in the U.S. since launching the electric hatch back in December of 2010. In addition to the low level of deliveries, there's been some chatter regarding delays in shipping Leafs to those who've ordered one. This latest bit of info, which comes directly from the Nissan camp, is likely to stir up the pot even more.

The Japanese automaker has struck a deal with numerous rental car agencies in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. The deal calls for Nissan to deliver at least 220 Leafs to the area, and 190 have apparently already shipped out. The electric hatches will take part in the Eco-resort Island Okinawa Promotion Project. The Leafs delivered in Okinawa are part of Nissan's planned fleet of at least 500 rental Leafs that will be deployed throughout Japan by the end of 2011.

If you're still awaiting delivery of your Leaf, then here's some reassuring info: Nissan claims that Leafs will pour out of its Oppama factory at the rate of 4,000 per month starting in March, so this shipment of 190 Leafs should not cause (much) additional delay. Hat tip to evnow!



Photos copyright ©2010 Damon Lavrinc / AOL

[Source: Nissan]
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Nissan LEAF Brings Eco-Friendly Tourism to Okinawa

The FINANCIAL -- Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. on February 1 announced it has delivered 220 units of its 100% electric and zero-emission Nissan LEAF to rental car companies in Okinawa Prefecture, to support the project "Eco-resort Island Okinawa Promotion Project".

The Nissan LEAF, which went on sale in December last year, is leading the way in the spread of electric vehicles (EV) as a means to reduce the effects of tourism on the environment.

The Ceremony launching the new EV Rental Car service held today in Tomigusuku City in Okinawa was attended by Yoshiyuki Uehara, Okinawa vice-governor and representatives from local business groups, rental car companies and travel agencies. After the ribbon-cutting event, 190 units of the Nissan LEAF made their way to destinations all over the prefecture.

Nissan has prepared about 500 units of Nissan LEAF to be used as rental cars nationwide for fiscal 2010 and 220 units, or about 40%, of them have been introduced in Okinawa. The Prefecture attracts nearly six million tourists every year and around half of them rent cars to go sightseeing. Nissan LEAF, with its excellent environmental performance is a perfect fit as it features a spacious cabin that accommodates five adults, superior acceleration performance and quietness, and a new ICT system for navigation. Nissan, through its support of this EV rental car project aims to have as much customers experience the joys of EV and create a ripple effect that will resonate its environmental benefit to the rest of the country.

Related companies within the prefecture have also established a joint company called Advanced Energy Company (AEC) to deploy charging facilities in Okinawa. Providing active support for the wide-spread adoption of EV in the prefecture, the new company has already built 27 charging facilities in 18 spots in the main island, ready for use by the EV rental cars.

With the goal of becoming a global leader in zero-emission mobility, Nissan, in conjunction with Alliance partner Renault, has signed more than 90 partnerships for zero-emission mobility with governments, municipalities and companies worldwide. Nissan LEAF went on sale in Japan and the United States in December last year and to be followed by selected markets in Europe. Release in other global markets is set to begin in 2012.

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