Saturday, August 28, 2010

Selling Leafs in Santa Monica

My memorable trip in June to Yokohama to test drive the Nissan Leaf concluded with a private lunch with CEO, Carlos Ghosn.

After hearing Mr. Ghosn describe Nissan's plans for electrifying their fleet, and driving this remarkable car on their test track, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to personally help Nissan get the car into driver's hands. One by one, I want to replace those filthy internal combustion engines using 60% foreign oil, with clean, powerful motors using domestically-produced, renewable kWh generated from sunlight and wind.


Plug In America co-founder, Marc Geller, and I with Mr. Ghosn.


Since returning from Japan, I have been talking to various Nissan folks, and ultimately the very nice owner of Santa Monica Nissan. After being offered a position, I decided to go to work for Santa Monica Nissan exclusively selling the Leaf. I'm very excited since I'll still be selling solar PV systems for SolarCity, making me the first person on Earth to sell those two items together.

EV/PV. It has a nice ring.

Coincidentally, Dan Neil, the most talented auto writer in the English speaking world, finally got his turn behind the wheel of Nissan's Leaf. After describing the attributes of the Leaf, he states, "Such a car would have been science fiction five years ago."

Five years ago, Plug In America was deep into the fight with the auto industry to stop the crushing of EVs.

For almost eight years, I've known the day would arrive when well made, highway capable EVs would once again be available, and that when it happened, it would mark the beginning of the transition from oil to electricity as the energy source for our vehicle fleet. I have had the privilege of a front row seat to this amazing sequence of events, and now I want to do more than talk and write about it, I want to literally replace the dirty cars with clean ones.

If you live anywhere near southern California, and are interested in buying a leaf, I encourage you to contact Santa Monica Nissan and ask for me. If you haven't put down your deposit for the Leaf already, go to this Nissan site today and secure your place in line.

Neil makes the comment, "The Leaf also represents one of the most daring bids for market dominance I've ever seen in the car business because no one, and I mean no one, knows if the damned thing will sell."

Well, Dan, I know. I intend to be the number one Leaf salesman in the world. When you are ready for yours, look me up.

:~)

62 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Paul! I have no doubt you'll be a huge success at this. When I'm ready for mine, you're the man.

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  2. Way to go Paul! You've been a big part of the EV Renaissance here in California so this makes total sense given Nissans investment. Great to know you can finally working with carmakers then struggling against them in CARB meetings on behalf of our future. Now it's up to car drivers and consumers to push this to the next level.

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  3. Woohoo! This is GREAT news, Paul, both for you and for the EV community at large, not to mention the general public who will now have a knowledgeable EV ambassador directly helping them kick the ICE habit. Well done!

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  4. Great news Paul! Congrats!!!

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  5. Kudos to you, Paul: You're turning that oft-criticized occupation, 'salesman" into a badge of honor. When you have great products, you can help people understand and buy them. My Leaf will come in Northern California, or I'd be at your desk tomorrow. I'll send everyone I know around LA to you.

    And it was a pleasure to read Dan Neil -- the column from this masterful and funny wordsmith we've been waiting for years to see! I like that he says it's "one of the two most exciting cars I'll drive this year, with the Volt." I can't wait to own both!

    Congratulstions, again, Felix

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  6. Paul:You just added to EVAOSC's list of candidate speakers. Congratulations all around!

    /Bob

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  7. excellant! much success coming you way Paul.
    D

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  8. Hi Paul --
    Exciting to see you in the forefront of Leaf sales. Has SM Nissan decided to match some of the below MSRP deals that are being floated... in particular the -$1,000 being promoted by the folks at Fontana Nissan? Love to do business with you!
    Bob Tarlau

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  9. Have enjoyed following your blog. Now this gives us the greatest faith that Nissan does really want to see the Leaf succeed (unlike some previous EV manufacturers. cough). Go get 'em Paul!

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  10. Great to have you on board Paul. Andy Palmer - Nissan

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  11. Will this become a blogger conflict of interest if another automaker comes out with a car that is better than Nissan's?

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  12. Fantastic Paul, you've been such a support throughout the creation of the Leaf I'm excited you'll be supporting the sales. Hope to visit you soon in Santa Monica. Brenda Parkin

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  13. Congrats Paul. I'm ready to buy and you're my man. Just let me know where and when. I hope you get a decent allocation. All we need now to comlete the cycle is for Chelsea to become involved. Wouldn't it be ironic if you sell me a Leaf and Chelsea sells me a Tesla S!
    Mal

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  14. Geez, Paul! How could anyone associated with the EV movement NOT buy their Leaf from you? I mean, really!

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  15. Well done Paul, looks like a smart move for all parties concerned.

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  16. Joseph Mercado and Sara Lam.August 29, 2010 at 6:18 PM

    Paul, this is a dream come true. Congratulations, you are the best person for this job, you are extreemly knowledgable about every aspect of the electric car and you will be able to share with car buyers, all the benifits of driving a 100% electric powered automobile. You selling these electric powered cars from the sales floor of Nissan is truly a great personal achievment. Now you are at the top, between the car and the buyer, a great place to be. It's the most important connection to make. It's going to be hard work Paul, we know you can do it :-)

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  17. Congrats Paul,

    But even more impressive is what hiring you indicates about Nissan's commitement to this space....

    I cant wait to have the Leaf drink my PV juice side by side with my Tesla.

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  18. Congratulations Paul!!! Well done - thanks for being a leader in this space.

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  19. They are lucky to have you, congratulations! When I am able (already willing and ready) to purchase my leaf, it will be from you!

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  20. Couldn't be more pleased for you Paul... hope to see you next time you're up near Eugene. I'd like it if I could take you around to see the installations we're doing with the ECOtality Blink Network here in Oregon. Nice to be working together again (to some extent)...!

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  21. Paul,
    Terrific News for Santa Monica Nissan!
    Your Pal, Artie, from Closet Redneck Motors

    P.S.
    Your 76 Hemi Dodge is ready for pick-up.
    It was the fuel filter. I replaced it and you are good to go !!!!!

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  22. Paul,
    Great news for you, SoCal Leaf buyers, Nissan and a lot of happy future Leaf owners...Tedd

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  23. Exhaust Blows! Tail pipes suck! Congrats Paul. I will be fighting the fight against the Goliath of Nissan and David is our little factory in Iowa producing the EMC Electric Van, Wagon and Truck. I hope to catch the drippings from Nissan's great campaign. :)

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  24. Very cool Paul,

    Double dippin' in the "V' pool. :)

    e

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  25. To all of you who commented, thank you SO much for this vote of confidence. I'm chomping at the bit to get started. I do hope to see many of you in the coming months. I hope to get mine in December.

    To the commenter asking about my conflict of interest as a blogger if I come across another EV that's better, good question, but I believe I can be honest about any EV I drive. When I wrote about the Volt, I was pretty clear that is was a great car and will be perfect for those who need the longer distance. I'm not going to compete against other plug-in cars so much as the gas burners. If someone buys a Volt, Ford Focus or Volvo C-30 EV, good! That means one less polluter on the road. The demand for these cars is going to outstrip supply for years to come. We need all the EV manufacturers cranking up their lines as fast as they can.

    That said, my blogging might be curtailed some because, quite frankly, I'm going to one busy boy!

    :~)

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  26. Well done Paul! When I'm ready to buy, I'm coming to you. See you at SMC.

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  27. Congrats, Paul. When we find out our spot in line we will be seeing you. Also, I just read that the Volvo EV won't be coming to the US. Do you know otherwise?

    Ken

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  28. Nice job Paul, when you visited Baltimore in May you said to me that the thing we should all do is get an electric vehicle now and that way we would all contribute towards the technology and more important we would be ready when gasoline prices go through the roof. I took your advice and signed up for a leaf.

    George Lopez
    Baltimore

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  29. While congratulations Paul is certainly in order,
    In my opinion it is congratulations Nissan!

    A smart hire with an instant super credible spokesperson and salesperson for the whole range of EV's coming from Nissan.

    Best to Paul and Nissan!
    Cheers
    Peder

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  30. Good for you, Paul. It sounds like a great fit. In spite of the long line of reservations, there will be a point soon when there will be more of a ground game to sell the Leafs - when Nissan will need all the charm and conviction it can get to convince the often-skeptical car-buying public of the virtue of the Leaf. I wish you luck.

    John Corcoran
    California Law Report
    www.calawreport.com

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  31. Well said! Congratulations all around are in order.

    Michael Wolffhechel (Denmark)
    CO2 Green Drive

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  32. If I buy my car from you will I have to take it to SM for service?
    and remember I didn't ask for a commission when I gave you the New GenII (in the Box Charger);)

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  33. Rick, I asked about whether someone buying a Leaf from Santa Monica Nissan could have it serviced at another certified Leaf dealer and was told yes, but this is not confirmed yet. I'll get confirmation. Chances are it won;t be a problem.

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  34. Paul, congratulations from The Netherlands. I could not think of anyone being more able to promote the introduction of EV's. Good luck.

    Best regards,
    Peter van Deventer

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  35. I'm very happy for you, Paul. This is great news. We'll be in to check out the Leaf when you get them in! We have a deposit on one for Melody but she's not entirely sold on trading in her Versa yet. I think she just needs to drive a Leaf and it'll be a no-brainer!

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  36. Great News. Congratulations. Can you sell Leafs to out of state customers? I paid my $99, but we are several months behind the west coast in getting the Leaf.

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  37. perfect, you can outfit our school and homes with solar to recharge our EVs :) magic!

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  38. Paul - this is fantastic! Congratulations! You're definitely the perfect person for this. I especially love that you're selling the combo of products. Perfect. Nice work!

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  39. Dave, from what I understand, I'll be able to sell out of state, but there will be shipping fees. I still need to confirm that if you buy from me and we ship to you, that you'll be able to take it in to your local certified Leaf dealer for service. Not that it'll need much service, but you'll want to be covered in case something comes up.

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  40. Paul, I wish I had known you were coming to SMN before I placed my order for a Leaf with Fontana Nissan b/c I live in Santa Monica. I got a really good deal with them. I am an apt. dweller and will be looking to charge my car at public chargers--do you know if there will be compatible chargers with the Leaf up in time for December?

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  41. Mallory, please contact me at paul@pluginamerica.org.

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  42. Paul - I am SO proud of you, my friend!!!

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