Is It Time to Declare the Nissan Leaf a Flop?

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The headline for a recent Detroit News story has it that the “20,000 sales target [is] unlikely” for the Nissan Leaf. But “unlikely” is probably understating things. It appears as if Nissan won’t get halfway to its 20,000-Leaf target for 2012, nor will it top last year’s mark of 9,679 units sold—which was itself a disappointment.

Thus far in 2012, Nissan has sold 4,228 all-electric Leafs, a decrease of 31.5% compared to the same period last year. Last month, 685 Leaf purchases were made in the U.S., a 50% decline compared to August 2011.

It’s understandable that electric-car sales aren’t exactly booming. This is a niche market, after all, and one that’s very new and unfamiliar to consumers. Even with government incentives, plug-ins are still very expensive compared to gas-powered cars, and all-electric vehicles like the Leaf can’t be used practically for road trips, or any journey of more than 75 miles or so.

(MORE: 10 Things That Cost Way More Outside the U.S. (Including the Nissan Leaf))

Still, one would expect that even if Leaf sales weren’t going gangbusters, they’d at least not be on the decline. That is, these are the expectations one would have if they believed the Leaf had a decent future ahead of it.

Even when gas prices spiked to nearly $4 per gallon in early 2012, electric car sales struggled. Just 478 Nissan Leafs sold in February, a month when gas prices were soaring around the country, especially so in California—a state where energy-conscious drivers are more inclined to be open to EVs such as the Leaf to begin with.

The other plug-in most often mentioned in the same breath as the Leaf—the Chevy Volt—hasn’t been a runaway hit either. But at least sales are growing. Through the first five months of 2012, Chevy sold 7,000 Volts, which was more than it sold in all of 2011. Sales have remained on the rise since then. In August of 2012, 2,831 Volt purchases were made, an 800% increase over the previous August. For the year thus far, Volt sales totaled nearly 13,500, up 325.5% over the same period in 2011. Granted, unless a miracle occurs, GM won’t hit its projected 2012 sales goal of 45,000 Volts, but at least sales are on the upswing.

(MORE: As More Hybrids Hit the Market, All-Electrics Still Trying to Catch On)

The same can’t be said of the Leaf, and the most obvious reason why is so-called “range anxiety.” That’s the worry drivers have when behind the wheel of a car that could run out of juice when a recharging station is nowhere nearby. Owners of the Volt, which runs on electric and gas power, experience no such anxiety—which is probably one of the reasons they chose a Volt over a Leaf in the first place.

The age of the Leaf, and mass-produced electric cars in general, is still quite young. It’s possible that the Leaf could one day catch on in a substantial way, or that another vehicle that runs purely on electric power could become as commonplace as the Toyota Corolla on roads in the future.

For the time being, though, the idea once passed around that the Leaf would be a “Prius Killer” now sounds laughable. Toyota’s new Plug-in Prius, which is only available in 15 states, is already outselling the Leaf. Toyota sold 1,047 plug-in electric Prius vehicles in August 2012, and a total of 6,082 for the year, compared to 685 and 4,228, respectively, for the Leaf. And the Prius family in general is a giant in the industry, with nearly 250,000 sales in the first quarter of 2012 alone.

(MORE: One Nation on Welfare: Living Your Life on the Dole)

What the numbers seem to be saying is that the Leaf is not only failing to replace the Prius as the fuel-efficient, eco-conscious car of choice, it is also increasingly looking like a flop.

Brad Tuttle is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @bradrtuttle. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

218 comments
tonyscott
tonyscott

i will say it again, the leaf is a great ev the problem is the price Nissan need to make a no frills model and sell it at cost price for 12 18 months to create a following ! then the profit will flow !  

getalife
getalife

All I can say is I love my leaf! NO GAS should I say it again? We have a 5.6 khw DC solar on our home. We charge the car run all our heat and electric and over generate every month. HUMM free well till we pay off the solar. The scientific fact is electric motor is more efficient then a 150 moving part gas explosion internal combustion motor. Based on a steam engine design from many many years ago. So lets move on maybe? Oh thats right most Americans want to live in the stone age. It is fine with me if people don't want a Leaf or any electric car. Keep going to the GS paying thousands for gas every year. Keep changing the oil, all that mess. Keep giving all your money to 700% profit oil companies polluting the plant. If that is what floats your boat. Me I take my Leaf NO GAS!

Promontorium
Promontorium

I called this one the day Nissan Leaf's specs were announced. 75 miles with an 8 hour recharge time is simply unreasonable. The Leaf isn't anything revolutionary except in trying to bridge the gap between golf cart and car. Tesla produces several pure electric vehicles that far outperform Leaf, before Leaf even hit the market. So it really didn't bring anything to the table except marginally lower prices for a high class market vehicle. I've heard it defended to the death that the Leaf works as a second commuter vehicle for the average day to day driving.  That's a fine premise, but if you have the money to buy a brand new, relatively expensive vehicle purely for the purpose of going to work and back, why not go upgrade to something better in the electric market, or go hybrid and ultimately save more money and more emissions by getting a vehicle that will only use electric in the day to day, but has the option of going gasoline in longer distance travel?

 When this first came out I lived about 85 miles from San Francisco, which was an 1 1/2 hour drive by normal vehicle, and a frequent destination. In the Leaf this minor day trip would require stopping half way, recharging for 8 hours, and then continuing to San Francisco, recharging again there, one could then make it half way back and recharge another 8 hours, making what would have been 3 hours total transit into 19 hours total transit. That's not a car. You could get to and from with a moped faster. 

holdeninpdx
holdeninpdx

This is all you need to know about EVs...and the President who is abetting them:

 

"The Chevy Volt, the plug-in car that has been plagued by

sluggish sales and mounting losses since General Motors rolled it out in

2010, has one deep-pocketed customer: the Pentagon.

The Department of Defense is planning to purchase 1,500 electric cars

including Volts as part of its effort to make the military more

environmentally friendly. But given the federal government’s bailout of

Chevy maker General Motors, President Obama’s praise of the Volt and the

car’s long-running problems, the federal purchase is likely to become

the latest controversy in the Volt’s short life.

Earlier this week, Reuters reported that GM is losing up to $49,000 on every Volt

driven out of the showroom. The report took GM’s huge investment in the

pioneering car and divided it by the meager sales to date and concluded

that each car costs the company nearly $90,000 – more than double the

sticker price.

 GM blasted the report, disputing the numbers and insisting that as

sales build, the initial costs will be recouped and the cost-per-car

will fall.

Those sales will be boosted at taxpayer expense. The Department of

Defense began buying Volts this summer as the Marine Corps Air Station

in Miramar, Calif., purchased two in July. Another 18 Volts will soon be

delivered to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, where Air Force One is

based, according to military magazine Stars and Stripes.

The Obama administration has been among the Volt’s biggest backers

with the president vowing to “buy one and drive it myself … five years

from now when I’m not president anymore.”

But despite ultra-cheap lease deals and tax breaks of $7,500 for buyers, sales have still been moribund.

Such perks, however, have failed to drive consumers to GM car lots.

The vehicle has been forced to suspend production twice this year and

will again suspend production later this month after only 2,831 were

sold last month.

The General Services Administration bought 100 Volts in 2011 for various agencies."

Reuters

holdeninpdx
holdeninpdx

Electric cars, like the Leaf, are novelties, little else.  After 50 miles, it takes a day to recharge them, and unless one lives in areas which have WASTED MILLIONS OF DOLLARS in infrastructure to support a miniscule number of cars, they're useless.  GM reports it costs twice the price to produce each Volt it has sold and the number of sales consists mostly of Government agency fleet acquisitions.  The Prius, Camry, Fusion and Sonata hybrids are selling well, with little or no Government subsidies (some tax credits were available but nothing like what Volt buyers got/get).

In Denver, a Volt buyer gets a $7,500 Federal Income Tax Credit and up to $6,000 in State credits...and still, the lots are packed with them.  Even with Government Motors' MASSIVE marketing and financing arms, the Volt's biggest "customer base" is the Government.

It's a fallacy to think electric cars are more "green" than hybrid, diesel and hydrogen powered cars.  From where does the power to charge cars come?  From fossil fuel burning electric power plants!  Hydrogen cars, which Honda tested extensively in CA, are far more green and have 250 mile ranges between fill-ups--which take 3 MINUTES, not 16 HOURS.  The batteries in electric cars come from filthy-dirty Chinese plants and are NOT recyclable.

Why would anybody buy a Leaf or a Volt for $40,000 when hybrids can be had for $15,000 less and can be driven like conventional cars?  If the Volt were a Ford, it would have been scrapped prior to the first one coming off the assembly line, no matter the size of the Government incentive.

To put the anemic sales numbers of electric cars into perspective, ONE high volume Ford store will sell more F-150s in a year than EVERY SINGLE ELECTRIC CAR in AMERICA!  The Government should NOT play favorites in the marketplace...period...

llaumann
llaumann

What the article misses is not the failure of the LEAF, but I think, the intelligence of LEAF buyers. Why would anyone buy a 2011 or 2012 model year LEAF at this time, when the much improved 2013 LEAF will be available in a few months? The new 2013 boasts faster charging time, greater range, cheaper price, and it is made in America. It has a more efficient heater and an option for leather seats.  Is it really a mystery why sales have dropped precipitously?

ga
ga

We have a 2011 Leaf and love it.  I saw five others on the road today around our house in Marin County, California. The local dealership has none on the lot.

 I spent $21 for 5 gallons of gas for our gasoline car yesterday. That's about a single charge on the Leaf which costs me less than $2. 

I picked up my son at school, waited in the "car line" with the AC on, XM radio going with no guilt and nearly no cost.

Zeitgeist1970
Zeitgeist1970

Unless electric car roll-outs are supported by appropriate road infrastructure (blanket-coverage battery charging or swapping stations, see eg http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/worl... ) and accompanying institutional changes legislated by policy makers, mainstreamed market uptake will inevitably remain sluggish. What's lacking is not technological innovation but enlightened political will. It's as simple as that!

Fred2202350
Fred2202350

It seems to me that the Leaf's poor sales are more of an advertising failure than anything else. There are specific markets where a short range car that never needs gas would be the logical choice, but many areas where it would be totally impractical even as a 2nd car - where I live my new VW Jetta TDI's 40+ mpg in town is a much a much more logical choice. But I still am amazed that the Leaf WON its class in the Pike's Peak Hill Climb, and beat racing cars in classes above it (!) and nobody even knows it. Think about it; as the cars climbed toward 14,000 ft, the Leaf was the ONLY one which maintained it's full sea-level power rating. Nissan doesn't seem to know how to tap the market, niche though it is, for this car.

Josh
Josh

Sigh. And Yawn. That's all I can say, Mr. Tuttle. Yet another Leaf-bashing article based on nothing but one number and a reporter's opinion. How about interviewing a single Leaf owner to get an opinion on "range anxiety?" The truth is that any knowledgeable EV driver who can work Google Maps does not have this anxiety, because our worlds don't revolve around finding chargers in "the wild," we are comfortable with the 40-mile radius around our garages, where we know we always have a daily supply of fuel. Instead of jumping to the "it's a flop" conclusion based on admittedly slow and disappointing sales, a much more interesting article (and one you might actually have to practice some journalism for) would be finding out why the limited-range aspect of the Leaf is so hard for mainstream consumers to swallow. When 98 percent of most drivers' daily mileage can be done in a Leaf, and the majority of households in America have two cars (i.e. it's possible to have one EV for local driving, and a gas car for the other 2% of trips), the low sales number is most certainly a marketing problem for Nissan, not a failing of the car or the technology. Come on, Brad, give us an article with some sophistication, and with some actual Leaf-driver input.

Joanna Pineda
Joanna Pineda

My husband and I love our Nissan Leaf. We got it last November and think the car is fantastic. An all electric lifestyle is definitely not for everyone, but since we have short commutes, it's perfect for us. The low sales is probably due to the cost of the car, fear of being stranded, and long commutes. We are seeing more Nissan Leafs here in the Northern VA area, btw.

rickw4s
rickw4s

With their limited range, pure electrics cannot be one's only car.  But a two vehicle couple, where both have normal commutes, the an electric *could* be one of the cars.

As someone else suggested, one of the other forces making electrics "flops" is the charging infrastructure.  Here in California (where we're probably ahead of other areas), there aren't that many charging stations.  Some are free, but those tend to be occupied all day by people who work nearby.  Others charge by the hour, but at a price that's not attractive: the fuel cost per mile is very high.

In my opinion, stores and shopping centers should have ample charging stations, and supply 1/2 hour of free charge (as an incentive to shop there, and to replace the charge spent getting there).  And the chargers should charge a high tariff after the charger has been occuppied for more than a couple of hours (to encourage turnover).

Bruce Dp
Bruce Dp

As a person that reads many, many newswire items each and everyday covering plug-in vehicles of all types, I sum up this piece as a whole lot of useless blather.

Since when does the Time mag that goes for flash (fr ont co ver t eat su ckling) rather than actual journalism produce any article of any value. No, reading this piece is a true waste of time, and reaffirms how easy it is for advertising clients to have articles written for them with their skewed bias.

For those that do not want a plug-in vehicle, stick with a high mpg fuel car, and fund petrol profits.

For those that want freedom from that death-grip, sales reps from all dealers near me say sales are fine, and they are not concerned with bogus reports like this.

{brucedp.150m.com}

spaceneedleland
spaceneedleland

Really? You'd expect a typical fellow american to make logical, sound financial decisions inside a car dealership?! Now that would be epic. You are talking about the same people who think they can increase their yearly income by just using the credit card to smooth it over.  They are going to walk out of that dealership with an emotional spur of the moment decision.

Dare I admit i bought one of these things. It is so incredibly dirt cheap to drive that I can also have $0 in the checking account and not worry about the cost of a road trip to the ocean or running around aimlessly around town. I don't even have to pay the power bill on time. Completely removing over $300/mo in gas out of the equation has been quite helpful for us.  

DC fast charge has been a big help, but there needs to be more of it. And trust me, after 2 1/2 hours of kids in the back of the car in traffic, you will WANT to stop for 20 minutes to get a bite to eat. We did it anyway in the gas SUV we still own. The LEAF is actually our road trip vehicle. I'll pocket the $35 in gas and spend $2 instead.

I am also not sure what you guys consider a golf cart. Not aware of one that has 210 foot-lbs of torque at 0 RPM, goes 0-60 in about 7-8 seconds, and drives a 100 miles, seats 5 with cargo, and weighs in at 3500 lbs....but to be fair,  I haven't golfed in a while.

I am the smrt
I am the smrt

The car is too expensive. that is the problem. If it were 50 percent cheaper i think they would sell 50 times more...easily.

the only reason to buy now:

A. to support the movement of the electric car to help improve it so these companies can invent better batteries and have more money to build more charging stations

B. to be part of the movement of better air quality and a better environment for our kids future.

C. to be less dependable on these oil companies who who charge an arm and a leg for their liquid gold as well as the main cause of war.

I think if you have the moneyto buy an electric car (any one of them) it would be a better option to buy these for the sake of our people and our planet.

Elptique
Elptique

Thank you TIME for filtering my previous respectful, yet frank comment. That is called censure, not moderation.

Let's give it another try: poor article, does not account for the longer range 2013 battery pack, does not compare properly Nissan (relatively unknown model) to Toyota (well established, well known, well advertized model), does not account for the reality of driving (most people drive much less than 75 miles), does not account for the LEAF public (most of us use the LEAF as primary and an ICE as secondary car), does not account for the total cleanness of the car as most of us charge with PV, does not account for the fact that we get anxiety not out of range but out of a demented energy policy that is perfectly fine with occupying half the world to guarantee the flow of a polluting, old, inefficient, expensive, dangerous raw material.

So, again, I state my point: this is a illogical, poorly written article that serves only the interest of oil companies.

TomAnderson
TomAnderson

@getalife getalife You're an idiot. Enjoy wearing out on the side of the road trying to get to a hospital, or an emergency with a loved one. What is your brilliant strategy for distance commuters, travelers, salespeople, who rack up more miles than the charge will ever provide? Leafs have already FAILED in hot climates, losing 20, 30, 40% of their battery capacity. They suck in snowy climates and ice.Good for you that it works just swell in your little niche. But most people are not in your little niche, so go pound sand. I can buy a car that is cheaper, without having my neighbor chip in the payment, and it would take YEARS of you driving your POS before you see any ROI in comparison to me. Plus I can drive cross country, have a group of people with me, in total comfort on large freeways and drive all day with the AC or heat on.Take your nutbag opinion down the road. Most of America agrees with me, your Leaf is useless.

BooRadley
BooRadley

@Promontorium Ugh.  You sound like my dad.  Who drives around the city for 75 miles?  If you are, you're trolling and should be arrested.  It's a GREAT commuter car and if you haven't ridden in one, you can't have an opinion.  Free speech be damned. 

getalife
getalife

@holdeninpdx All I can say is I love my leaf! NO GAS should I say it again? We have a 5.6 khw DC solar on our home. We charge the car run all our heat and electric and over generate every month. HUMM free well till we pay off the solar. The scientific fact is electric motor is more efficient then a 150 moving part gas explosion internal combustion motor. Based on a steam engine design from many many years ago. So lets move on maybe? Oh thats right most Americans want to live in the stone age.

Josh
Josh

This will be my last post on this article, because it's clear that holdeninpdx thinks this is some kind of high school debate team forum, or a place where he can exercise his troll skills. But here's a message to holden and all the other EV-haters who for some reason think it's their raison d'etre to run around Internet forums and stand in the way of progress: It's not a strong argument to say that we should never make EVs because a new technology needs government spending (hello? where do you think the INTERNET came from? the space race?) or has failings and limitations compared to existing tech. What benefit are you getting from being reactionary on this issue? It's un-American if you ask me: China and other Asian countries are beating us on nearly every cutting-edge technology that there is, including EVs, EV batteries, solar panel production. The only thing we have is Apple and iPhones (oh yeah, they're all made in China, too). Maybe weapons, I guess we're still the best at making those.

It's time to have what one previous poster said we should all have, and it defines us as Americans: imagination and courage. The Leaf and the Volt go far beyond a wacky new car design we can debate statistics on -- their introduction and survival is about imagination and courage.

llaumann
llaumann

I have had my LEAF for over a year and rarely had occasion (or the desire) to drive our other car.  We LOVE our LEAF, and, you'll be disappointed to hear, no level of misguided oil company talking points will ever convince us otherwise.  You are lying and misinforming people about the facts.  Shame on you.

rickw4s
rickw4s

The US imports 1/2 of the oil we burn.  With 5% of the world's population, we burn 20% of the world's oil.  Our oil reserves are tiny by comparison:  if we stopped importing oil and only used domestic oil, we'd be dry within 5 years.  Plus OPEC controls most of the oil in the world, so continuing to buy oil means supporting OPEC. (And who are those OPEC countries?)

So by driving a Volt, Tesla, Leaf, iMiev, Prius Plugin, you are using domestically produced fuel for transportation.

TomAnderson
TomAnderson

@llaumann What a smug response.  The LEAF buyers are smarter!  Tell you what, if you want to even the playing field, how about on tax return day you check off that little box on your form and return the funds that were given to you by the taxpayer to buy your glorified liberalcart.  Do that, and get back to us about how smart it is to buy a leaf.

holdeninpdx
holdeninpdx

 The new Leaf will START at a lower price--for less standard equipment and the shorter charging time comes at a price--shorter battery life, which begs the question, where do batteries go to die?  The advertised range of electric cars depends on them being driven so conservatively, anyone driving behind one would go ballistic!

These cars are neither economical, nor practical and wouldn't survive in the marketplace on an even playing field.

TomAnderson
TomAnderson

@ga No guilt about the fact that your neighbors helped pay for your ride?  Wow, people used to have pride and not accept handouts.  You do it smugly with your radio on.  Go way little boy and go play air guitar, and leave the grown ups to the discussion.

holdeninpdx
holdeninpdx

 Josh,

This "forum" has eliminated a couple of my replies.  I'm happy to debate intelligent people, such as yourself.  If you'd like to continue this discussion, e-mail me at whosdp at hot mail.

holdeninpdx
holdeninpdx

 Josh, the cost per mile of a Leaf is astronomical for a second, around-town vehicle.  Compared to a new Nissan Versa, for instance, which can be had for less than $10,000, one would NEVER recover the cost difference in energy savings.  How many people can afford $40,000 for a run-around car?  Oh, and in most parts of the Country, one can Google one's head off and never find a charging station, making the Leaf's effective range about 30 miles from home...what, What, WHAT???

holdeninpdx
holdeninpdx

Joanna, you should thank the American taxpayers for your "all electric lifestyle."  Without massive amounts of tax credits and Government paid infrastructure "improvements," you probably couldn't afford your Leaf.

holdeninpdx
holdeninpdx

 Those chargers don't come cheap and neither does the electricity.  The cost, inconvenience and infrastructure required don't justify the "green feeling."  Buy a VW clean-diesel or a hybrid and park and refuel wherever you like!  The only question is, what will you do with the $15,000 you'll save?

TomAnderson
TomAnderson

@spaceneedleland Glad you are comfy with your neighbors paying for a good chunk of your car.

holdeninpdx
holdeninpdx

 I'll buy (A.)   (B.) is hooey--the electricity is generated by coal or natural gas.  (C.) could be solved by domestic oil sources--Anwar, Keyston pipeline, more offshore drilling.

The price will never go down appreciably as economies of scale work against low-volume cars.  The cost of infrastructure, alone, is unaffordable in most State economies.

holdeninpdx
holdeninpdx

 Were I Time, I, too, would remove your poppycock!  For $40,000, I could buy a clean-diesel BMW with a 500 mile range that is actually fun to drive, less expensive to operate and doesn't confine me to the government grid. 

I wouldn't buy Time if my life depended on it but, in this case, anyone who hasn't sunk WAY too much money into a Government subsidized boondoggle would come to the same conclusion.  Leafs are Solyndra on wheels...

BooRadley
BooRadley

@TomAnderson @getalife I live in Denver and we like it.  It's a commuter car.  We've had it for over a year and it's great in snow.  I just slap it in eco mode and there's no slippage.  I can do all the things you do, too.  I just have to switch cars.  I don't think it's made for a 1 car family.  Be angry if you like, but we love ours.

BooRadley
BooRadley

@llaumann The car makes great sense if you are married and you have 2 cars, anyway.  None of my 20 mile commute ever involves a gas station and I use the heat and air the whole way.  I don't think it's right for everyone, but if you don't have one, why try to talk other people out of it.  I fight with my dad all the time because I have a Vespa and not a real bike and I have a LEAF and not a real car.  He's never even seen one, let alone mine because I live across the country from him.

holdeninpdx
holdeninpdx

 There was no reply link to your latest reply...you asked for some contradicting statistics...this link took two minutes to find:

http://www.ogj.com/articles/20...

If you research "Bakken" you'll see WILDLY different estimates of how much is there but there but this is but ONE area in which current estimates of reserves have mostly been referred to as "conservative."

holdeninpdx
holdeninpdx

 Rick, we can quote conflicting statistics all day...needless to say, I dispute yours.  Suffice to say, our "proved" oil reserves aren't all we have.  We EXPORT oil!  If you include all NORTH AMERICAN oil sources, which makes sense, we'd not have to import a DROP of oil from the middle east.  When Obama said "no'' to the Keystone pipeline, he said "yes" to diverting that oil...to CHINA!!

As I've noted in another comment, oil is a FUNGIBLE commodity.  A barrel of North American oil is the same as an OPEC barrel and the price of any barrel of oil depends on demand.  Obama's STATED POLICY, as articulated by his Secretary of Energy, Stephen Chu, encourages continued high oil prices by limiting domestic oil production.  High oil prices fuel our enemies in the middle east.  Make no mistake about it...islamic countries ARE OUR ENEMIES and $100 oil barrels FUND attacks on US interests.

Compared to "dirty coal" (not my characterization) fueled EVs, we COULD be driving high mileage diesel and domestically sourced gasoline fueled cars.

frahmr65
frahmr65

@TomAnderson How about on Tax Return Day, we think about where trillions of tax dollars have gone, and continue to go, to fight the wars in the middle east, just so that you and I can blissfully fill up with some gasoline that likely came from the grounds that we are so eagerly fighting on.  

Realize that there is no free lunch and that black barrel of crude oil, that you naively or intentionally choose to forget where it comes from, is mainly here because of our military presence in nations that do not like us, courtesy of the American Tax Payer.  

Josh
Josh

Holdeninpdx,

Your facts are about as accurate as Tuttle's (i.e. ignoring some basic realities). For a 2011 Leaf I paid $33,000 MINUS $12,500 in federal and state (CA) tax credits. That's $20,500, about half of the price tag you just mentioned.

Here's another fact... 95% of drivers never do more than 70 miles a day. Or if they do, it's a few times a year.

The Leaf is not a second car, it's your PRIMARY car for 98% of your daily trips. The second car is your not-often-used gas car.

The Leaf is not for spreadsheet guys who want to make this car equal to the cost of a Versa. It's for people who realize that we can't be reliant on foreign oil forever, nor can we pollute the planet indefinitely with 2 billion cars coughing out fumes.

Joe Nikiski
Joe Nikiski

 Holdenpdx

You should thank your parents and American taxpayers for your gas powered ICE.  Without government subsidies your gas would be twice the price and roads amp; highways would still only be suitable for horses.

The government uses your tax money for all kinds of things, not just EVs.

rickw4s
rickw4s

Actually I drive a Prius Plugin. 

At $4 per gallon, it costs me 8 cents per mile.

When I charge at home at night (at 10 cents per KWH), it costs me 3 cents per mile.

Keep in mind that electricity is domestically produced whereas oil is likely imported, some from the Middle East.

rickw4s
rickw4s

(B):  if the electricity is produced with coal, then Yes, I agree with you: it's worse for the environment than a standard hybrid.

(C): Look at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L...

The USA doesn't have enough oil reserves to supply our needs.  We can "drill, baby drill" but we will never be free of foreign oil.

ElpTique
ElpTique

@holdeninpdx Yaaaaaawwwnnnn, you are so 20th century. Pardon me, 19th. 2 years later, I saved $9000 in gasoline. The one that sank $40K in something is you, as the Leaf does costs $21-25K after incentives, which you pay for me, thank you very much.

At this rate the car will pay for itself in another 5 years, just like you bmw. By the way, I'll see at the light, in my back mirror.

TomAnderson
TomAnderson

@holdeninpdx I just bought a 3 series for my son.  When I was test driving them, the sales rep informed me that BMW does have a 5 series hybrid, but they can't sell them.  Reason? The new twin turbo 4 cylinder 528 is a blast to drive, is cheaper, has better acceleration than the hybrid 5 series.  Customers have brought out their calculators and done the math, and few if any ever pick the hybrid!

Now I could be smug like the Leaf drivers here and claim us BMW drivers understand things like ROI and running costs, and that we are generally better informed when making a decision, but that would be getting down on their level, right?

rickw4s
rickw4s

Sorry, but you say, "we can quote conflicting statistics all day", but then you didn't quote a single statistic.

I agree that we will develop more proven reserves over time.  But will my "dry in 5 years" figure become more than 50 years?  I don't think so.

Canada does have a lot of oil.  But Canadian oil is still imported.  Yes, it's not OPEC, but it's still imported.  If you look up statistics for US production and US consumption, you'll find that my figure of 50% imported is approximately correct.

Some me some statistics, please.

LynnLaumann
LynnLaumann

@holdeninpdx Gasoline is only affordable when government subsidies are taken into account.  Why do the most profitable companies in the history of the world need tax breaks?  Because the filthy emissions of their products lead to heart attacks, strokes, asthma and cancer? Bravo!

holdeninpdx
holdeninpdx

 Josh, Josh, Josh!  I live in Denver, not OC.  Having lived there, before, I know that long commutes are a way of life-- and in MANY other areas of the Country, too.  In OC, FOR INSTANCE, a trip up or down the 5 or 405 during rush hour could easily wipe out a Leaf long before one's destination is reached.  So many people work along the I-5 corridor, yet live in, FOR INSTANCE, Riverside County, meaning a 50-75 mile CRAWLING commute.

I shudder to digress into Romney's tax returns, other than to say the majority of his income is derived from investments on which he's already paid regular income tax.  Capital Gains tax is lower, specifically because it is a "double tax."

If you or I derive capital gains from a stock transaction, one on which we invested income which was subject to income tax ("after tax dollars"), we, too, are taxed 15%.

Complaining that Governor Romney ONLY paid 14% on his income is but half the story--and you're smart enough to know it.  In 2010, his total income was around $20, million (if only, huh?!?).  14% of that is roughly $2.8 million.  That is 2.8 million more than HALF of American households pay.

Romney takes advantage of the same tax code every other high income earner utilizes.  If he weren't you can bet the IRS would be ALL OVER him!  This whole issue is just a political canard which was (surprise, surprise) absent when John Kerry, who is FAR richer than Romney, ran for President.  In fact, the top eight to ten richest members of Congress--democrats--all have higher net worth than does Romney.  To see Harry Reid point fingers at Mitt Romney, when this CAREER POLITICIAN engages in questionable land deals and rakes in the dough, is laughable.

Back to oil...here's another link--even FactCheck.org, no bastion of conservative thought, can't discount claims that MUCH more oil exists inside our borders than is presently reported. 

http://www.factcheck.org/2009/...

You know good and well our reserves exceed 5 years.  Even 50 years worth of oil is a low estimate.  I have no doubt we'll discover alternate energy sources long before we run out of oil.  My point is, and has been all along, Obama's RUSH to PAY FOR inefficient and budget-busting "green" technology has become a huge factor in bankrupting America.  I was just as critical of President Bush's spending, which was also unconscionable.  Green technology is just as "porky" as any other brand of pork...and it HAS TO STOP!!!

Josh
Josh

 Orange County. Should have known. I'm sure you and your Versa will be very happy together. If you're outraged by government spending money to incentivize new technologies and jobs in America (check the new Leaf battery plant employing thousands in Tennessee), then you should check Romney's tax returns (the ones he's not afraid to release)... 15% tax rate for millionaires? Now THAT's reason for outrage over tax credits.

holdeninpdx
holdeninpdx

 Josh, WHO PAID those tax credits?!?  That's a rhetorical question because we all know who paid them...don't we?  The initial $33K you paid was the result of Nissan needing to DUMP the inventory of otherwise unsaleable Leafs...it's called, "factory incentives."

"Primary" or "secondary," EVs are only "affordable" when Government subsidies are taken into account.  The "reality" is, a well-equipped Versa ($12,500) allows an Orange County resident, who averages more that 15,000 miles per year,  a far more economical alternative to current EV technology.

Why should the 50% of Americans who pay income taxes be required to pay for YOUR EV?  Mr. Tuttle only erred by not further illustrating--and condemning--the "welfare" aspect of EVs.

holdeninpdx
holdeninpdx

Wiki:

"Proved reserves are those quantities of petroleum which, by analysis of

geological and engineering data, can be estimated with a high degree of

confidence to be commercially recoverable from a given date forward,

from known reservoirs and under current economic conditions."

Rick..."Proved oil reserves" figures are, as Wiki points out, are highly disputed in that they only count currently established oil reserves.  Obama brags that we're drilling more than ever before, which is the product of exploration approved by the previous administration.  NEW exploration is now confined to PRIVATE land--he's eschewing anything (off-shore, Anwar, PUBLIC LAND, etc.) quantifiable--and, instead, focusing on solar and wind nonsense.  If the entire State of Nevada were solar panels, not enough electricity would be produced to power Las Vegas!  Don't even get me started on windmills, which are a BLIGHT on the land, kill endangered birds and are a boon only for their manufacturers.

Oil is a fungible commodity and the market price is based on World supply and demand.  Stephen Chu articulated Obama's philosophy succinctly...higher gasoline prices are GOOD!  Yes, he later walked that back, but his Freudian slip made clear that only artificially high prices at the pump could justify this administration's goals.

Some estimates (I know, everybody has one) are that we have more unknown reserves than known...ignorance of additional reserves would be this administration's bliss.

B.)  I almost forgot about to mention that over 50% of our power is coal generated, hence, you made my point...