Print 21 comment(s) - last by peter7921.. on Oct 12 at 3:06 PM

Nissan may offer free rental vehicle services to LEAF purchasers.  (Source: Nissan)
Out-of-range trips could merit a free rental, but no word on whether environmental conditions could also merit one

Nissan is either bold or crazy.  They are launching their 2011 LEAF EV with only air-cooling and electrical heating of the critical battery pack.  While inferior to the liquid cooling of the 2011 Chevy Volt or the 2012 Ford Focus EV, the resulting system will be much cheaper than a liquid cooled system, hence the LEAF's bargain price of $32,780 USD (before $7,500 tax credit).

Nissan is also bold or crazy with the basic design premise itself.  It will be the first mainstream battery electric vehicle (BEV), which means that when the battery runs out of charge at around the 100 mile mark, the vehicle will die.

For single-vehicle customers who are interested in the LEAF, Nissan North America spokeswoman Katherine Zachary told 
4WheelsNews that the company is considering an unusual solution -- free rental vehicles for long trips.  

She said that the solution would primarily apply to customers outside the U.S., as most U.S. customers are expected to have a second traditional ICE or hybrid vehicle.  Whether that means that U.S. customers would not get this perk was unclear.

One of the LEAF's key markets is Nissan's home nation of Japan.  Japanese workers tend to have shorter commutes, but also tend to have only one family car.  Free rental cars could sweeten the deal for Japanese buyers and boost customer satisfaction.

Another unknown, though, is whether Nissan might consider a similar solution for North American customers whose vehicles are challenged seasonally by weather.  In cold climates like Michigan or Minnesota, there's a strong possibility that the LEAF may have trouble driving in the cold of winter.  Likewise, it may have problems running in hot summer months in warm states like Arizona or New Mexico.

If Nissan indeed offers free rental vehicles, that would be a somewhat ironic juxtaposition with rental company Enterprise's recent announcement that it would purchase 500 LEAF EVs for its fleet.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has already been sure to state that the LEAF did not meet all drivers' needs.  Will Nissan step up to the plate and offer its buyers solutions to meet those unfulfilled needs?  And will it offer free rentals for its rentals?  The answers to those questions remain to be seen.

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RE: Needs range extender
By bissimo on 10/11/2010 6:14:20 PM , Rating: 5
I seriously don't get why this is such an issue for people. This thing is not meant to be a replacement for every person's car. It is meant to be a niche commuter car for families that also have one long-range, large ICE vehicle. If you only have one car, this is probably not for you. End of story. Get a Fit or Fiesta or something.

For someone who drives 25 miles to work every day and has a large vehicle for long trips, this thing sounds awesome.

RE: Needs range extender
By dubldwn on 10/11/2010 6:25:25 PM , Rating: 2
Because there’s so much ambiguity in range, especially from temperature. Nissan says, “between 47 and 138 miles,” meaning your 50-mile round trip might come up 3 miles short. This way you could flip a switch and read DailyTech on your phone for an hour instead of calling the tow truck.

RE: Needs range extender
By Flunk on 10/11/10, Rating: 0
RE: Needs range extender
By dubldwn on 10/11/2010 6:30:00 PM , Rating: 2
Because finding a gas station is easy. How could that surprise you?

RE: Needs range extender
By Omega215D on 10/11/2010 6:40:07 PM , Rating: 3
Not only that but you're done filling up in a matter of minutes and be on your way.

RE: Needs range extender
By Shadowmaster625 on 10/12/2010 11:18:33 AM , Rating: 3
Are you saying it is not easy to find a 115VAC outlet? I would argue they are easier to find than a gas station.

These batteries dont just die instantly. I'm sure you can feel the thing losing power slowly, so you have an opportunity to stop somewhere and charge up before it is actually completely empty.

RE: Needs range extender
By dubldwn on 10/12/2010 11:33:37 AM , Rating: 1
Are you saying it is not easy to find a 115VAC outlet?


Haha uh, yes. Yes, it’s very difficult. What city do you live in where you can go, “Oh, there’s an electrical outlet around the corner?” You have to go home. Or maybe a friends house.

You guys have heard of range anxiety, right? That phenomenon doesn’t exist with conventional cars, or EV cars with range extenders, because there’s gas stations all over the place, not 115VAC outlets.

RE: Needs range extender
By Alexvrb on 10/11/2010 8:17:37 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah but if it's really hot and I get stuck in traffic with a gas car (or even any sort of hybrid), running the A/C on full bore oh noes my MPG dips. If you get caught in a similar situation with the Leaf - you might want to consider turning the A/C off. After all, the aircooled battery might not be performing so well in the heat and the stop and go traffic. Wouldn't want to run out of juice prematurely!

RE: Needs range extender
By FITCamaro on 10/12/2010 10:51:38 AM , Rating: 2
Unless you are insanely short on gas, you're not going to run out in traffic. And then its your fault for not filling up on a reasonable schedule.

You expect a car to be able to go to work and back off a full tank/charge. With the Leaf, that may not happen. And if it doesn't, you have to get it towed home vs getting some gas, putting it in the tank, driving to a station, filling up, and going home.

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