Nissan has made a huge deal of its all-new, all-electric Nissan Leaf as the car of the future that’s here today, but the automaker has been aggravating potential customers with repeated delays of the delivery of the first 20,000 Leafs it has been promising for months. It now appears only about half of that number will actually be ready anytime soon.
Many customers have said the delivery date of their Leaf has changed multiple times and some have reportedly been dropped off the waiting list permanently without them even knowing. Nissan has reportedly been asking buyers who say they have been dropped off the list to reapply if proof isn’t available that the applicant has arranged installation of a home-charging unit, which cost more than $2,000 to purchase and install.
Anticipating a major demand for the vehicle, Nissan gave customers the option of being placed on a waiting list. The list is open to anyone for a $99 placeholder fee but so far orders can only be placed by those who live in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Washington. Nissan halted reservation requests after reaching 20,000 potential buyers. About 45 percent of the initial hand raisers opted not to continue with the process. Nissan began taking reservations again in May and has lined up another 1000 potential buyers.
Brendan Jones, manager of Leaf sales in the U.S., told Bloomberg that he expected Nissan would face some “challenges” while trying to fulfill orders placed on the Internet. Various technical issues and communication problems along with the tragic earthquake in Japan in March have all conspired to disrupt delivery of the vehicles.
The first Leafs started hitting Nissan showrooms last year in the U.S. and so far, some 2167 of the EVs have been through May of this year. GM’s rival Volt plug-in hybrid has sold 2184 over roughly the same period. Nissan and General Motors have been trading barbs recently over their prospective offerings, with Nissan taking a shot at the Volt in a recent commercial spot.
When the Leaf is finally ready, it will go out the door with a base price of $33,000 before potential federal and state tax credits which can be applied. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates the Leaf, which is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, can travel between 62 miles to more than 100 miles when fully charged.
On Nissan’s official U.S. website you can register to reserve you’re Leaf through “five simple steps.”
First you must reserve you Leaf, then you must schedule a home charging dock assessment which costs $100 and can be paid on the Nissan Web site. It’s not until step three that you can actually order the EV itself. Step four is where many drivers are not ready to make such a commitment and that is to have the home charging dock installed. Step five then allows the purchase of the car after everything has been installed. The second part of step five is the actual delivery of the car which is tripping up both Nissan and the customer.
Nissan hopes to sell hundreds of thousands of the EV hatchback over the next few years to make good on its $1 billion investment. It had better sort out its delivery issues soon if it has any hope of doing so.