2011 Nissan Leaf ordering processEnlarge Photo
When the 2011 Nissan Leaf goes on sale later this year, a lucky handful of buyers in eight areas around the country will be among the first to own and drive the first mass-market electric car sold by an automaker in the modern era.
I'm hoping I'll be one of them. As of a few moments ago, I'm in the queue to own a 2011 Nissan Leaf.
About two weeks ago, I decided to join the electric-car era and sign up to buy a 2011 Leaf--not because of any political leanings, or great concern for the environment. I'm a gadget freak, and what better gadget to complement my army of rechargeable devices, than a rechargeable car?
The economics seem to make sense, too. After a hefty $7500 federal tax credit, the Leaf's base price sits right around $25,000. Even better, my home state of Georgia is one of two places (California as well) that will offer more incentives: here, it's an additional $5000 tax credit for buying the electric Leaf, plus a $2200 credit for small businesses installing the required charging system. I could end up owning a Leaf for less than $20,000 net.
But first, I have to claw my way to the front of the line, and that process started with a $99 reservation made today via Nissan's Web site. In my experience--filling out the forms online while flying home from a press event--Nissan is making it easy to sign up for the Leaf.
When I raised my hand for the Leaf via the Nissan site, I got an account and a chance to make the reservation--the login's the wristband that gets you the best concert seats, I guess. On Sunday, via email, Nissan told us Leafheads it would open reservations today.
Originally, Nissan had planned reservations for 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time today. At about 5 p.m., I still hadn't received my email, though--so I turned to their Twitter feed, @Nissan EVs, for more information. At about 5 p.m., @NissanEVs announced the reservations window would be held open until 9 p.m. due to strong interest. Finally, I received the email invitation above at 7:37 p.m.