Nissan to deliver first Leaf electric car to buyer in California

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 13, 2010

The first ever customer to receive Nissan Motor Co.’s Leaf electric car is scheduled to receive it on Saturday. The black Leaf SL hatchback is set to be delivered to 31-year-old Olivier Chalouhi at a dealership in Petaluma, Calif. Nissan aims to be the world's top seller of electric vehicles and to achieve this goal, Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan and affiliate Renault SA of France, targets sales of at least 500,000 battery cars worldwide in the next few years.

Ghosn estimates that by 2020, electric cars may make up about 10% of global auto sales. So far, Nissan has recorded about 20,000 Leaf reservations. Delivery of these cars will be made over at least the next year. Last month, Brian Carolin, Nissan's U.S. sales chief, declined to say how soon the company will be able to fill those initial orders.

When Nissan rolled out the first units of the revolutionary Nissan LEAF electric vehicle, the first place the EV went to was San Francisco in California. The Bay Area in Southern California became one of the first markets that the Nissan LEAF rolled out to, together with places in the states of Arizona, Oregon, Seattle and Tennessee.

This apparently was in line with San Francisco’s commitment to establish the Bay Area as a significant market for the new EV from Nissan. According to San Francisco Mayor Gawin Newsom, it is of great pride that one of the city’s residents was the first to receive a Nissan LEAF.

Newsom then added that the delivery of the first Nissan LEAF vehicles to the Bay Area marks a milestone in the city’s commitment to encouraging consumers to buy electric vehicles instead of conventional gasoline-powered cars, in an effort to become more environmentally friendly.

To commemorate the delivery of the Nissan LEAF to a Bay Area resident, a week of festivities was launched in the Bay Area. For its part, Nissan made a $25,000 donation to the World Wildlife Fund. As part of its commitment to establish a sustainable market for the Nissan LEAF and other future EVs, Nissan went the extra mile to not just create EVs but also to collaborate with local, regional and state government units for that goal.

Through these partnerships, Nissan hopes to establish a sustainable and viable architecture that will make charging technology easily available to future owners of electric vehicles. In addition to the local, state and regional government partners, Nissan also allied itself with the U.S. Department of Energy and AeroVironment Inc.

The DoE has provided a grant for Nissan and its partners to work on the EV Project, which aims to research and develop the charging infrastructure needed to support the budding EV market.

On the other hand, Aerovironment Inc. will provide the home charging systems for future LEAF owners.

Nissan Americas’ chairman, Carlos Tavares, announced that, with the Nissan LEAF, drivers now have the option of not putting up with long lines at the gasoline stations and not having to be burdened with the fact that their cars are emitting carbon monoxide into the air.

Tavares promised “thousands” of other opportunities coming to drivers, and states that this is just the first step of bringing sustainable forms of transportation to the public.

Press Release

Nissan Makes History With Delivery of World's First 100% Electric Nissan LEAF to California Consumer

Nissan North America Inc. (NNA) makes history by bringing sustainable mobility to the mass market, with the world's first delivery of a Nissan LEAF all-electric vehicle. Olivier Chalouhi, a San Francisco Bay Area resident and the first person in the United States to place a Nissan LEAF order, took delivery of his black Nissan LEAF SL at North Bay Nissan of Petaluma. The delivery was followed by a press conference at San Francisco City Hall Plaza. This groundbreaking moment represents the first delivery of an affordable, mass-market, all-electric car since the first days of the automotive era.

Chalouhi, a 31-year-old entrepreneur is the founder of Fanhattan, a venture-backed stealth start-up in the connected TV space, where he serves as chief technology officer. He currently lives in Redwood City, Calif., with his wife, Jana, and their two children and holds a master's degree in computer science from the French Aeronautical and Space School. Before purchasing his Nissan LEAF, Chalouhi commuted to work on an electric bicycle.

"Electricity is the new fuel for cars, and the Nissan LEAF has the potential to transform the automotive industry and the way people drive," said Carlos Tavares, Chairman, Nissan Americas. "Starting today, drivers have the freedom to choose a future that produces zero tailpipe emissions, moves away from our dependence on fossil fuels, and represents the end of trips to the gas station. This Nissan LEAF delivery is the first of thousands and signifies the dawn of a movement that brings sustainable mobility to within our grasp."

The San Francisco Bay Area events kicked off more than a week of festivities, as Nissan delivers the first Nissan LEAF vehicles to each of its primary launch markets in Southern California, Arizona, Oregon, Seattle and Tennessee. Nissan also donated $25,000 to the World Wildlife Fund to mark the occasion.

"San Francisco is committed to make the Bay Area the top EV market in America, and the fact that San Francisco is the number one market in the nation for Nissan LEAF ownership reservations is proof we're on our way," said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. "We are proud that Bay Area resident is the very first owner of a LEAF, anywhere in the world. We congratulate Olivier Chalouhi and the thousands of other Bay Area residents who soon will be driving electric cars, leading the way to climate friendly transportation."

In all of these first markets, Nissan has formed partnerships with local, regional and state governments along with utilities to foster the development of electric vehicle-friendly policies and an EV-charging infrastructure. Sonoma County, the home of North Bay Nissan, marks among the first of such partnership agreements. The delivery of these first Nissan LEAFs also marks a milestone for The EV Project, a research and charging infrastructure deployment project funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The first Nissan LEAF owners in San Diego and Arizona are participants in The EV Project, the largest EV infrastructure deployment project ever undertaken. AeroVironment Inc. (Nasdaq: AVAV) is working with Nissan to supply and install home charging docks for Nissan LEAF customers, nationwide, including Chalouhi as well as first customers in Oregon, Seattle and Tennessee.

The initial Nissan LEAF deliveries will be followed by a second shipment of Nissan LEAF electric cars scheduled to arrive on Dec. 20 and destined for consumer driveways in time for the holidays. Nissan is on track for a nationwide launch of the Nissan LEAF by 2012, with Hawaii and Texas next to roll out in early 2011. In order to fulfill interest and meet demand in initial launch markets, Nissan plans to reopen reservations in the first half of 2011 as well as shift timing of additional markets until the second half of 2011.

In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010 and has been recognized as a 2010 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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