So, I've been blogging about the future of transportation for almost four years now, and early on I went to a Nissan event where they were talking about their EV strategy down in San Francisco. At the time, its plans were so new that it had only just announced partnerships with Oregon, Tennessee and Sonoma County to bring EVs and infrastructure to North America. Looking back, that all seems so small compared to the hundreds of global partnerships Renault-Nissan has gathered at this point.
Anyway, I came away from that early event and immediately felt that Nissan fully understood what all it was going to take to dominate the EV market. I even wrote a post: "Nissan Stealthily on Track for Electric Car World Domination". It was clear, even back then, that the company was in it to win. And now, two and a half years later, Nissan and its sister company, Renault, have plunked just about $4 billion dollars into their EV plans — more than any other manufacturer, I believe — in a bid to be the no-holds-barred absolute leader in the world of plug-ins.
As a result, many people now regard the Nissan LEAF as the most important car to hit the market since cars were invented. There is so much riding on it — so much caught up in its success — that when it finally gets into consumer hands at the end of this year, you can bet it will be evaluated ad nauseum. Which is why, when I was approached by Nissan and asked if I wanted to come to Japan and be one of the first five non-Nissan employees in the world to drive a pre-production LEAF on Nissan's test track in Yokohama, I was honored to accept.
Along with a few industry analysts and EV advocates, I'll be the only writer/blogger on hand at the event. It is truly a humbling thing. For my readers and audience, I see it as a duty to make sure that I get as much information as possible and disseminate it as widely as possible.
I'll be in Japan all next week and, along with the LEAF test drive I'll have a chance to chat over lunch with Nissan's CEO, talk with Nissan designers about the future of Nissan EV designs, and I'll be getting a tour of Nissan's historical vehicle archive museum. You can bet I'll also try to eat my weight in Sushi... I honestly can't get enough of the stuff.
So, check back here next week for exclusive pics, video and lots of coverage of this important event. You won't want to miss it. I'll also be covering the event for Gas 2.0, and I promise, I'll try not to let the jet lag show.
If you have any issues you want me to ask about or anything you want me to look for during my test drive, please let me know in the comments. I can't guarantee I'll be able to get answers, but I can sure try.