Monday, December 13, 2010

Nissan Delivers, Others Queue Up

We have reached the turning point when internal combustion has met its maker, so to speak. The world's fourth largest car maker, Nissan/Renault, makes millions of gas-burners, but Saturday, they began the transition to electric in earnest. Nissan could have delivered the first LEAF to a celebrity to get maximum coverage but, to their credit, they delivered it to Olivier Chalouhi, CTO of a tech company in the Bay Area who happened to be the first person to put down a $99 deposit. I like that!

Here is North American Nissan's Chairman, Carlos Tavares giving the keys to a very happy Chaloudi.
Photos by Marc Geller

Nissan will be alone in the market only briefly, as several transport trucks left Detroit yesterday loaded with dozens of Volts headed for eager recipients waiting with cash in hand.

As reported in the Detroit Free Press, "GM said it expected a total of 160 Volts to ship this week to its initial launch markets: California, Austin, Texas, and metro New York City and Washington, D.C."

And at last month's LA Auto Show, both Honda and Toyota indicated their intent to re-enter the EV market with announcements of the electric Honda Fit and the re-introduction of Toyota's well-loved electric RAV4 this time sporting a Tesla drive train.

I've sold 54 LEAFs so far, and as word spreads through the main stream media, inquiries are flowing in from all quarters. People just now learning of the EV revolution want to get in on the action, but patience is warranted since the numbers of cars will be limited at first. I can attest to the frustration at the slow roll out of the LEAF as many of my customers are asking "when is my car coming?" All I can say is "soon".

In addition to the manufacturers named above, we'll soon see EVs from Ford, Mercedes, Volvo, Mitsubishi, Coda, Fisker, Think and of course, Tesla.

The late comers needn't worry that the Volt and LEAF will gobble all the pent up demand since the first EVs to hit the market will do nothing but generate intense interest and demand for any car with a plug.

The recent rise in gas prices serves as a reminder of what happened in 2008 when gas hit north of $4. We all know that it can - and will - happen again. Those in line now to get their EV will avoid the worst of the damage when those prices inevitably rise.

29 comments:

  1. Great stuff, Paul. I love the tone of pure joy with which you write, which is why I always look forward to reading your blog.

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  2. Exciting... Can hardly wait until we have two electric cars charging in our garage!!

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  3. Finally and thanks in no small part to PIA and your dedication!

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  4. I had the Leaf on order and decided that a range of 73 miles is ridiculous. It appears that the cost-benefit of a hybrid using Ni-Cad is much higher than the use of the all-electric Li-Ion, which is what Toyota has said all along. The all-electric Lithium due to its expense and Nissan's perfidy in insisting that the Leaf range is 100 mpg will kill the all-electric car. It is not worth trading in your ohe old Rav's getting 60-75 miles/charge.

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  5. Paul I don't agree with Anonymous' comments but I ask a similar question on speed to market and benefit. As an activist for EV's since 2006, I've been driving a Prius PHEV using the Hymotion lithium pack. I've often asked and never received a good answer on why we can't immediately mass produce vehicles similar to my Prius PHEV at much lessor cost. If lithium is at $500 a kWh, shouldn't it be pretty easy to make Prius' and every other hybrid on the market PHEV's with 6kWH lithium battery packs? This presumably would only be $3000 increase on existing vehicles and we would eliminate the whole "we need a public infrastructure yesterday" debate because PHEV's would all have the gas back up. This could make the transition to pure EV's a lot more easier I would think and would seem to be more in line with what was originally intended from the old CalCars / Plugin Partners days. I would love your input because I value your opinion. Jim Poch Plug In Carolina in Charleston, SC

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  6. And Volt deliveries too...

    http://gm-volt.com/2010/12/13/chevrolet-volt-customer-deliveries-have-begun/

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  7. Regarding the anonymous comment of 73 mile range being NG. I've driven many prototype LEAFs and 73 miles is with driving at 75 mph with the AC on full blast in 110 degree heat. The way I normally drive I can actually achieve 100 mile range. The LEAF was never intended to drive interstate but rather to be an urban commuter. If it's range fits your needs please test drive one. Odds heavily favor you falling in love with it.

    We just delivered the first car in Arizona to Amil this morning.

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  8. Paul- My wife and I are so proud of you- you are such a great man. Everything you are doing for the Electric Car movement is so meaningful and important. I can see the trasition from Gasoline Powered vehicles- to Electric Powered Vehicles and Plug in Hybrids happening quite quickly now that the majority of the public have come to realize that 90% of their driving per day is less than 60Miles total per day. The demand for electric cars is now here- and the supply will exponentially increase at a staggering rate which many will find incredible and amazing. To be aware of the Nissan Leaf and the fact that this Electric Vehicle is available now- is truly a dream come true. Thank you Paul Scott- Keep up the great work my friend. You are a great man making great leaps by taking a futuristic yet very old technology- and helping educate the public and integrate that technology into a desperate civilization of gasoline consumers which demand their vehicles be plugged into a very clean techology- ie The Electricity Powered Car/truck/crossover :)

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  9. Anonymous #1, your concern over the EPA designation of 73 mile range is misplaced. As Barry said, you'd have to drive extremely hard with the AC on to only get that much range, and even then I suspect you'd get at least 80 miles. Nick Chambers drove one in TN over hilly terrain with the AC on in eco mode and after 116 miles, he still showed 4 miles remaining. I just drove 35 miles tonight and the gauge shows 75 miles remaining.

    As for Jim Poch of Plug In Carolina, there isn't any reason why Toyota or Ford could make thousands of plug-in hybrids as you suggest, it's a great idea and from what I hear, Toyota is definitely on track to do just that. I think they are late to the game because they wanted to milk the profit from the regular Prius for as long as possible. This is why they bad-mouthed plug-ins all the way up to a few months ago when they announced their plug-in program. They wanted to depress the market for anything that competed with their Prius. PHEVs are a great idea and we need lots more of them.

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  10. Yes, Leaf now becomes one proud factor for Nissan as it got the European car of the year award recently.
    This Electric Vehicle is my favorite one.
    Thank you so much for your Nissan description.

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  11. There are a few things to remember in this war-of-the-car-companies.

    PHEVs do not have zero emissions. Most pure EVs have limited range.

    Th Volt happens to be the only car that has the best of both worlds. In its electric range, it does not use any gas and does not emit any exhaust at all. When that range runs out, the generator runs the electrics for about 400 miles, with a fill-up extending that indefinitely.

    I will admit I am prejudiced, and work for the plant making the Volt (and I appreciate Staten Island Nissan not posting anonymously), but it seems people do not understand the difference between only electric, always gas with electric boost (hybrid), and the way the Volt works. I don't expect everyone to run and follow my advice, but you are all very savvy and smart or you wouldn't be reading this. Don't fall for the PR of the 'wars', research your facts, please, please, please. Nissan having a press conference handing one guy keys is nice, GM shipped 45 cars Monday without a press conference. They all want your business, so just make sure you get what is right for you. (Of course I think that would be the Volt, but my opinion is irrelevant.)

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  12. First, the set of anti-EV comments by one anonymous commenter are evidence of what EV advocates have had to combat for a long time -- and still have to combat -- in order to get the truth out about EVs: They'll work for tens of millions of Americans, if not hundreds of millions, but not for everyone.

    Second, once more people have EVs and PHEVs, the naysayers will pipe down -- because hundreds of thousands, than millions will prove that EVs and PHEVs work, by driving them every day for millions of miles.

    Third, @Jeff: Seems like you might be concerned about LEAF/Volt competition. Personally, I think as the EV movement grows, more and more current two-car households will have the same goal as we do: One pure EV, plus one PHEV with the aim of making 90% (or more) of our two-car household miles pure electric miles. And, by the way, we'll be powering both of our plug-ins with clean, local, renewable, and affordable home-generated solar electricity :-)
    --Christof Demont-Heinrich
    Editor & Founder, SolarChargedDriving.Com

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  13. Thanks for this great story, but it's Chalouhi with an "h".

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  14. This is an exciting time for personal transportation.

    Paul, you said "I've sold 54 LEAFs so far". How are you selling LEAFs today? I thought they were not taking any new orders until sometime in Q1 '11.

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  15. Patrick, I'm now up to 63 LEAFs sold! We're taking orders for the cars, but delivery is going to be spread out over the coming year. These are the people who put their $99 deposit down back in April. Nissan will open the deposits back up early next year. I'd recommend you make sure Nissan has your email so they can let you know when it happens.

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  16. Thanks Paul. I have ordered my LEAF and I have been told I will get it in "4 to 7 months" I am very excited to have a modern EV. I would have ordered it from you if I were in your area. My 13 year old NiMH batteries in my Chevy S10EV are getting too old to use for anything other than short trips, but they have had a good life and earned retirement.

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