Nissan: Age of Average EV Customer Is Dropping

By · October 25, 2013

Nissan Leaf shopper

As we approach the third anniversary of the all-electric LEAF, Nissan said the average age of its LEAF customers is dropping, and more women are choosing to dump the pump. Speaking with Detroit News, Erik Gottfried, Nissan’s director of electric vehicle sales and marketing in North America, said the average age of LEAF buyers has dropped from a high of 53 years old last year to 51 years old this year.

While early LEAF sales were mainly to middle-aged men, sales to women have increased to between 25 and 30 percent. Previous sales to women were between 10 to 15 percent.

In addition, he noted, buyers are now buying the LEAF not just for its environmental credentials. When the LEAF launched, many buyers were focused on its environmental benefits. Now, people are buying it much more because its low cost of ownership and driving dynamics are attractive. “In the past 12 months it’s shifted to value,” said Gottfried.

Those changes in demographics are caused by many reasons, one of which is the fact that early adopters—predominantly well-educated middle class customers who are concerned about the environment and national security as previous studies have shown—have already purchased their car.

But perhaps the most important factor for the change in demographics is price: when Nissan switched production of the LEAF from Japan to Smyrna, Tenn., it knocked off 18 percent of the car’s price in one go, making it far more affordable to buy. Value for money, along with lease deals of $199 a month or less, are drawing more Americans toward the LEAF, a car they previously couldn't afford (or didn't want to buy based on a higher price tag).

The expanding diversity of the EV market makes it increasingly difficult to get a clear picture of an “average” buyer. The age of a LEAF buyer ranges from teenagers to retirees—and trade-ins on the LEAF vary from Priuses to Ford F150 pickups. Continued will growth will depend on this diversity, if electric cars are to expand beyond current levels.

New to EVs? Start here

  1. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
    A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
  2. Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
    Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
  3. Buying Your First Home EV Charger
    You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.