Thursday, February 11, 2010


The line for a new plug-in vehicle from a major OEM is now forming with Nissan's announcement that you can register for a first come - first served place in line to get their Leaf.

You can reserve your place in line starting in April for a refundable $100, and confirm the purchase as early as August for a delivery probably in December, or shortly thereafter.

Of interest is that they are confirming you can either buy the car, or lease it. No confirmation on whether you can buy the car and lease the battery. They're still working on how that would work, if at all.

Some might not feel it's important to get one of the first of any particular car, especially since brand new vehicles tend to have some shakeout issues that get fixed in subsequent iterations. However, there are those who like being in the vanguard and want to be the first on their block with exciting new technology.

Well, if you fit that description, you'll definitely want to get on Nissan's list. And GM's for that matter when it starts.

I wasn't that type of guy for most of my life, but I stumbled into the most incredible opportunity in 2002 that literally changed my life forever. My wife and I bought an electric car.

From that point on, we haven't emitted a whiff of pollution while driving.

We stopped going to gas stations entirely.

We never, ever wondered if our car would start and run. It's operated perfectly 100% of the time for over 7 years and 78,589 miles.

All of our energy money stays in our country. Most of it in our own pockets.

We can run our car with energy generated from the sunlight falling on our house.

All of these things making driving a complete and utter joy.

This is why I think Nissan and GM, not to mention BMW, Mitsubishi, Volvo, Mercedes, Ford and all the rest, are going to have a hard time keeping their cars in stock. There will be a strong initial demand followed by huge word of mouth.

And once the inevitable increase in the price of gas occurs, the masses will follow. This is why the smart people are paying attention.

To get on Nissan's list, go to

REGISTER: Interested people can register for more information about the Nissan LEAF on To date, close to 50,000 people have registered on the website. Registrants will be given first priority to reserve a Nissan LEAF.
RESERVE: The reservation process will begin in April, shortly after the announcement of the price of the Nissan LEAF. Upon paying a fully refundable $100 reservation fee, registrants will be among the first in line able to order a Nissan LEAF.
ORDER: Nissan will begin taking firm orders in August, for deliveries when sales begin in the driver’s particular market.
EARLY DELIVERIES: Rollout begins in select markets in December 2010, with vehicles available in all major launch markets quickly thereafter.


  1. It will be intteresting to see how well Nissan does with the small car genre when compare to GM's offering and Toyota's PI Prius with Li-Ion batteries.

    Is there any firm decision from Nissan as to whether the batteries will be sold withthe car or leased as a separate entity subject to all of the foibles concommitant with automotive lease agreements? I wonder what will happen to vwehicle ownership if they recall the batteries for cause.


  2. Hi Paul,
    This is great news. I will talk to you in person in a few hours, at the Mar Vista Farmers Market on Sunday, Febraury 14. I HEART electric cars.

  3. My girlfriend can't wait to be on that list. She'll be trading in her 2009 Nissan Versa!

  4. Hey Simon!

    Tell your girlfriend the Leaf is going to be just like her Versa, except it'll be quicker, totally silent, and she won't emit a whit of pollution.

    And thanks again for the helmets. I use mine all the time with the Vectrix. I might have a friend selling a used one, btw, if you're interested.

  5. Hi Paul,

    Thank you for posting this. But, I still don't seem to know the answers to my major questions about the LEAF.

    What will it cost to buy? With or without leasing the battery?

    What will it cost to lease?



  6. Hi Paul,
    Nice post. I posted a short write-up to SolarChargedDriving.Com on the LEAF. Sounds like you and Zan are pretty much set on a LEAF?

    I would definitely like to part of the vanguard. However, money may well prevent us from being part of it. We've saved $10k for the 5.5 kW solar system for our house (going up in June 2010). But that leaves us with nothing for a car. Can't get much on a trade-in for a 1992 Acura Integra or a 1994 Toyota Camry either.

    The irony is that in the long run, a LEAF (or another EV) would save us money, but we can't put ourselves into position to save enough money in the shorter term so that we can save in the long term. Definitely going to be blogging on this short term vs. long term cost issue on my web site.

    Quick question: Can you help me clarify the following:

    a) is the Federal Tax Credit for EVs for the first 200,000 EVs that are produced by ALL carmakers combined?
    b) OR is it contingent on each car maker (200,000 LEAFs get $7,500 credit; 200,000 Volts get a $7,5000 credit), etc.?

    There's a huge difference between these. If it's the credit is for the first 200,000 EVs/PHEVs produced by all carmakers combined, the tax credit will be gone before you know it.

    That means it will actually cost more -- a lot more! -- to buy a new LEAF, or Volt, etc. in the second year they're out than in the first year!

    I haven't seen a single web site article about the EV/PHEV fedearl tax credit that actually properly clarifies this issue.


  7. Ron,

    That's because they haven't settled on a price yet. I understand that the price will be announced by August. There are a lot of variables to pricing these cars, not the least of which is the cost of the battery today, next year, and most importantly, in 7-10 years when the battery needs to be replaced. Also, what will the value of the used battery be? Utilities are talking about buying the used batteries for energy storage at night. This gives the old battery pack a bit more value than just the lithium recycling component.

  8. Ron,
    Nissan will be selling the battery with the LEAF!

    Nissan also says you will be able to do a lease package that is for the car + the battery.

    "The Nissan LEAF will be available to consumers via lease or sale, in a single transaction that includes the battery."

    In other words, (unless I'm not reading the release correctly), if you buy the lease, you also buy the battery.

    This is good news -- at least from my perspective.

    I keep hearing mid 20s to mid 30s for the LEAF - before the federal tax credit. If the LEAF comes in at $27k before the tax credit and you can get the car + the battery for $20k, that would be fantastic (for us). At $37k before the tax credit, that's out of our price range...

  9. Oops,
    Typo in my last post. Should read:
    "If you buy the LEAF, you also purchase the battery."

  10. Christof asked:

    a) is the Federal Tax Credit for EVs for the first 200,000 EVs that are produced by ALL carmakers combined?
    b) OR is it contingent on each car maker (200,000 LEAFs get $7,500 credit; 200,000 Volts get a $7,5000 credit), etc.?

    It's "b". You can thank Plug In America, specifically our legislative director, Jay Friedland, as he worked tirelessly to expand the tax credit to encompass the first 200,000 cars from each manufacturer.

  11. Hi Paul,
    Thank you so much for your clarification! I feel a bit less rushed to get an EV now. Of course, we want to get one as soon as we can, but now we have a longer window to save cash.

    However, just for further clarification: Do EVs/PHEVs from smaller car manufacturers like CODA, Think, etc. also qualify for the 200,000 sold tax credit threshold?

  12. Yes, they do. The way it was explained to me is that any EV will get the $7,500 tax credit as long as they have at least 15 kWh of capacity. There is no limit to the size of the company, only to the first 200,000 units made by that manufacturer. There may be a time at which the tax credit goes away, but I haven't heard about it.

  13. Paul,
    Thank you again. This is excellent news!

  14. If you pay cash for your solar panels, the money you save on your electric bill can go toward your car payment. A virtuous circle of feel goody, tree huggy, anti-OPEC/Big Oil sanctimony.

  15. Paul:

    Your legislative director, Jay Friedland, deserves a heap of credit for expanding that tax credit to cover 200,000 EVs per maker. I followed the legislation as it developed and was very impressed to see that change during the process. That was a huge change and will hopefully spur on more small EV carmakers and create a more competitive market for EVs.

  16. Thank you so much for your clarification! I feel a bit less rushed to get an EV now. Of course, we want to get one as soon as we can, but now we have a longer window to save cash.

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