Nissan has been heavily promoting the all-electric Leaf for nearly 2 years now. So far, though, there are only 500 of these cars on the roads. That’s 500 deliveries against reservations of 20,000 orders. People like me paid a $20,000 deposit to get on the order list. I was supposed to have my Leaf last month, but I have no idea when it will show up.
Now we have word that Nissan expects to start shipping thousands of these cars as we move through the spring into summer. This is the start of a multi-automaker effort to sell all-electric rides.
I’m excited to get my Leaf and drive around without ever using a drop of gas. For me, it’s all about energy independence from foreign-oil interests. But all-electric vehicles are really just a sideshow for the average person. The main event for most motorists will be improvements in gas engine vehicles.
The traditional gas engine will change dramatically in the next few years because of technological breakthroughs in how the fuel fires in the cylinder. So with the same power, you’ll be getting much higher fuel economy.
Look at the advances over the last few years with makers racing to make vehicles they can headline as 40 miles per gallon on the highway. (Cars like these typically 26-30 mpg in-town). Even the SUV market is seeing improvements in fuel economy, all involving traditional gas engines.
If you really want to be a pioneer like me, the thing is it needs to come from the heart and not the head. The Leaf before tax credits is $33,000, almost twice as much as for an equivalent gas engine vehicle. You would have to live a long time to make up the savings in gas! But if you like it, Nissan is now reopening slots for reservations for future deliveries of the Leaf.