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Nissan Delivers First Production Leaf

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On: Wed, Dec 15, 2010 at 10:56AM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Delivers First Production Leaf

The mass-produced electric vehicle era is officially underway! Nissan has delivered its very first Leaf to a customer in northern California, marking the completion of the sale of the very first mass-produced EV. The Nissan Leaf is now an official market reality.

Fittingly, the first Leaf was sold to a Silicon Valley entrepreneur named Olivier Chalouhi. The Leaf will replace Chalouhi's previous means of travel: a home-brewed electric bicycle. The car was delivered over this past weekend, and opens up Leaf deliveries in initial markets that include Arizona, Oregon, Tennessee and Seattle, in addition to California. Chalouhi was one of 20,000 initial consumers that reserved a Nissan Leaf.

Unlike many other buyers, Chalouhi wasn't frozen with range anxiety and was able to make his purchase with confidence. Of course, since the Leaf will be a secondary vehicle for his family (joining a gas-driven Honda Fit) and Chalouhi's daily driving falls within about 30 miles--well within the 100-mile range claimed by Nissan, as well as the 73-mile range as tested by the EPA--range won't be that big of a factor affecting his Leaf.

Chalouhi explained his decision to Inside Line: "I had very simple needs. I wanted a car that would be highway capable and which could handle two child seats, because I have two kids, and that would be electric. That's the only one on the market and it's going to be like that for some time."

On a related note, literally as I was in the middle of writing this article, I received an email from a GM PR rep indicating that the very first Volts left GM's Detroit Hamtramck plant yesterday and are on their way to dealerships in California, Texas, Washington D.C. and New York. GM expects to ship 160 Volts this week.

That seems like some 11th hour GM rallying to help counteract Nissan's news, but it's definitely newsworthy in it own right. GM was originally set to beat Nissan to the market with a late-November Volt launch, but will have to be content with following hot on the Leaf's heels.

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