World's First Nissan LEAF Delivery December 11; Will Be There In Force

By · December 07, 2010

2011 Nissan LEAF

Over the last 100 years, the electric car has come and gone several times—rising and falling on the tides of cheap oil and environmental awareness. But this weekend marks the start of what will likely be the last of the first comings of battery electric vehicles: the absolute first ever mass-produced, solely battery-powered, globally distributed, affordable electric car will be delivered to a customer.

On Saturday, December 11, 2010, the world's first delivery will be a shiny new black Nissan LEAF going to an individual living in Redwood City, California. The person is a member of the MyNissanLEAF Forum calling themselves "Gudy" (a male, apparently, contrary to what you might have thought) and has spilled some of the beans over there, but doesn't want to steal too much of the thunder from Nissan. is invited to be at this momentous occasion; both the site's founder, Brad Berman, and I will be there covering the event and getting the skinny on what it means to be carved into the rock of history. At this point I feel rather certain that 50 years from now we'll be able to look back at this time and wonder why we all thought it was so hard to adopt electric cars.

Some of the more interesting tidbits from Gudy's forum posts: he hasn't installed an AeroVironment charge station, saying they're too expensive. In fact, he chose not to install a Level 2 charge station at all because he won't be driving more than 20 miles a day so charging off a standard three-prong wall outlet will be good enough. Also he's currently renting so he was concerned about what would happen when he moves, writing, "I would have gone for Leviton (to "easily" move the device when I move), but it won't be out until Q1 2011."

Sure, you might be thinking about the fact that Nissan already delivered the "first" LEAF to Lance Armstrong back in September. But that was a pre-production vehicle essentially hand-built for Armstrong so that he could carry the LEAF torch and help launch the vehicle. It wasn't a true customer delivery from the first batch of LEAFs off the line in Japan.

Indeed this weekend is when all the talk starts to end and the product begins to get evaluated by normal consumers. Groundbreaking if you ask me.


· · 7 years ago

I'll nitpick a bit but I think you're overblowing the superlatives here:
1) The Leaf really isn't "globally distributed". It's only available in a few select markets.
2) The Toyota RAV4EV was also mass-produced and available for sale (EV1, EV+, Altra, RangerEV, EPIC, S10EV were mass produced but only leasable) for a short (~6 month) period of time.
2) I'll also argue that the Tesla Roadster is as affordable to most as the Leaf. ie, the majority of the global population can't afford either one, a minority can afford either one, and a larger minority can afford a Leaf but not a Tesla Roadster. It's been available for over 2 years now.
I do agree that this will be a momentous day and will open up what should prove to be a very interesting 2011 to watch and participate in.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 7 years ago

It is electric, but with 8 gallons of oil in each tire, how will it drive when there is no more oil?

· · 7 years ago

@ Anonymous: BioIsoprene tires

· · 7 years ago

I am so happy that I am beside myself, but sad that it wasn't an American made electric that comes out first. Let's see what the big three American automakers do now that they will be slipping off the bandwagon this weekend and falling even further behind the rest of the world.

· · 7 years ago

If your tire can go 30,000 miles then you'll use 32 gallons of oil (your numbers). That's nearly 1000 mpg - are you seriously concerned about that or just being argumentative? Besides, as Smidge204 indicates, there are plenty of other ways to make tires. Have you ever heard of "rubber" for another example?

· · 7 years ago

I am very excited. Mine will not be delivered till the end of 2011 so I will have to enjoy the car through stories of people like Gudy. Can't wait to hear the first real world owner reports.

· · 7 years ago

Love the idea of the electric car. It's just not there for me yet. We're a two car family and it would only work if it were to be a third car for us. Range and recharge time are still factors for me. Real life example. May 2010, 100 miles into a 360 mile one way trip in the hybrid and we hit a deer. Limped that car home, transfered the kids and stuff to the conventional car and made the trip later that day. If my other car was electric with only a 100 mile range, there would have been no trip. I know, what are the odds it happens, but it has. I hit the lottery tomorrow, I'll buy a Leaf and make it the commuting car tomorrow as our third car. But until I have more money then I know what to do with or range/recharge time gets to be more in line with what we already have (this is why I like the fuel cell idea), no electric car.

I wish the Leaf the best of luck!

· · 7 years ago

@ex, You snarky downer, you :) As much as I'm about to debate it, I do appreciate your perspective.

1) While it's true that the Nissan LEAF will only be available in select markets initially, Nissan's intention is clearly to sell this vehicle globally, including Europe, North America, South America, China and Japan. When combined with Renault's EVs (Nissan's sister company) that reach extends even further. While it may not be making it Africa, I don't see how you can claim that isn't "global."

2) It all depends on your definition of mass-produced. Building 50,000 LEAFs per year for the first two years followed by 150,000 per year starting in 2012 is a universe away from the roughly 1,500 units Toyota sold in total of the original RAV4 EV in its entire six year run (and I'm in way trying to downplay the significance of the original RAV4 EV). Also, my intention was to incorporate the fact that the LEAF is the world's first of all of my statements ("mass-produced, solely battery-powered, globally distributed, affordable") not that it was the world's first of any ONE of those things.

3) The majority of the world's population doesn't have clean drinking water or electricity either. While these problems are certainly major ones and in no way deserve to be ignored, it's like comparing apples to oranges. Do I really have to qualify my statements by saying that I'm referring to the portion of the world's population that actually has the capability to participate in the global economy at a meaningful level? For the people that do, the affordability of the LEAF versus the Roadster is a VERY real concern.

· · 7 years ago

Since snarky seems to be my MO, I'll have to ask you what you'd do if you hit another deer with your conventional car?
I'll also ask whether a fast charging station every 60 miles along all the major highways would have allowed you to reach your destination?
I'll also ask whether you considered whether an EV with a small engine and not dependent on a working radiator/fanbelt in front like an ICE, might have been able to make it the whole way, even after hitting a deer?
It sounds like you're looking for a reason NOT to buy a Leaf, not for a reason to do so.
Let me add a few suggestions to consider:
- next time you're late to get somewhere and you have to stop and buy gas. Think about whether you would have had to worry about that if your car had started out full that morning.
- do you know what the price of gas is? I don't :-)
- do you know what the price of electricity is? It really doesn't matter.
- do you have to get oil changes and routine maintenance at 5k mile intervals? EV's service intervals are likely to be closer to every 20k miles and just be a checkup. Tires are the only real expendable item.
- in many states the carpool lanes will be open to EVs for a while. Depending on where you live, that can be a huge time saver.
- not knowing where you live but where I live ICE cars have to get smog inspections every few years - EVs don't.
- and then you can always think of the future. Buy supporting the Leaf (or Volt, Smart EV, iMiev, FocusEV, Tesla, etc), you are helping to ensure that your children and their children will have the option of driving 360 miles one-way on a trip when they are our ages.
- War
- Pollution
- Global Warming

· · 7 years ago

I think we both agree that this Nissan Leaf delivery will be the beginning of something great. I've been working hard to make this moment happen for a long time and will be very happy to see it.
I just wanted to keep perspective that:
a) Tesla's rollout was also a monumental accomplishment
b) This needs to be just the beginning. Nissan is rolling out a vehicle that barely meets some of the needs of a large part (I'll guess about 90% of the needs of about 90%) of the world's drivers. There is still a long way to go for us to end our dependence on oil and all of the problems it brings.

· Michael (not verified) · 7 years ago

@FamilyGuy, you could have always rented a car. I actually do that for most of my vacations just ot keep the miles down. Some insurance plans will provide a rental while yours is under repair.

I do agree that electrics are not practical for a lot of people. While most may drive under the battery limit for work, the weekends or evenings may ba another matter. When there a quick chargers on every block, things will be different, but quick charging reduces battery life.

I think it is going to be really interesting five to eight years out, when people start noticing their car doesn't have the range it had when it was new. Nissan was smart to allow replacement of individual battery cells. Even the good cells will have dimished capacity later in life, though.

The Leaf is a milestone to me, because it is the first mass produced electric that was designed from the ground up. The Volt would be the next most interesting car. The next decade will be very interesting.

· Steven (not verified) · 7 years ago

@Nick (or anyone at Plug-in)
It’s getting close to show-time for some of us and still no article on lease vs. purchase! So far all I know is what Nissan tells me: $13+ k and a three year commitment. I’m still nervous about no active-cooling for the 1st generation battery and no reassurances from Nissan they will take care of those on the bleeding edge with backward-compatible enhancements. I’m also nervous about all the pessimistic talk that EVs aren’t going anywhere anytime soon and the possibility Nissan might snatch my LEAF away at the end if I lease but like.

You can’t do anything about any of that. But maybe you can crunch some numbers and tell me and your other readers how much it’s going to cost me to limit our financial exposure to $13k – especially considering that if all goes well I’m going to want to keep my LEAF for another 30 years like my van.



· · 7 years ago

I was going to have the standard AeroVironment charger installed by thinking about it now I probably do not need it either. Thanks for planting this seed in my head. Most days I will driving less than 20 miles as well so a standard 110v charge should be enough.

Do you think the remote climate control will still work on 110 volt?

· · 7 years ago

Dutchinchicago, I believe almost certainly that the remote climate control will still work on 110 volt. I also know for a fact that the battery condition still occurs on 110 volt too.

· · 7 years ago

Steven, hadn't forgotten about you, just couldn't remember which post our leasing conversation had occurred on! Wanted to let you know that I talked with folks at Nissan and they said the LEAF lease functions exactly like any other lease, just that you are using your tax credit to pay down the up front cost (if you want). So when doing the lease calculations you can use any online calculator and include the $7,500 as part of your down payment. You'll need to figure out what tier of credit you fall into.

RE: Batteries... keep in mind that you will never have to fully replace a battery pack and will only need to recondition or replace the individual cells as they go bad over time. The LEAF battery comes with an 8 year warranty that will protect against capacity drops of more than about 70% (Nissan hasn't said what capacity exactly yet, but we'll find out this weekend).

Also, I really don't think there's any chance Nissan will snatch away any LEAFs from leasers. #1, it can be purchased outright and why would they take leased cars away when there are a significant number of purchased cars they can't touch? #2, if there are 200,000 LEAFs on the road when the initial lease periods end, it would be a nigh impossible task to collect all of them. Aside from those two things, this isn't some fanciful project from Nissan, they've invested more in this than anybody else ever has and it really isn't going away any time soon.

· JeremyW (not verified) · 7 years ago

I am thrilled for the Redwood City guy, and my wife and I are eagerly awaiting our Leaf, but man do I wish to hear something direct from Nissan. We got on the reservation list back in early May 2010 and have received a few emails... we haven't even seen it in person yet! Of course, we're up here in the snowy world of Minnesota so I expect a bit of a delay. If only there was some way to charge the car from the summer humidity and the frigid winter air!

· · 7 years ago

Dear @EX-EV1 Driver,
It's been 16 years since GM introduced the EV1, and 10 years since GM stole it back from it's happy drivers just to crush them into oblivion. But now we have the Tesla and the Leaf, and other production cars along the path to progress. Yea!. I think that GM means well with the Volt, but they lost their momentum 10 years ago. Imagine the automotive progress we would have made if only GM had stuck to it's original plans. Now they have to play catch up... If you think about it, it's taken 100 years for the EV to evolve from its original design in the early 1900's to what we have today (with xx billion gas cars filling the gap). I can only imagine what these current small steps in the EV evolution will result in the next 100 years. I can't wait to get my LEAF, and I plan to keep it for life!

· · 7 years ago

Don't let your guard down. GM has not changed a bit at their core, only their tune has changed. You should hear their chief spokes-toad, Barthmus speaking under his breath with his cronies when he things nobody is listening. He's the same forked-tongued liar who used to say that GM wasn't crushing EV1s, there was no waiting list, they tried but couldn't sell EV1s, hydrogen is the future, and that the EV1 drivers didn't like their cars.
Hopefully, market forces,driven by Tesla and Nissan will continue to force GM to keep moving ahead and their pigheaded refusal to move quickly won't prevent them from actually doing so.
I agree with your sentiments on your Leaf. It is part of the start of a new age of sustainability.

· automotive updates (not verified) · 7 years ago

Pretty good post. I hope you create more in the future..

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