Electric vehicles Nissan Leaf gets its first U.S. sale

Nissan Motor Co. said Olivier Chalouhi, a 31-year-old entrepreneur living in the San Francisco Bay area, will take delivery of a black Nissan Leaf SL at North Bay Nissan of Petaluma today.

"Electricity is the new fuel for cars, and the Nissan Leaf has the potential to transform the automotive industry," said Carlos Tavares, Nissan’s top executive for the Nissan Americas region.

Other automakers lease electric cars or, like Tesla Motors Inc., sell expensive electric roadsters in small volumes. But Nissan is the first automaker to launch an affordable electric car with plans to sell substantial numbers.

In the early years of the auto industry, streets were filled with gas-powered and electric cars, but electrics fell by the wayside because their range was limited.

Now, advances in lithium ion batteries technology have led automakers to revisit electric vehicles.

The Leaf, which has a 73-mile range, starts at $32,780, before a $7,500 federal tax credit and state credits. Nissan is launching the car in a few states but will make it available nationally in 2012.

J.D. Power and Associates predicts U.S. electric car sales will hit 90,000 vehicles a year by 2015, compared with 145,000 plug-in hybrids, such as General Motors Co.’s extended-range electric Volt.

Power for the Nissan LEAF comes from a 107-hp electric-motor that runs on power supplied by lithium-ion cells. On a full-charge, the Nissan LEAF allows for a driving range of 100 miles with a top speed of 87 mph. A full charge takes up to 8 hours on a standard 200V outlet.

Buyers can opt for the DC 50kW quick-charger, which recharges the battery up to 80 percent in under 30 minutes. Prices for the 2011 Nissan LEAF will start at $32,780 but with a federal tax-credit prices will come in as low as $25,280, or for a lease payment of $349 a month.


North Bay Nissan of Petaluma to deliver 100% electric car on Saturday; Press conference to follow after procession to San Francisco City Hall

Tomorrow, Nissan North America Inc. (NNA) will make 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, will take delivery of his black Nissan LEAF SL at North Bay Nissan of Petaluma. The delivery will be 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.

The San Francisco Bay Area events kick 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 is donating $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.