The 2012 Nissan Leaf

Nissan expects Leaf EV sales to double when American plant opens

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The Nissan Leaf has been taking a beating in the battle of mainstream electric vehicles as the Chevrolet Volt has outsold it by a massive margin this year but Nissan execs expect to see a great many more Leaf EVs sold once the American production facility opens late this year.

Through the first five months of 2012, just 2,613 examples of the Nissan Leaf have been delivered to customers around the United States and because of the pre-order program that ran in 2010; Nissan is actually just delivering vehicles on old orders and not selling new models. This means that a prospective buyer of a new electric vehicle can walk into a great many Chevrolet dealerships around the country and drive out with a brand new Chevy Volt but someone who wants to buy a new Nissan Leaf can only hope to make a deposit and put their name on a list with the hopes of getting a chance to buy a Leaf in the next year or so. Early on, Nissan wasn’t even accepting orders but now some American buyers in select markets can place in order for a 2013 Leaf – although with an average of just over 500 units per month this year, it could be a good long time before you get that new electric vehicle.

The problem plaguing the Japanese automaker is that with the Nissan Leaf being sold in markets around the world – the company is obviously having a hard time meeting the demand. The company is working hard to ship Leaf EVs to the US to fulfill those 2010 pre-orders as quickly as possible but there is no question that the lack of immediate availability can be a turn off to some buyers. However, Nissan plans that there will be far less problem with meeting the demand for the Leaf in America when their new production facility opens in Tennessee later this year.

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We've had our Leaf for 11 months now and the short-form review is.... it works. It works just fine. At this point in time (until the charging infrastructure is in place) the EV is a town car, plain and simple. Great for commuting to work, running a couple of errands, maybe going out to a ballgame or movie. My commute is 20 miles round-trip, which leaves plenty of juice for running around town. But that in-town driving makes up 75-80 percent of our total driving miles. Reviewers who've said an EV makes a great second car have it ass-backwards. We have a 02 Honda CRV for road trips, but the Leaf is our primary car. Right now, a EV is impractical for a single person with one car. But for a family with two-cars (how many households does that include?) it makes perfect sense. Near as I can figure, our electric bill has gone up $15 to $20 a month. We should have been doing this 20-30 years ago.

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