2/16/2010 5:09 PM
Toyota’s timing of the Prius recall is impeccable for others in the alternative vehicle segment, particularly Nissan, which is building PR momentum for the Leaf. Some interesting developments recently occurred. The three-month Leaf Zero-Emission tour – 63 stops in 24 cities - came to a close last week in New York City and paved the way for the start of the actual sale process. Nissan announced that it will begin taking reservations for the Leaf in April. Unlike some of the other more upscale electric vehicle makers (Fisker, Commuter Cars etc.) Nissan is requiring a $100 deposit that is fully refundable. Interestingly, the final pricing will not be announced until after the reservation process has already begun. It has finally been clarified, however, that the price of the vehicle will include the battery pack – rather than consumers having to purchase or lease them separately as the original plan had been. Actual rollout of the vehicle will begin in selected cities in December 2010. A complete national rollout will take place in 2012.
Another important development for Nissan was the announcement by Hertz that it would begin offering Leaf models (do we call them Leaves?) at some of its rental agencies in the U.S. and Europe starting next year. It is expected that the vehicles will be equipped with fast-charging equipment so that Hertz can ensure optimal availability. Perhaps this will expose more consumers to electric vehicles sooner and help build a loyal following?
The momentum for Leaf is certainly building. If the pricing is right, the Leaf could make things difficult for other companies introducing new EVs – including the Volt. It will be interesting to watch this play out in the market.
to "The Leaf Inches Closer to Reality"