Living LEAF was created essentially as a way for me to track my research into the Nissan LEAF. But then I thought that perhaps my research could help others as well. When I first heard about the Nissan LEAF, I thought that it sounded interesting from a technological point of view, but I did not think that it would impact me personally. As I continued to learn more, I got more intrigued. But frankly, what really sold me was the Federal Government tax incentive with the California electric vehicle rebate piled on top of that. To be able to own the LEAF for just over $20,000 was the tipping point. (I’m frugal, what can I say?) And that is when I really started closely exploring the LEAF as a possible vehicle for us and our situation.
We have explored some of this information in our previous posts, but I wish to expand on the reason why I think that for me and my family, the LEAF just makes sense. I do a lot of traveling as an automotibile sales consultant product knowledge trainer. It’s a mouthful, but really I just go around and talk about cars all day. All of my territory is in the Southern California market within driving distance. I am supplied with a 2010 Nissan Altima 2.5S to get myself, all of my supplies and equipment to my dealerships for training. Without a doubt, I put more mileage on this company car than anything that we own personally. We own a 2004 Nissan Quest that has almost 90,000 miles on it. My wife uses this as her daily transport and we also use the Quest as our family truckster when we go on trips. It also comes in handy when we buy large items and the Quest swallows them whole with its fold-down second- and third-row seats. My car is a 2002 Sentra SE-R Spec V with less than 30,000 miles on it. I bought it to autocross (parking lot racing) which I haven’t done much of since the kids came along (we have three of them). So it mostly sits and gathers dust now (to the delight of my neighbors, I’m sure!).
Most of our personal driving is extremely short trips (of five miles or less roundtrip) – to the store, taking the kids to school (when we don’t walk – it’s less than a mile), taking our daughter to dance practice, and more trips to Costco than you could ever imagine. My wife’s office is only a few miles from the house and her family is all located in the greater San Diego area, so we make local treks to one sibling’s home or another periodically. My point is this – easily 90% or more of our driving is perfect for the LEAF. So we plan on making the LEAF our primary vehicle, relegating the Quest to an “as needed” basis, and sell the Sentra. But that might not be your situation. And that is where we hope to be helpful.
We ordered our LEAF on the fourth day after ordering opened on August 31 (September 3). The delivery of the LEAF has been filled with much rumor and speculation. The fact of the matter is that no one knows how many cars will be delivered in December until it happens. The Oppama plant in Japan is scheduled to produce 50,000 units a year. Certainly they have been cranking out pre-production models for advertising, testing and other uses for many months already. We don’t know exactly when production vehicles will start , nor do we know if they will be building to full capacity. Even if they do, many of those vehicles will go to dealers as demo cars. Nissan has 1,100 dealerships, although not all have commited to become Certified LEAF dealerships. Also, perhaps those dealerships in later rollout states will not get demo cars until closer to their rollout. But, whenever we get our LEAF, you can be sure that you will read about our experiences with it. Hopefully the real-world driving experience of LEAF ownership will help those of you that will not yet see the LEAF for many months to come.