LEAF deliveries make customers angry, Nissan tries to calm them

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 26, 2011

Customers of Nissan Leaf are becoming impatient with the EV’s slow rollout in the United States. When the Leaf was launched in December 2010, Nissan dealers delivered only 19 Leafs to eagerly waiting buyers.

Nissan North America spokeswoman Katherine Zachary said that there is no production delay and that the company didn’t properly communicate the delivery process with its customers.

In 2010, Nissan has tried its best to explain the buying and delivery process, telling consumers that the rollout would be slow and cautious, with the car available in limited markets at first.

In January 2011 in Detroit, Nissan Americas Chairman Carlos Tavares reiterated his assurance that the entire first year's production of Leafs (20,000 cars) will reach consumers by the summer of 2011 and that the problem may blow over eventually.

The distinction is significant for Nissan, which is trying to improve its customer satisfaction levels.

President of the automotive brand research firm AutoStratagem, Dan Gorrell, said that Nissan has been really concerned about the initial response to the Leaf, but he does not think consumer impatience will hurt Nissan.

Providing the propulsion power for the Nissan LEAF is an electric motor that could provide 80kW of output and 280Nm of torque. In turn, this electric motor gets its power from laminated compact lithium-ion batteries that could produce 90kW in power output.

With these numbers, the Nissan guarantees a highly responsive and enjoyable driving drive experience that customers usually expect from conventional vehicles. Of course, since the new Nissan Leaf is not powered by an internal combustion engine (ICE) that nonetheless still emits harmful carbon dioxide, the powertrain of Nissan LEAF lets out no such emissions nor greenhouse gases.

Thanks to the Nissan LEAF’s state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery packs and its regenerative braking system, the EV could drive over 160km (100 miles) on one full charge before needing to recharge again. This driving range, according to extensive consumer studies, is enough to satisfy the daily driving needs of over 70-percent of the world's drivers.

In fact, a quick charger could recharge the Nissan LEAF’s battery up to 80 percent of its full capacity in under 30 minutes. When customers charge their LEAFs at home through a 200V outlet, total recharging time is around eight hours -- which is just enough for the user to get a good night of sleep.

Much more interesting is the fact that the Nissan LEAF is designed and engineered to be competitive in terms of pricing, making it available for more people and allowing Nissan to take the frontline in the zero-emission era.

Moreover, the new Nissan Leaf offers ample interior comfort and space as well as cargo capacity, thanks to a new chassis and body layout.

Masato Inoue, Product Chief Designer at Nissan, remarked that they intended to make the LEAF the first medium-size practical yet affordable electric vehicle in the world – a goal the Nissan managed to achieve. He added that the styling of the Nissan LEAF will identify its owner as a participant in the new era of zero-emission mobility.

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