Dear Santa Nissan,
Christmas 2009 is almost here.
We know we can’t get a Nissan LEAF for Christmas until next year.
But we do have one important Christmas wish we’d like to let you know about this year so that, hopefully, Christmas can be more satisfying for us all next year.
We’ve heard you will probably be leasing the lithium-ion battery pack that will power the LEAF.
In the end, that’s your choice.
However, we ask that you consider the following before making it official:
- Surveying prospective LEAF buyers to see what we actually think about a battery lease. (We haven’t heard about you doing this).
- Today’s consumers expect to be able to customize their buying experience. They don’t want, and won’t settle for, a one-size-fits-all approach. In fact, as today’s savviest companies know, you don’t need a survey to establish this basic truth. Of course, a survey could give you a better idea of the specific desires, wants and needs of your prospective consumer base.
- Because a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work – basically, because we, the consumers, don’t want it — please don’t force one-size-fits all on us. Give us choices. Ideally, the choices we want.
- Please ask us what we want so that you can create a sales approach which will work for us (and for you) and which will adequately and fairly take into account our different expectations about car-buying, car use and car-driving.
- Some consumers like car leases. They want to drive a new model every few years and they don’t mind paying a monthly car payment every month from now until eternity. This group most likely won’t mind a battery lease.
- On the other hand, some consumers would never lease a car. They don’t like – detest might not be too strong a statement in some cases – the idea of an endless monthly car payment. They want to be able to pay off a car as soon as possible, in some cases, with cash up front. To them, a car lease feels like a ball and chain. A battery lease will seem like a ball and chain to these consumers too. No doubt, many of these consumers won’t buy a LEAF if you link its sale to a one-size-fits-all battery lease. They’ll wait for another auto maker to produce an EV without the same battery ball and chain.
- You might be willing to give up prospective LEAF buyers to other auto makers who don’t package their EV with a battery lease. Maybe you’ve crunched the prospective numbers and you think you’ll hook enough people with a lower total car price, sell more EVs, and make more money in the long run. Maybe you’re worried about how valuable lithium-ion batteries could be on the re-sale market (see this blog entry by Plug In America’s Paul Scott for more on this angle), or maybe you’re concerned about the basic integrity and longevity of the lithium-ion battery pack itself – you don’t want to disappoint or frustrate consumers if the battery packs fail after only a few years of driving. Maybe you’ve considered all of these issues – and quite a few more. We understand you need to balance different factors when creating a plan to sell, market, and deliver the LEAF. This Christmas, we’re just asking that you focus on what we think is the most important factor of all – at least if you want to sell cars, satisfy consumers, and generate more consumers by satisfying the early waves of LEAF consumers: Choice.
- Here are a few specific ideas for our Christmas 2009 Nissan LEAF wish list, all premised on the basic idea that the best Santa Clauses companies offer the most choices possible:
- Let those of us who want to, buy the car and the battery.
- For those of us who have reservations about, say, the total upfront costs of a car+battery package, or who are concerned about battery life and/or battery technology improving and leap-frogging the early batteries practically overnight, give us the option to buy the LEAF at a lower upfront cost plus a monthly battery lease package – if we want to.
- Give us different battery leasing choices. For instance, how about an option to lease the battery at a certain cost over 10 years, or at a higher cost over five years – with several different ways to end the lease. For example, how about giving customers the option to: a) lease a new battery at the five- or 10-year mark OR giving them the option of buying the second battery outright?
- What about a pro-rating system? LEAF buyers could lease the battery for a while, then have the option to sell the battery back to Nissan on a pro-rated basis. Buyers could then replace the original battery-pack with another leased battery pack or a new battery-pack they purchase outright.
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Because a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work – basically, because we, the consumers, don’t want it — please don’t force one-size-fits all on us. Give us choices. Ideally, the choices we want.
We know you can’t give us everything we want for Christmas.
But we’re hoping you’ll listen to us. After all, last time we checked, Santa doesn’t decide what we want for Christmas – unless, we’ve been bad, and, rest assured, we’ve all been very, very good this year — we get to decide what we would like for Christmas.
So, in sum, Santa Nissan, please ask us what kind of LEAF battery packages we’d like for Christmas 2010 – and, of course, during the rest of the year as well.
The World’s Prospective LEAF Buyers
P.S. – Please add your own wishes to our Nissan LEAF battery-pack wish list by posting them using the “Add New Comment” function below. Thank you – and Happy Holidays! Or discuss and debate this issue in more detail in our forum — http://tinyurl.com/yzcpf2p
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