Nissan: “We Were Arrogant” about Electric Car Market

By · December 17, 2012

Nissan LEAF

Nissan LEAF battery production.

Nissan is reassessing its electric car program after failing to achieve its sales targets for 2012. For most of this year, Nissan executives refused to admit that it would not double last year’s sales—even when the sales pace indicated fewer (rather than more) sales than in 2011. Automotive News today is quoting Al Castignetti, Nissan vice president for sales: "We were a little bit arrogant as a manufacturer when we went to the 50-state rollout." Castignetti spoke with Automotive News in late November. "We had assumed that there were people just waiting for the vehicle who would raise their hand and say, 'Give me a LEAF, give me a LEAF, give me a LEAF.'"

In November, Carlos Ghosn, Nissan’s chief executive, also admitted for the first time that sales were falling short of expectations. In an abrupt shift, instead of exhibiting his usual exuberance for electric cars, Ghosn said, “We're becoming more competitive with the LEAF and putting our act together.”

In another telling although tacit indication of the company’s need to shift strategy, Nissan executives last week in Japan said the company would introduce 15 new hybrid models by 2017. For the most part, until now, the “H” word (or anything related to gas-electric hybrids) has only been a footnote in Nissan’s green car strategy.

At a May 2010 press conference that took place at the groundbreaking ceremony for Nissan’s EV battery plant, Ghosn ceded hybrid leadership to Toyota, and said Nissan-Renault would stake its reputation on pure battery electric vehicles.

Still Aiming High for EVs

Toshiyuki Shiga, the company's chief operating officer, spoke about Nissan’s hybrid goals at a briefing at the company's Yokohama headquarters. He also said Nissan wants to sell as many as 1.5 million electric vehicles worldwide with its partner Renault by the end of 2016. Nissan has sold nearly 50,000 LEAFs worldwide since its introduction two years ago.

LEAF ticker

The running ticker on Nissan's site shows that LEAF drivers have now covered in excess of 113 million miles.

The company's job now is to assess its missteps, and evaluate how to regain momentum with electric cars. "We didn't prepare our dealers properly,” said Castignetti. "We've pulled back a little bit and are telling our dealers, 'You don't market this car traditionally. You don't put it in the newspaper. You need to go and find the electric car buyer in your market.'"

Nissan is also expected to enhance the features of the 2013 LEAF, while lowering its price. Regular production of the 2013 is expected to begin in Smyrna, Tenn. in January. The plant is capable of producing 150,000 LEAFs annually, about 15 times the volume of its current EV sales in the United States.

Comments

· · 1 year ago

A friend of mine recently leased a Leaf. He shopped around a lot before he signed a lease. He went to a Nissan dealer near his place of work and asked if he could plug in. They said yes, at first. When he returned to unplug his Leaf he was met by the salesman who he had dealt with previously but he eventually leased from a different dealer. The salesman was angry, cussed him out and told him he was not welcome to charge his leaf there. He called a Nissan representative who told him that dealers are independent entities and there's nothing Nissan could do about it. He's not pleased with Nissan.

The name of the dealership is Suntrup Nissan of South County (in St. Louis, Missouri) I'm naming names because I also had a bad experience with a salesman at Suntrup Ford Westport (also in St. Louis) I've heard stories of other people getting shafted by Suntrup. If you live in St. Louis avoid Suntrup dealers like the plague.

· SteveCh (not verified) · 1 year ago

When the Leaf came out I was very interested but now I would not waste my money on one. People are having problems with batteries losing capacity after only a year of driving and Nissan is acting like it's their fault for buying the car. The range on this vehicle SUCKS. I live in St. Louis also and doubt I could even go across town in this car and get home. I want to be able to run heat and/or defroster when needed. I am not driving in a car with fogged up windows. I no longer view the Leaf as a car. I see it as a glorified golf cart with very limited uses. Sorry Nissan. You've convinced me you do not have what it takes to engineer and electric vehicle. I'll wait until Toyota is done developing on theirs.

· · 1 year ago

Yeah, this confirms what I've been saying all along that Nissan is not handling this right, and their dealers need to be better educated on how to deal with potential customers.

1). That VP Palmer basically lieing through his teeth has not boosted customer morale when asking about (to them) very big problems. They should have been honest about battery problems in hot locales, not that they're going to readjust the dashboard gauge to read 100% all the time, or some other nonsensical thing.

2). Then, knock engineering down 'one peg'; that is, quit criticizing the volt battery as being 'old-fashioned' as some of their engineers have done, (The Volt may have an old-fashioned battery, but it has the very big advantage of WORKING), and start them on coming out ASAP with a more reliable, and BIGGER battery, one that works in both hot and cold locales. Since they are now making more and more of their own battery, charge (no pun intended) this newly humbled team with achieving the above objective with Tesla - like $$$/kwh ratings.

3). Appologize to current Leaf owners who have been very apprehensive about seeing their batteries deteriorate prematurely, and do anything possible for these people who gambled on an uncertain car and lost. Make it up to them by extending their warranties or changing out the deteriorated battery as often as necessary, and don't worry too much about the unprofitability of these customers.. Take the money out of Palmer's foregone Bonus.

· paul (not verified) · 1 year ago

I put a deposit on a leaf when they were first announced, but at that time they were advertising 100mile range for 32k. Then they increased the price by 3k and the EPA rated the vehicle at 73 miles of actual range. When the car was made available in my area the dealer wanted to sell the car for msrp plus extra for the charger installation.

I am still interested in a leaf and looking forward to seeing the specs and pricing on the 2013 model. Nissan needs to do a better jobs of marketing the vehicle and selling it at an affordable price.

· Warren (not verified) · 1 year ago

Honda sold the amazing first generation Insight for six years. Total global sales for the first generation Insight were 17,020 units. Honda had originally planned to sell 6,500 Insights each year of production.

It appears the Leaf will not be as collectible as the Insight. Ironically, I think that if Nissan had put the Leaf drivetrain in something like the Insight, they would have had their 100 mile range, and sold a heck of a lot more. Nothing could have stopped me from getting one!

· · 1 year ago

My 3 weeks in a borrowed Leaf were marvelous. The 73 EPA mile range easily met my particular requirements for - if I were to own one of these - something that would end up being the 2nd car in 2 car family (we have a van for the long distance and/or bulky cargo hauling.) It was sure-footed to drive, felt safe (the documented crash tests confirm this) and had more than enough luxury gadgets to keep me happy . . . including a fabulous cabin air conditioner (very important here in hot Arizona.)

The one thing I didn't like? The smallish rear hatch and somewhat awkwardly-shaped cargo area. It would be nice to see a redesign of this part of the car.

There is always going to be someone who would like more range. Somehow, this car ended up being purchased or rented by people who absolutely/positively needed to travel no less than 74 miles on a single charge (granted, the initially-announced 100 mile range is a legitimate sore point for those who already had their money down before more realistic range estimations were known) But if it was announced tomorrow that the EPA estimates for the 2013 model was 148 miles per charge, we would be hearing from the "Nope, I need 149 miles" folks the day after. :-)

One thing that is typically invisible to owners/renters and of major concern, though, is the air cooled battery. It made more news than any other Leaf item this past year, largely because of heat-related depletion issues. The Hitachi cells in the upcoming 2013 are supposed to be more durable and might be less expensive to produce, bringing the overall cost of the car down. But I'm wondering if all current generation lithium EV batteries shouldn't all feature a liquid thermal management system. All the new price-competitive EVs (Smart ED, Spark EV, ect.) are going to have liquid cooling on the pack. If not just for better operation at temperature extremes, but greater range, as these packs - in theory, at least - will allow multiple so-called Level 3 charges per day (Nissan recommends only one such charge daily, unless the driver want to risk pack damage.) The handwriting is on the wall for Nissan to offer a liquid cooler/heated pack as well.

· Paul Scott (not verified) · 1 year ago

I'm sorry some people have had problems with range, but in reality, most of that is due to inefficient driving techniques. I've driven over 22,000 miles in a LEAF and have averaged over 100 miles per charge the whole time. I don't waste energy, however, and understand that "normal" driving techniques are inherently inefficient and that most people, the vast majority actually, drive in this manner.

The car is capable of 100+ miles per charge, but you do have to drive carefully to get that.

The heat issues are real, and I hope Nissan will make those owners whole on their battery warrantee. I understand Nissan has agreed to buy some cars back and replace batteries on others. This problem is affecting less than 1% of the LEAFs in the U.S., so while real, it's truly a problem for those in extremely hot climates.

Disclosure: I sell the LEAF for a Nissan dealer in Los Angeles.

· EV Enthusiast (not verified) · 1 year ago

Many times, this will happen to you when you go to the dealerships: You walk up to a Leaf, and when approached by a salesperson, they say "Wouldn't you be more interested in one of these models instead, pointing to some other Nissan lineup on the lot.

Plus the loss in battery capacity in the news, has pretty much shot Nissan in the foot when it comes to a newbie wanting to drive electric. It's not only an Arizona event, it's happening in Texas and elsewhere.

Then of course there's the cost. Seems like every manufacturer decided to price it to be just higher than a comparable small car, only after the federal rebate. They need to price it so when the rebate is applied, the cost is less than that ICE version. Then they will sell electric cars in larger numbers.

· Sunpowered (not verified) · 1 year ago

Most if not all charging stations are paid for by government grants and part of that agreement is that they must be accessable. I'd find out if the dealership took part in that grant then notify the DOE and report it. They would lose their charger and good luck selling any more Leaf from that location.

Tesla is the only one who understands the range issue and built them to fit the drivers needs.

· Bruce (not verified) · 1 year ago

I've had a Leaf for 12 months and driven 23,482 trouble free kms. The car has exceeded my expectations in every way. I have also read quite a few negative comments about the Leaf. Any car is the result of engineering compromises.

It appears, to me, that the majority of owners equate the Leaf's performance with that of mainstream ICE vehicles which is unfortunate. Also, some owners have a pet peeve about pressing the Accept or Decline in the nav panel. (if you have a cel phone or any RFID-enabled card then it's a moot point to complain about the remote chance that someone is able to narrow your location down to a few hundred meters) How else can the manufacturer compile data and make improvements? They can't be expected to phone everybody...or read emails from 46 thousand owners (and growing) can they?

To me, this car is revolutionary and so what if it has a few drawbacks? As long as the manufacturer makes adequate compensation where applicable but more importantly, uses those experiences to improve its' product (the 2013 Leaf is proof of this) then maybe people should just take a deep breath and relax.
It's a learning curve for both parties.

But do nothing, and we'll drive around in circles until the oil is gone and more coastal areas are flooded. And at that point, no one will WANT a deep breath.

As far as the heat related battery problems...the car was more than 10 years in the making. It won't take that long to solve that issue. If Nissan hadn't made the Leaf, do you think for one minute that someone else would try mass producing an EV? It's taken more than a hundred years for the ICE car to get to where it is. Nissan's only had 1/10 of that time. A little patience never killed anyone, unlike dirty, polluted air.

· · 1 year ago

@Paul Scott

Some of us live in places where it gets cold in the winter unlike Los Angeles. There are a lot of EV enthusiasts who are willing to drive around in cold cars to extend the range and I applaud them but the average driver is not willing to make that sacrifice.

· tableround (not verified) · 1 year ago

Biggest problem is dealersnetwork, or lack of. Still no Leafs in Michigan... Not that it matters. Priced a Leaf with a KY dealer and could only getone for $480/month, or$310 with $4000 down. CRAZY!!! I leased our Volt for 3 years for $268/month with nothing down. Problem is the car is overpriced!

· · 1 year ago

I was willing to drive a car in freezing weather and subject my family with young kids to the cold but it is just not possible. The windows keep fogging up and you have to run the air conditioning to be able to see the road. Opening the windows does not seem to help.

· · 1 year ago

What everyone is saying here is that if you live in cold climates its not the time to buy a Leaf. Or very hot climates.

Every one else says the car is beyond their expectations. Bully for them.

· Objective (not verified) · 1 year ago

I told you so.

· Paul Scott (not verified) · 1 year ago

@Tableround - I'm leasing the LEAF for $260/month all in here in LA. $2,500 down payment is refunded by CA about a month after getting the car.

@dutchinchicago - The 2012 LEAF has very good heated seats (front and rear) and a heated steering wheel. In cold climes, that won't be enough by itself, but if really helps. You can also pre-heat the car while it's still plugged in at home so that it's toasty warm before you leave for work. That way, you're using grid power to warm your car and your battery starts off full.

· · 1 year ago

Nissan was bullish and that is fine with me. They had more faith in the buying public being better educated than they actually turned out to be. These judgements happen in business every day. Some people don't want change. Some people don't want new cars. Some people don't want hippies taking over the planet and others still would rather just sit around making excuses for why the car doesn't work for them. We took the chance and haven't had any regrets in the year or two that we have had them. I hope that the day I buy an ICE or hybrid car is forever past. Electric cars are simply THAT good.

· Teustace (not verified) · 1 year ago

I have owned a Leaf fot almost a year.
I am very happy with distance and performance. I do need more charging stations.

· · 1 year ago

I think that Nissan needs to take a serious whack at the aerodynamic drag of the Leaf -- if they can lower it from a Cd of 0.29 down to about what the Model S is (0.24) then the range would easily top 100 miles and probably over 110 miles much of the time. If they could get it down to about to what the EV1 was (Cd of 0.20), then the range of the Leaf could be 130-150+ miles.

They would also do well to provide free-wheel coasting when you lift your right foot and driving in Eco mode; and put all the regenerative braking on the *brake* pedal.

They need to look to eliminate as much waste as possible: we need direct-heating electric defrosters (like Ford and others had decades ago, using a very thin layer of gold on the glass - like a couple of molecules thin) and a variable electric heat-pump for A/C, electric vests for heat (like those used by motorcyclists, but with less power because you're inside a car), thermal insulation in the chassis, very low rolling resistance wheels, better passive air flow through the passenger compartment.

The Leaf is rated at 340Wh/mile, but can be driven at ~200-250Wh/mile even in it's current form. If it could be improved enough to get the consumption down to 150-170Wh/mile, then the range would be as high as 150 miles.

Neil

· · 1 year ago

@NeilBlanchard

You can't much improve the cd of a compact car without affecting it's utility.

· Cord (not verified) · 1 year ago

@ Paul Scott -
Paul, I would like to know how you are driving, because when I am driving carefully to conserve the battery life, I can not get over 65 miles on a full charge. and that generally is not a problem for me since a round trip from home to work and back is less than 20 miles (live in Pasadena area and commute to Downtown). To say that you are averaging 100+ miles per charge is extremely hard to believe.

Note that the car is perfect for me since it's used primarily for my commute and I get a free charge at work, so it pays off for me.

· Kent Taylor (not verified) · 1 year ago

I own a Think EV and drive it about 1,500 miles a month. It has 19,600 miles on it and has maintained it's battery life well. We purchased it used for $10,000.00 and it's been great. It's had a couple of trim issues and a charging station issue and Tom Wood of Indianapolis has been excellent as well as Think covering the issues under warranty. Think also replaced the heater with a ceramic one for free at their call. I have no complaints using an EV for all my local commuting. Indy and its surrounding areas does have a charging infrastructure that has helped a bit. I drive mine 60 miles round trip daily with heat and have had no issues this winter. Get the price down on EV's and they'll sell. The gas car sets most of the time.

· · 1 year ago

@Cord (not verified) "when I am driving carefully to conserve the battery life, I can not get over 65 miles on a full charge"

Couple of questions
- How are you figuring out your range ?
- What is your drive like (highway speed, heater usage) ?

In general we figure out the range by looking at the m/kWh figure and multiplying that by 21. I only get less than 65 miles (or 3 m/kWh) when I use heater in winter and drive fast on freeways. My lifetime average comes around 90 miles of range.

· Terry (not verified) · 1 year ago

I have driven my Leaf since May 2012.
I absolutely LOVE it!
The single biggest problem with the Leaf is not the car but the dealerships who do not want to sell it. 'Cause there's no maintenance! And Nissan, betting the farm on it, then didn't market it properly!
They have created, therefore, the biggest secret yet ... test drive one and you too will see how hip and fun, practical they are!
Its range is fine for me. I drive 70 miles (usually less) a day.
No battery problems ... if you are one of the few in Arizona I feel for you, but here in the midwest, no worries!

· Modern Marvel Fan (not verified) · 1 year ago

"however, and understand that "normal" driving techniques are inherently inefficient and that most people, the vast majority actually, drive in this manner."

That is the problem. Sorry to point that to you. You want "majority" consumers to buy it, then you got to make it so that "majority" can do what they want and still get the ranges they want.

To this date, I have NEVER seen a Leaf driven faster than 60mph here in Northern California. Now, with winter here, the Leaf are even slower on the hwy. Why? They are trying to conserve energy by going slower. Also, just about every Leaf owners I saw had thick coats on to conserve heat.

That is NOT okay for most people. Cars are there to serve the demand of people, NOT the other way around. (at least NOT when you are NOT price competitive).

· · 1 year ago

@Cord,
Paul Scott drives 50 mph between Santa Monica and Downtown LA every day. There is essentially zero elevation gain and the Leaf is optimized for driving at around 50 mph. The cool summer and mild winter temperatures means he never needs A/C, heat, or defroster.
You, on the other hand live between 850 and 1,200 feet elevation (depending on where in Pasadena you live) while Downtown LA is at about 200 ft elevation. This means you have to climb between 650 and 1000 feet. This takes a huge toll on your range, partly because of basic physics, partly because the Leaf was poorly designed for hill climbing. If you drive faster than 50 mph or use Heat, A/C, or defroster, that, too will cause a big hit to your range.
Paul is also embellishing a bit since he probably rarely actually drives 100 miles. He drives about 20 - 40 miles and adds that to the guess-o-meter's range at the end of the day to get ~100 miles.
If, however, you were to only charge at work and drive home, very smoothly, keeping your speed at 50 mph, then not charge at home, I'd suspect you, too would see the guess-o-meter + your distance driven should be over 100 miles. Don't do it the other direction, charging at home since the guess-o-meter will predict that you'll continue to climb that steep hill and predict your range accordingly.
Try it some day if you have nothing better to do.
You'll find that there are many things that have a big affect your driving range, both positively and negatively.

· · 1 year ago

ex-EV1 driver: "...the Leaf was poorly designed for hill climbing"

How do you arrive at this conclusion? The Leaf has its shortcomings, but as a mountain resident, I've never considered "poor hill climbing" to be one of them. I've never owned a different EV, however.

· · 1 year ago

Compact cars can be lower drag than larger cars because they can have smaller frontal areas. Coefficient of drag is largely a function of overall shape. The Edison2 Very Light Car has a Cd of 0.164 - it seats four. The AeroCivic has an estimated Cd of 0.17. I'm hoping my CarBEN EV5 prototype has a Cd of less than 0.15. It is about 14 feet long and should be able to seat five people.

The EV1 had a Cd of 0.20 and the rumor was that GM had a 4 seat version nearly ready to go. Aerodynamic drag is the most important factor to getting longer range out of every kWh. The second most important factor is the heating and cooling of the people in the car.

We need to have the engineers and designers work as hard as possible on this. An elegant über-efficient design will lower the cost of driving any car, and electric cars already are the most efficient because of their drivetrains - and they have the most need to extend the range of the batteries that we have today.

Nissan needs to improve the Leaf - primarily the overall efficiency, and also the aesthetics. Good aerodynamics also look good, and if it can have better range, and the sleeker aerodynamics are part of that, then they will sell many more.

Neil

· · 1 year ago

@abasile,
It has plenty of power to climb hills so you feel fine, however, the efficiency is very poor. An EV that is good at hill climbing won't see much difference in climbing a hill vs driving the same range on the flat at the same speed (ie the air drag is the same). I've seen this with the EV1, Tesla, and Leaf. I've driven all 3 over the same 60 mile mountain path and the EV1 and Tesla at speeds between 35 and 45 mph. The Leaf is nearly empty while the EV1 and Tesla both had about the same 60 miles of range/SoC depletion as they would have over 60 miles of slow flat driving.
I also drive over several mountain passes daily and find a huge range hit with the Leaf that I didn't find with the EV1 or Tesla Roadster.
It isn't scientific but its my impression.

· Chris A. (not verified) · 1 year ago

As a fellow Leaf owner (located in Portland, Oregon) I've driven just over 35,000 miles. It's my daily driver with a round-trip commute of about 60-65 miles.

According to the Leaf, my average speed during my commute is about 35 MPH (yep, traffic is a b----).

If I don't use the heater, I can get 95-100 miles on a single charge without too much trouble. Here in the winter, I can get about 80-85 miles on a single charge. Haven't noticed any battery degradation at all.

Sure, the Leaf technically would work for the majority of the population, but until we can get soccer moms out of their SUVs that drive about 20 miles a day, EVs will continue to have a tough time.

· · 1 year ago

Sunpowered (not verified): The charging stations at Nissan dealers were not funded by federal dollars. There was a tax credit for part of the cost in 2009-2011, but that was available for any charging station, including home charging stations, no public access requirement.

· Cord (not verified) · 1 year ago

@ex-EV1 driver,
Thanks for the explanations. When I head home on the weekends, I hit the trip odometer and try and do most of what you said (freeway driving poses a problem of 50mph, generally going between 55 and 60 up the 110). and have never gotten over 65 miles on the charge.
This begs the question, given how much freeway driving many Americans do, why is the opptimal driving speed at 50 and not 60? why does Tesla and the EV1 handling climbing elevation better and Nissan didn't take that into account. Is this part of their arrogance, that there would be a flow of people to the car just because it was ev? Let's not offer leather seats, for people with kids, etc., etc. I love my Leaf, but there are some things that I don't like about it and I could list of lot of those.

· Ken Carrasco (not verified) · 1 year ago

I have a Leaf in rural Washington state with over 16,000 miles and really enjoy driving it - I also have a Dodge full-size diesel 4x4 pickup for big or long hauls. Like the comment above, there are things I don't like (notably the heater/defroster). In part because of the rolling hills I get 65 miles plus a reserve per charge, even when in the low 30's like now, which is acceptable for most trips.

I bought it knowing it was Version 1.0 and that big improvements would follow, making mine obsolete. I'm fine with that given the advantages and knowing I am doing something for our country. And it is so CHEAP to operate! Albeit our electricity in the Northwest is relatively inexpensive, but I can do 4 or 5 stop-start errands in town in 65+ miles and recharge with $1.70 of electricity. Same trip - I've done it - takes 4-1/2 gallons of diesel in the truck.

The biggest obstacles: 1) EV's have become politicized, and I am ashamed of too many of my fellow Americans who jump at the chance to diminish something so potentially good for the national economy and even personal finances, and they actually have no knowledge beyond the AM radio (esp. the efficiency of a motor versus the horribly inefficient ICE); 2) car dealership sales forces inherently don't like "greenie"-types (although my local dealership's mechanic is great!) and are short-term profit-thinkers while corporate are long-term strategists; and 3) corporate Nissan needs to unlearn public relations when it comes to their Leaf owners.

· · 1 year ago

@Cord,
Nissan probably didn't design the Leaf for hill climbing because it was targeted at residents where their engineers and managers live - on Japan's heavily populated Kanto Plain. It, like most plains, is very flat, with a fairly temperate climate, certainly never hot but it does get somewhat cool.
I don't blame Nissan for any intended harm, I only accuse them of being stupid. Nissan has always had other cars to copy and they just plain don't know how to take a lead. I have no sympathy for them, however, since they basically just copied American car technology and took jobs from the Americans who took the risks and bore the expense of the innovation.

· Modern Marvel Fan (not verified) · 1 year ago

My biggest complain with Leaf is actually its regen braking. Why do you have to be in "Eco" mode to get max regen? It should be seperate from "mode". I like to drive it in "sports" mode and still get the max "regen"...

· Paul Scott (not verified) · 1 year ago

@Cord, I drive about 12 miles on the 10 freeway from Santa Monica to downtown LA. There is a moderate hill coming out of Santa Monica, but it's basically flat. When traffic allows, I set the cruise control for 57 mph. When traffic is heavy, I maintain plenty of room behind the next car and coast when he brakes. Most days, I never touch my brakes for the whole trip to and from work on the freeway.

My 2011 LEAF (traded for a 2012 at 19K miles) either got better efficiency, or the computer is reading it differently, but I managed to maintain 5.5-5.7 miles/kWh on the display. With the 2012, I'm averaging 5.2-5.3. Wish I knew why.

Hypermiling is the way to go if you want to maximize range. As others have noted, hills take more energy, but anyone who has ridden a bicycle knows that.

My advice for hypermilers is to allow enough time to get where you are going so you don't feel the need to speed, ignore the person behind you as he will not buy your energy, and try to drive without using your brakes. This last bit does not mean to drive dangerously, it means you just don't put yourself in the position of needing to use your brakes. I see people accelerating right up to the next car and then braking hard. That's just stupid driving.

· 2 Leaf Family (not verified) · 1 year ago

Bravo to Nissan for making a car that is practical and accessible for the mass market. The Leaf has real style (unlike the Coda), is affordable (unlike the Tesla), and has room for 5 (unlike the EV1).

Bought my first Leaf in June 2011. That car has 13,500 miles. I have not been able to match the mileage feats of Paul Scott, but have a personal best of an 85 mile round trip between West LA and Westminster in Orange County. I have only had a couple of instances where the car's range proved insufficient to my needs.

Bought my 2nd Leaf about 2 weeks ago for my wife. We used to argue about who got to drive the Leaf. Now, we each have our own. We both love driving the car and really enjoy knowing that we are helping the environment and our economy by getting us off fossil fuel.

A longer battery that charges faster is a goal that Nissan needs to strive for. There needs to be a battery technology equivalent to Moore's Law of microprocessors...

Also, the charging infrastructure needs to change. The goal should be more Level 3 chargers in parking lots and at dealerships. Level 3 is the key.

· · 1 year ago

@2 Leaf Family,
There needs to be a battery technology equivalent to Moore's Law of microprocessors...
This is like wishing there were flying carpets. Good to wish but we're in the real universe.
Actually, there is an improvement curve for batteries but it is no where near as smooth and steep as Moore's Law. Over about the past 30 years, batteries have 'improved' about 10% per year. It hasn't been smooth since a lot of it was sudden jumps when revolutionary new chemistry was discovered. These were Pb-A to NiCd to NiMH to Li-ion. There has been slower improvement as these various technologies have been optimized. I'm suspecting we're in a slow improvement period now, maybe 3 - 5 %.
The 10% improvement is a mix of energy density, cycle life, and cost.
This is still good though and a good market for EVs will enable the necessary investment for it to continue.

· Missy Knight (not verified) · 1 year ago

Good afternoon,
I wanted to take a moment to respond to the comments of smithjim1961. On behalf of Suntrup Nissan I would like to apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced. Customer service is our top priority and we take all comments very seriously. I have brought this blog, and your comments to the attention of the owner, Craig Suntrup, who would like to speak with you directly. Please contact him at 314-892-8200 at your earliest convenience. We appreciate your feedback and look forward to speaking with you soon.
Sincerely,
Missy Knight
mknight@suntrup.com

· · 1 year ago

I have owned my LEAF for a 18 months. We liked it so much, we leased one for my girlfriend. Now we have two. They fit our lifestyle perfectly, as we live in temperate urban San Diego and we both work from home. I use my LEAF to go surfing around the local area, while she goes to the gym, yoga and shopping. We share a 110 volt standard plug in our garage, trading off use of the garage for charging. There must be millions of progressive, environmentally conscious citizens living in urban areas that have lifestyles like ours and are a perfect fit to be LEAF owners. One of the main obstacles to this seems to be access to electricity in apartment garages.

I just tire of hearing from people living in rural areas with frosty climates with a dozen kids and a hundred mile daily commute on these forums bashing on the LEAF...who cannot afford a LEAF, but can somehow afford a gigantic SUV and $100 gas station fill ups. Thanks to your behavior and lifestyle choices, the climate will be warming up soon enough...

· · 1 year ago

I don't mean to sound unkind, but enough LEAF bashing already. Cheap, subsidized gasoline is a tough teat from which to be weaned. But you must grow up sometime.

Furthermore, the recent installation of Level 3 Quick Chargers in San Juan Capistrano and Santa Ysabel make longer-range trips to the North and East easier from San Diego. Our yearly out of state trip to Arizona can easily be arranged by using a rental car, but this year we are borrowing a friend's Chevy Volt. We have also REALLY enjoyed some trips on Amtrak to Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.

Finally, I will reiterate that the LEAF is the best car either of us have owned. For those of us who value smooth, silent, affordable, reliable transportation as part of a solution to our country's most pressing problems - air pollution and achieving energy independence - I highly recommend the LEAF.

· · 1 year ago

@ex-EV1 driver "An EV that is good at hill climbing won't see much difference in climbing a hill vs driving the same range on the flat at the same speed (ie the air drag is the same)."

That is patently wrong. You have to spend more energy to go up against gravity.

You can see the diff between Roadster and Leaf that Tom has on his website, BTW.

· · 1 year ago

@EVNow,
"You have to spend more energy to go up against gravity."
That is what is patently wrong. Go back and review your high school physics. You don't spend any energy going "up against gravity. You simply convert it (in the case of a Battery EV) from chemical energy to gravitational potential energy. Thus, a lossless EV would recuperate all of the energy required to climb on the descent.
Of course, there are losses in the real universe so you'll never recuperate 100% of the climbing energy. Since the power required to climb is more than level ground, there will be more electrical losses (proportional to R X I^2 where R is the electrical resistance, and I is proportional to the current required to produce the torque in the electric motor). If, however, the R is reduced (requiring thicker and more wiring), then this loss will be less.
What "Tom" website are you referring to? I'd love to find good data.

· · 1 year ago

The problem with the leaf is the same as for all other electric cars, they either need a battery that is large enough like in the 85 KWh Tesla model S, or you need to have a backup generator that will save you from getting stranded when you go over the distance that is allowed by your battery. The problem up to know is that has been translated into a battle between a plug-in hybrid like a Volt and a Leaf while in fact it should be a battle between a Leaf with a micro on board generator and a standard leaf. A micro generator of 15 KW is more than enough to keep you driving at a decent speed when you need to go further. You don’t need all the double wheel connections, the clutch and the huge 2 liter engine you find in a Volt. A small 600 cc wankel like in the Audi-E-Tron will do the job very well. Unfortunately there has never been an electric car with a micro range extender on the market up to now when you exclude the unaffordable luxury cars like the Fisker Karma. We are really in uncharted water when it comes to market response to an EV with a micro range extender because it has never been proposed on the market. Make a Leaf or a Coda with that option and you will see a drastic change in the numbers.

· · 1 year ago

What Nissan needs to do is have all dealers install fast (30 -minute) chargers that, at a minimum, should be free to all LEAF owners.

Nissan should cover the cost. If Nissan wants to be truly generous, the chargers should be free to all EV cars.

· · 1 year ago

I don't even care if they charge a reasonable price for charging.
I think installing DCFCs at their sites is a great idea.
They must be 24 hour accessible though. Most dealers' chargers are only available during business hours which means you can't count on them in a pinch.

· · 1 year ago

@llaumann. "I have owned my LEAF for a 18 months. We liked it so much, we leased one for my girlfriend. Now we have two. They fit our lifestyle perfectly, as we live in temperate urban San Diego and we both work from home. I use my LEAF to go surfing around the local area, while she goes to the gym, yoga and shopping. We share a 110 volt standard plug in our garage, trading off use of the garage for charging. There must be millions of progressive, environmentally conscious citizens living in urban areas that have lifestyles like ours and are a perfect fit to be LEAF owners. One of the main obstacles to this seems to be access to electricity in apartment garages."

I doubt there are "millions" of couples where one let alone "both work from home." There are millions for whom the LEAF could work well and many of those are renters many of whom don't have easy access to L2 or even L1 charging at home. I understand that there is progress coming on this front in California.

Also I know of many rural folk who moved out of the big city in part because of their concern for life and the environment.

"I just tire of hearing from people living in rural areas with frosty climates with a dozen kids and a hundred mile daily commute on these forums bashing on the LEAF...who cannot afford a LEAF, but can somehow afford a gigantic SUV and $100 gas station fill ups. Thanks to your behavior and lifestyle choices, the climate will be warming up soon enough."

Statistically there are probably at least as many urban low-income households that have large families if not more than in rural America. The same with "gigantic SUV[s] and $100 gas station fill ups."

This rant part of your post only helps to alienate people not like you. From what I have been reading, there are actually quite a few "people living in rural areas with frosty climates" and longer commutes, some with children and some without your financial means working to make the LEAF work for them.

No need to try and judge their "behavior and lifestyle choices." And, who knows, "the climate ... warming up soon enough," like in the Renaissance period, may actuallly help extend their driving range and increase their prosperity.

· · 1 year ago

@smithjim1961  "A friend of mine recently leased a Leaf. He shopped around a lot before he signed a lease. He went to a Nissan dealer near his place of work and asked if he could plug in. They said yes, at first. When he returned to unplug his Leaf he was met by the salesman who he had dealt with previously but he eventually leased from a different dealer. The salesman was angry, cussed him out and told him he was not welcome to charge his leaf there. He called a Nissan representative who told him that dealers are independent entities and there's nothing Nissan could do about it. He's not pleased with Nissan."

Looks like this has been addressed by Missy from that dealer. 

"They said yes, at first. When he returned to unplug his Leaf he was met by the salesman who he had dealt with previously but he eventually leased from a different dealer. The salesman was angry, cussed him out and told him he was not welcome to charge his leaf there." Sounds like the salesman had a problem. In this case I would have gone into the office and asked to speak to the manager and owner 1) to clarify what the dealership's charging policy was and 2) report the inappropriate behavior of the salesman. If I were the manager/owner, I would want to know if I had an employee mistreating people at my business.

@Bill Howland  "Yeah, this confirms what I've been saying all along that Nissan is not handling this right, ...
"1). That VP Palmer basically lieing through his teeth has not boosted customer morale when asking about (to them) very big problems. They should have been honest about battery problems in hot locales, not that they're going to readjust the dashboard gauge to read 100% all the time, or some other nonsensical thing."

You sure talk like you know everything. Seems most reporting by those in attendance at Nissan's Phoenix meeting with LEAF owners felt Palmer was sincere and as open as he could be as a company rep. Palmer didn't say "that they're going to readjust the dashboard gauge to read 100% all the time," rather that they would calibrate to be more accurate and less "pessimistic" at reporting remaining range and capacity.

I'd include a link to the pertinent mynissanleaf thread, but you already know what it is, don't you?

2013 Answers to Your Complaints/Suggestions:
@Cord - Leather seat option offered.

@Modern Marvel Fan - Separate B mode added for greater Regen apart from Eco.

@Bob Schoenburg - Nissan has announced plans to increase L3 charging infrastructure by providing dealers with the necessary equipment and working to make the chargers free to use and available 24/7. This will primarily be in the SF Bay area first. Success there will likely lead to additional L3 installations.

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