Nissan busts myths about its all-electric LEAF

Nissan busts myths about its all-electric LEAF

Nissan Leaf at Tokyo Motor Show. On Monday, Nissan hosted a luncheon for members of the Washington Automotive Press Association to share what the automaker has learned from the past 11 months of sales of its LEAF electric vehicle and to discuss future plans for the car.

Brendan Jones, who has served as Director of LEAF Marketing and Sales Strategy for the past two years – and has been with Nissan a total of 18 years – spoke to a full room about the common misconceptions people have about all-electric vehicles, in particular, the brand’s own EV, the LEAF.


Among the Nissan LEAF
fallacies, here are a few of note:

The LEAF is not for mass market. “Wrong!” said Jones. It’s already been through 100,000 test drives – and that’s not counting dealership spins. Nissan has sold 8,000 LEAFs (yes, that’s the correct plural for it) in seven markets in the U.S. this year, with plans to extend into Southeastern markets and beyond in 2012.

LEAF drivers are all the same (read, hippies). Jones told us that there’s an interesting cross-section of LEAF drivers. Some are big on being green, but others love the technology that’s behind it all. And, of course, there are others who just didn’t want to have to go to the gas station to fill up.

It’s not a good “first” car. Many consumers have been surprised at how much they drive it Jones explained, even citing a few marital quarrels over who gets to take the LEAF.

Charging the LEAF is too difficult. Here’s the truth about charging from a basically empty battery: On 110V, charging time is 18 hours. That’s kind of the last resort as far as charging goes. On an L2 charger (wall mount), it’s 8 hours. But if you’re fortunate to have the DCFC charger (that means it’s direct current), then you can get a full charge in less than 30 minutes. That’s the part where you “oooooh” and “aaaaah.”

 

One of the main challenges that Nissan continues to face is reaching consumers in urban housing areas. If you live in a metropolitan area like I do, then you can’t just plunk down a car charging station wherever you like.

Jones said that Nissan is working with garages and residential buildings in metro areas to help lessen the difficulty for city-dwellers, for whom a car like the LEAF is seemingly perfect. (Yet, they have the least access to keeping it juiced up.) He also mentioned that some of the green infrastructure proponents are championing initiatives at the local level.

Other questions that were brought up at the luncheon that could spark some interesting commentary here were: “What if gas goes back to being less than $3.00?” “If the next President removed the $7,500 tax credit, how would it impact EV sales?” “Just how cold is too cold for the Nissan LEAF?”

Feel free to discuss among yourselves below.

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This article was written by

Melanie Batenchuk founded Be Car Chic in 2009 as a way to help consumers make smart decisions when buying and selling their cars. Her prior work at the dealership, trade association and manufacturer levels has provided her a deep understanding of the complex facets within the auto industry, making her a leading woman in her field.

There are 3 comments for this article
  1. Nissan Minneapolis at 3:30 AM

    If the tax credit were to be dropped the Leaf would see fewer sales but some consumers will still continue to buy them in order to make a statement (environmentally wise). It’s hard for urban dwellers; I’m in L.A and some apartment dwellers here don’t even have their own garage spot. We have to park on the street and it’s whatever spot you can find; sometimes we end up parking 4 blocks away. An EV would be too hard for those of us without a parking spot and rely on street parking.

  2. Melanie Batenchuk at 11:52 AM

    Thanks for your comments. You definitely make an excellent point about city life and the challenges it poses for those who want to take their greenness to their daily transportation. Living and working in the D.C. area, I fully understand your parking conundrum. It’s going to take a major overhaul for cities and metropolitan areas to adapt to plug-in vehicles. And unfortunately, that just doesn’t match up very well with the target demographic of these super fuel-sippers. I think that’s why the Prius initially had so much success. Anyone, anywhere could buy it and put it to good use. If I bought a LEAF, I would have nowhere to charge it…and I’m not even living in the most urban setting. But because I don’t own a plot of land, I can’t even consider it (if I wanted to). So, for me, that makes me rethink the “true” cost of ownership.

    Like SoCal, the D.C. area is wildly expensive. If I need my own house and land, plus the purchase and installation of a charger for a car that’s already priced at $36,000, just how well-off do I have to be to be a LEAF owner?

  3. ergo frezno at 10:29 PM

    Hmmm. Like my clean diesel thanks. Batteries still aren’t yet realistic yet.