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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only sold in progressive cities in the US
By VultureTX on 10/11/2010 6:36:11 PM , Rating: 3
seriously niche and not a usual commuter car for cities like Minneapolis/Columbus/Buffalo where the 2nd commuter car is something you don't mind getting trashed by winter road sludge. Here in Austin the electric cars the city favored are only driven by college students and govt officials trying to look green. Even the progressives tend to try them once and then go back to their stylish ride.

Did someone bother to come up with a trailer extender for these batt-pack vehicles? You know a diesel electric generator on a small form trailer inside a aero wind shell (to hide the ugly combustion device) with a cable to the car.

By Spuke on 10/11/2010 9:05:50 PM , Rating: 1
Just need a Hatz diesel engine, a couple of 300A alternators, and some 500 kcmil cables.

By peter7921 on 10/12/2010 3:06:49 PM , Rating: 2
College students can afford cars like these? Man i wish i had that kind of many when i was going to school.

Either way hopefully many many suckers can buy these first generation Electric vehicles, so they can test them thoroughly and drive up demand.

That way in 10-15 years i can buy myself a 4th or 5th generation version with over 300-400 km ranges and that can handle any type of weather.

Oh and hopefully battery switching stations will be common place by then.

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