Looking to go electric with Nissan's LEAF? The line is getting longer

From Green Right Now Reports

Nissan LEAF. Image: Nissan

Nissan LEAF. Image: Nissan

If you want to pick up a new LEAF when Nissan's all-electric automobile debuts in December, you may need to take a number. Already, more than 8,000 customers have plunked down the required $99 deposit to pre-order the vehicle. That's almost eight percent of the 102,000 who previously had signed up as interested buyers.

Those folks had first dibs in terms of making what is still a fairly nominal commitment. (The $99 is refundable.) Nissan expects the figure to grow even more after May 15, when the general public will be able to get in the game.

The company aims to produce about 50,000 LEAFs during the car's debut year. It expects to have about half of those spoken for in pre-orders by the time the vehicle actually begins to hit the streets. The LEAF lists at $32,780, but existing federal tax credits can take $7,500 off that price, and state and local incentives can reduce the cost even more.

Mindful that early word of mouth could be crucial to long-range success, part of the Nissan game plan is to make sure potential buyers know the range limits of the car, which is projected to get 100 miles on a full charge. Since home charging equipment is part of the cost, the company will go the extra mile when it begins taking firm orders in August: Nissan will pay to have an electrician visit your home and provide an estimate on how much it will be to purchase and install the equipment.

How serious is the manufacturer when it comes to assuring that early buyers become happy owners (and solid references)? Very serious, it seems.

“We may tell the customer, ‘Look, you’d be better off buying an Altima or a Sentra because your driving patterns are not ideal for this car,’ ” Carlos Tavares, Nissan’s chairman of the Americas, told Automotive News.

If early demand is any indication, that may be a luxury Nissan can afford.

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