The official start of Nissan's Leaf retailing will be slow-going, with few cars available for delivery to about 20,000 U.S. consumers who have made reservations to buy the all-electric car.
San Francisco Bay area resident Olivier Chalouhi recently acquired the world's first retailed Nissan Leaf electric car at North Bay Nissan in Petaluma, Calif.
Chalouhi, who until now has commuted 10 miles to and from work on an electric bike he built himself, told Automotive News that he bought the Leaf for 5 percent below its manufacturers suggested retail price.
Nissan Americas Chairman Carlos Tavares says Nissan is cautious while ramping up its new vehicle assembly operation in Oppama, Japan, where the Leaf is built, and its supporting lithium-ion battery module line in Zama, Japan.
He says a second shipment of cars will reach U.S. ports on Dec. 23, 2010 and that the new plant will not reach a steady rate of production until the second quarter of 2011.
Speaking at a recent press conference in front of the San Francisco city hall, Tavares pledged that all 20,000 Leaf reservations will be filled by the end of summer 2011. [via autonews - sub. required]