40 percent of people who ordered a Nissan Leaf actually buy one

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 22, 2011

Reservations for the Nissan Leaf electric car are actually far lower than what was first claimed. Nissan made quite an impression when it reported that just a few months after it opened the reservation line for its Leaf EV in the U.S., it already racked up 20,000 potential customers. The truth is that only about 40% of those who gave a refundable $99 deposit to reserve a space in the Leaf queue have placed orders with their local Nissan dealers.

Actually industry observers consider a 40% fulfillment rate to be not bad at all. They think that this figure is just about right when there is no penalty for canceling a reservation.

However, it means that Nissan is likely to sell fewer than 10,000 Leafs in the first wave of U.S. sales, says AutoObserver. In the initial launch, sales were limited to a handful of states (California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona and Tennessee) that had been actively establishing EV charging networks and had a high concentration of electric vehicle advocates.

Edmunds.com industry analyst Jessica Caldwell said that the 40% “take rate” is “not a really high follow-through, but it's not a bad number.”

She said that many early adopters reserved a Leaf but still went to their Chevrolet dealership to order a Volt and waited for which car came first.

She noted that GM has been delivering Volt extended-range plug-in hybrids much faster than Nissan's delivery of Leaf EVs. Caldwell said that a large number of Leaf reservations were probably made by people who got on the list "just to be sure" but backed out when they determined that an electric car won’t fit their lifestyles.

They say that even the smallest of details can lead to large impacts. This is clear with the Nissan LEAF. The style on its front is a standout with its upright and sharp V-shaped design. This design features a light-emitting diode that is both long and slanted upwards. Its use of a blue internal reflective design appears to declare that this vehicle is indeed special. However, these headlights not only make a statement but also have a function.

The headlights have been designed in a way that not only splits the airflow but redirects it away from the car’s door mirrors. These result in lower drag and wind noise. Another advantage provided by the headlights is that it only uses 10% of the electricity consumption unlike that of standard lamps. This means that Nissan LEAF has range autonomy in a world class level. The inside offers a cabin atmosphere that is both stylish and pleasing due to the use of bright trim colors.

When the first Nissan LEAF model was introduced, it carried an Aqua Globe body color. Using this as the basis, the new LEAF exhibits a "blue earth" color motif that gives it an environment-friendly ambiance. This specific theme is evident all throughout the interior especially with the blue instrument illumination and the blue highlights on the dashboard. Benefitting the Nissan LEAF is the use of a very exclusive advanced IT system which is linked to a global data center.

This enables the driver to get the information needed which is available 24 hours a day. This same system can even provide the necessary support as well as entertainment. The driver is even provided information on the remaining power of the LEAF through a dash-mounted monitor.

It also shows "reachable area" as well as a choice of charging stations in the vicinity. While some vehicles already offer the capacity to utilize mobile phones to set the charging function or turn the air-conditioning on and off, what makes the Nissan LEAF different is that it is able to do this even when powered down. There is also a remote-controlled timer on-board that can be pre-programmed in recharging the batteries.

Having an IT system, according to Chief Product Specialist Tooru ABE, offers an important advantage. This is why the company made sure to manufacture a vehicle that would serve to be a partner for the driver and that would improve the experiences of the passengers.

Since the company also wanted to have a vehicle that would help in creating a zero-emission community, having an IT system was important to make this a reality, he further adds. Indeed, the Nissan LEAF provides that important first step in making a period of zero-emission mobility.

However, the brand also admits that technologies related to internal-combustion engines will continue to have an important role to play for years to come when it comes to global transportation. While Nissan has a zero-emission vision, it intends to implement this using a holistic approach. This means that it gives consumers a wide-range of different eco-friendly technologies to choose from.

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