More LEAF jumpers than expected?

leaf-whiteeditors-blog-entry3U.S. News & World Report and Autoblog are reporting that Nissan has received 7,000 pre-orders for the all-electric LEAF in the U.S.

However, neither source indicates where this information comes from.

U.S. News & World Report is also reporting that Nissan may not necessarily use first-come, first-served as the criteria for determining who gets the first LEAFs in the U.S.

According to U.S. News & World Report, Nissan may screen buyers and turn away those who don’t seem right for the car. Reporting via information it acquired on Automotive News, U.S. News & World Report says Nissan is designing a multi-step process for those interested in a Leaf — as part of an attempt to ensure that the right people are the ones who first get to drive off with a LEAF.

The four steps are:

1. Reserve: Customer makes refundable $99 deposit, gives Nissan information about driving habits and home electrical system.

2. Home assessment: Electrician visits customer’s house to estimate cost of wiring it for charging system.

3. Charger installation: Customer is expected to pay about $1,100 to install vehicle charger.

4. Order: Customer works out vehicle options, trade-in, purchase price with a Nissan dealer.

Except for our location — Colorado, which is not among the mostly West Coast areas Nissan plans to focus on intially in terms of getting the LEAF into people’s driveways — we should be pretty well-positioned in terms of the other criteria, meaning we have a short commute, a personal garage, and we will soon have a home solar-system to charge it with!

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In fact, I’m not 100-percent sure I want one of the first LEAFs now that I have been educated about the difference between a 3.3 kW vs. 6.6 kW “onboard” charging system. The first LEAFs are slated to come with 3.3 kW “onboard” chargers. Basically, this means if you have a 50-amp, 240-volt charging station installed in your home it will take about eight hours to fully charge your LEAF. With a 6.6 kW “onboard” charging system, a full charge with the same 50-amp, 240-volt system would take about four hours.

That’s a significant difference, especially for me. Not so much because we can’t wait eight hours for our EV to charge, but because I have a feeling that I’m going to want to charge our EV as much as possible during the times that our solar system is actually producing electricity (I’ll write more about why this is so important to me, philosophically speaking, in future columns).

Of course, the biggest deciding factor in how quickly we do, or do not, get a LEAF might be how NIssan decides to approach meting out the early LEAFs.

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