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The Leaf is Gone: Nissan "Sells" Out Its First-Year Allotment

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On: Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 4:37PM | By: Chris Weiss

The Leaf is Gone: Nissan "Sells" Out Its First-Year Allotment

Nissan announced today that it has reserved its entire 2010 U.S. goal of 20,000 Leaf electric vehicles. In other words, it's closing the reservation books until 2011, three months ahead of its intended schedule.

Of course, Nissan's numbers are to be taken with a grain of salt. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn actually told the press that the Leaf sold out all the way back in May. Then suddenly there were four months worth of unfilled reservations. And before today, things seemed to be plodding along for Nissan and it wasn't clear if it would even reach its 20,000 goal by year-end. So the fact that it suddenly reserved all its Leafs (Leaves?) three months ahead of the first delivery in December seems a little too convenient. But only the company knows for sure.

On the other hand, since Nissan actually shut down its reservation system, it would appear that it's content with the Leafs that it's reserved. Nissan will reopen the books next year after current reservations are processed and deliveries to launch markets are well underway.

Nissan released some information about its initial Leaf sales back in late July. At the time it had reserved about 17,000 cars, and said that 30 percent of those were blue and 26 percent were silver. Three-quarters of the reserved Leaf models were of the SL trim.

Nissan's 20,000 Leafs relate to vehicles reserved and not vehicles sold. Reservation requires a mere $100 fee, which is fully refundable if one should decide that the Leaf isn't the right choice after all. In other words, just because it's made 20,000 reservations doesn't mean there will be 20,000 Leafs driving around on U.S. streets next year. Actual sales don't get started until later this year, with a gradual roll-out beginning in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and Tennessee.

The Leaf has a base price of around $33,000. It uses an all-electric drivetrain powered by an 80 kW motor that delivers a range of up to 100 miles. The 24 kWh lithium-ion battery used in the Leaf will get the same eight-year/100,000-mile warranty as the Chevy Volt's battery.

On October 1, Nissan will take the Leaf on the "Drive Electric Tour," allowing people in launch markets to test drive the car for the first time. The tour begins in Santa Monica, CA and travels to select markets into March.

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