Amy Eichenberger is an architect and project manager at the University of Virginia who oversees major capital investments for the school and a mother of two. At 47 years of age, she wasn't planning on buying a new car anytime soon and was happy commuting in her Mercedes daily.
When a colleague began parking a new Nissan LEAF at the school, she wondered about the new, modern-looking vehicle with its plug-in port. She asked about the car and learned what she could about it and then decided she should go look at one. She went o a local dealership and test drove one. Then she was hooked.
"As an architect, the style first got my attention, and I loved the concept of zero emissions," Amy said. She describes herself as "picky." Quality, safety, a "glide ride" and reliability were at the top of Amy's auto shopping list criteria. "I'd been told once I drove a Mercedes I'd never drive anything else again. I don't need fancy, but I do appreciate the solid feel and craftsmanship of a luxury vehicle, and I get that in the LEAF," Amy said.
She then tried some other cars. She tried a VW Jetta TDI, a Toyota Prius, a Honda CRV, and some Subaru products, but always came back to the LEAF. "Everything else seemed stuck in the past," Amy explained.
She finally bought a LEAF in Glacier White and commutes to work (10 miles each way) daily as well as doing her errand-running, which any mother of two can appreciate. All well under the estimated range of the car (EPA is 84 miles). She also visits friends in Richmond, Virginia and makes that trip by taking a little planning ahead of time to get charged on the way. She says her LEAF meets her needs 98 percent of the time and her son's or a friend's car can do the rest.
"LEAF will meet my needs 98 percent of the time, and I didn't want to let a little range anxiety prevent me from missing out on what I consider a much more progressive and forward-thinking vehicle than any of the alternatives," the new LEAF owner nods.
Most Nissan LEAF owners Torque News has spoken with have similar stories to Amy's. They saw one on the street and asked about it, knew someone who owned one, or otherwise came into contact with the electric car well before test driving and buying. There are a lot of "early adopters" who've purchased the LEAF, but most LEAF owners are everyday people who happened to decide that an EV was a better option.