Interest in LEAF expanding

by Ernie Hernandez on July 20, 2013

2013 LEAF factory

More dealers wanting LEAF

There has been much written recently about Nissan being unable to fill all dealership requests for the 2013 LEAF. Nissan says demand currently exceeds supply. Certainly demand is up with a price reduction, but also tales of electric vehicle (EV) ownership are starting to wend their way through the water cooler circuit. With successful ownership stories comes increased interest.

Nissan now has three global plants building the LEAF: Oppama, Japan; Smyrna, Tennessee; and Sunderland, UK. Ultimate build rate of these three plants varies. Oppama is rated at 50,000 per year, as is Sunderland. Smyrna will bring 150,000 capacity online when fully ramped up. That is the hitch – they are not even close to being fully ramped up.

As can be seen in the photo above, the LEAF is built on the same assembly line as some of Nissan’s other vehicles. Where the engine would be dropped in, the electric motor goes in. The battery is bolted in somewhere on the line in place of some other activity. It takes skill and experience to be able to switch not only among platforms, but among types of vehicles. This skill and experience takes time to develop. Nissan is ramping this production line up slowly to try to maintain a high level of build quality. At full production, as many as 12,500 LEAFs each month will come out of the Smyrna plant. Currently that number is closer to 2,000.

With the awareness of greater interest in the LEAF from heretofore relatively uninterested areas of the country, it got us curious about where Living LEAF readers hail from. Google Analytics to the rescue. We have been publishing for just over three years now, but some of our earliest articles were swallowed by the electronic maze when our host’s server imploded, taking our early stuff with it. But GA still has all of our statistics, so we thought that we would check out where our readers are, and how that has changed over the past three years. This is what we found.

Visit Chart

Californian’s have found Living LEAF more than anyone else consistently since inception. Washington readers have been the only other readers that stayed in the top five. One thing that surprised me is that Oregon has never been in the top five. Oregonians own LEAFs in droves. It appears that they are getting their LEAF fix elsewhere. Illinois has made its presence known fairly regularly. The rest of the mix includes Arizona, Virginia, Minnesota, Florida, Texas, Georgia, and New York. We are a really small site without huge traffic (and no marketing), but we find it interesting to review these readership statistics. We have no clue how relevant they are to LEAF sales, but we are always curious about digging up more information that may be useful to someone, somewhere.

Perhaps most interesting of all is this – in July of 2010, 80 percent of our readership came from only five states in the US. Currently the top five states in the US only account for 63 percent of our readership. Our overall readership is more diversified – within and without the continental United States. That may be the most telling statistic of all. More people, in more places, are interested in the Nissan LEAF. Please help us spread the word.

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