leaf-30-us-stateseditors-blog-entry3Nissan recently touted the fact that its all-electric LEAF is now available for order in 30 states in the U.S.

That’s great news. That means a large percentage of Americans now have the ability to order, and buy, an all-electric car, an option about 10,000 of them, and counting, have exercised so far.

It also means people in 20 states still can’t order a LEAF. And, given how long we in Colorado had to wait before we were able to order a LEAF – until October 2011, or about 1 ½ years after many of us Coloradoans reserved a LEAF – I feel for you in those 20 remaining LEAF-less states.

Nissan does say the LEAF will be available throughout the U.S. in 2012.

Middle of country still LEAF-less
It’s interesting to look at the map above and to note where the LEAF isn’t available yet. The vast majority of those states are: a) located in the middle of the U.S.; b) cold weather states.

It’s also interesting to note that Colorado – again, where we are – sticks out as somewhat of an exception. It’s in the middle of the country and it’s clearly a state with plenty of cold weather winter.

Sigh … if only we were actually among those in Colorado about to get delivery of a LEAF. I just saw someone from Colorado post to the Nissan LEAF Facebook page who said he’ll be getting delivery of his LEAF on Dec. 26, the day after Christmas. Nice X-Mas gift, eh?

As I wrote about six weeks ago, life circumstances suddenly changed for us at exactly the time the LEAF first became available for order in Colorado back in October. I had thought I would be going to Europe for a year to work in 2014. Now, it appears we may be going to Europe as early as next year.

leaf-solar-rev-smallWhy we can’t get LEAF now
As badly as I want a solar-charged EV, obviously, if we’re not even going to be in the U.S. next year or, possibly, the year after that, now is not a time to be taking on payments for a new car.

Of course, I’ve long dreamed about being among the first in Colorado to go PV + EV (there are a few Coloradoans already doing this, but not very many). And, we’re sitting on 30,000 miles worth of banked/extra kWh amassed by our 5.59 kW home solar system over the last 1 ½ years, which makes me even more “itchy” to get an EV.

I’ve actually been trying to figure out a creative way to address the problem of sitting on new car payments while we’re in Europe for a year.

Simply making the payments for that EV while it collects mothballs in our garage for a year isn’t an option – we can’t afford to do this. If we could, chances are we’d be of the income level where we could afford a Tesla Model S, which I’d take over a LEAF any day 😉

Even if we could afford to pay for an EV we wouldn’t be using for a year, it wouldn’t be a good use of money to shell out $5,000 for a car that’s sitting thousands of miles away and stowed in a garage for 12 months doing absolutely nothing.

Sharing a LEAF lease?
I’ve actually thought about approaching my brother, who lives in Boulder, Colo., to see if he’d be willing to take over the payments of a LEAF we bought and, of course, drive it, for the year we’d possibly be living, and working, in Europe. Haven’t done this though, because it feels a bit awkward.

I’ve also thought about buying a LEAF, then selling it before we go to Europe – but we’d take a huge loss on that car, at least I’m guessing we would.

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I’ve also wondered if there’s any possibility of a one-year LEAF lease, rather than a three-year lease, though I don’t think there is (anyone out there know?)

So, basically, it’s looking like we won’t be able to add an EV to our home solar PV for probably another two years.

In the meantime, I’ll try to focus more on the bigger picture: Soon, they’ll be hundreds, if not thousands of LEAFs zipping around the Greater Denver area, including more than a few that’ll be solar-charged.

Of course, as much as I want to be excited about this – and I am – the truth is that I’d be a lot more excited if I knew I was going to be one them.

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