Advertisement

Nissan, GM Are Right to Quiz Potential Electric-Car Buyers

Follow Nikki

nissan leaf ev 013

nissan leaf ev 013

Enlarge Photo

Nissan has been criticized by consumers and EV owners alike for the online questionnaire that accompanies the signup process for reserving a 2011 Nissan Leaf.

As part of the process, Nissan tries to ascertain if potential customers have a lifestyle compatible with the Leaf's range, recharging requirements and specifications.

While many advocates and industry professionals support Nissan's decision to question prospective owners before selling them a 2011 Leaf, some consumers complain that Nissan's questions are too personal--and possibly elitist.

Some EV enthusiasts have even cited the questionnaire as a giant conspiracy to keep EVs out of the hands of the general public. But all successful companies find out customers' needs and then try to sell them the right product--and have been for years.

When was the last time you purchased a consumer gadget in a store? Chances are, you were asked about your requirements by a clerk before you handed over your hard-earned cash, to make sure it fitted your needs.

What about a computer? Imagine buying your mother a new PC if she knew nothing but how to turn it on. A good store clerk would point out that you don't need the high end gaming PC when all ma needs is something to check her email on. Good consumer electronics shops make sure their customers get the products which best suits their needs.

Similarly, a Realtor will sit down with clients and go through a lengthy list of requirements before finding that perfect house. It's their job to find their clients the right home.

Prince Albert of Monaco and Mitsubishi iMiEV

Prince Albert of Monaco and Mitsubishi iMiEV

Enlarge Photo
So why should Nissan, Mitsubishi and General Motors get so much bad press when they want to tell consumers that they're not a good match for an EV? It's a sensible move.

GM are painfully aware that the 2011 Chevrolet Volt is its chance to make amends for the now famous crushing of their previous electric cars, the EV1 and the Chevrolet S10 pickup. The last thing GM needs is a buyer who isn't suited to the 2011 Volt complaining to the press because it doesn't meet their needs.

Even more critical, the first Nissan Leaf owners must be fully versed on the car. Nissan wants early adopters to understand the lack of charging infrastructure, know the charge time at 110V will be painfully slow compared to 240V, and understand the limitations of a car you can't just fill up instantaneously when it's empty.

Not fully vetting new owners would be tantamount to commercial suicide.

Dave Thomas in the Chevy Volt

Dave Thomas in the Chevy Volt

Enlarge Photo

By asking potential owners how far they drive in a day, where they park, what power points they have available, and what type of driving they do on reservation, Nissan avoids unhappy customers, potential litigation and bad press.

Not incidentally, Nissan also helps handpick the best ambassadors for EVs that it can: enthusiastic, well educated drivers who know how to get the very best out of their EV.

Advertisement
 
Follow Us

 

Have an opinion?

  • Posting indicates you have read this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
  • Notify me when there are more comments
Comments (12)
  1. It is too intrusive; as usual, the major companies are trying to discourage EV buyers. WHAT OTHER PRODUCT IS SOLD LIKE THIS?? You don't see GM warning people that the Hummer is too big for them, or that the Escalade is maybe more iron than they need!! Normally, it's "let the buyer beware", and the auto sales person takes the money and gives the car -- mistake or not!!
    But more generally, the VOLT-hoax IN NO WAY compensates for GM's IN-FAMOUS crushing of the EV1!
    For one thing, there's no VOLT-hoax so far, only promises.
    For another -- what's with this 40 miles range with 16 kWh of batteries weighing 400 lbs. and needing cooling?? Only 8 kWh available of the 16, so you pay for twice the battery you can use. GM is BOUND to lose money on each one, this is a STUPID configuration.
    400 lbs. of NiMH would have 12 kWh, ALL AVAILABLE FOR USE, over 60 miles range.
    Our 900 lbs. of NiMH in the Toyota RAV4-EV gives us over 100 miles range, one of our cars has over 100,000 miles. And the batteries can easily be melted down and reformed into new batteries, no new mining needed.
    GM remains a LIAR.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  2. Of course it's intended to lower the number of people who sign up. Nissan has indicated that they don't dare offer them for sale to the general public, because they are afraid they will be swamped with orders. You don't see this level of caution with other cars, because they are not limited.
    The way around Nissan's questions is just to tell them what they want to hear: only 30 mile commute, garage, upper-class white person, liberal, and so on. That way they just approve you.
    The difficult part is to avoid paying for installation of the stupid charger; we like to just use an outlet to charge our EVs, so this is just another con-job, and a way to extract another $2K from unwary potential customers. Honda did the same thing, to try to lower the demand for the HondaEV.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  3. The CHARGER is INCLUDED in the price of the Leaf!
    And it COULD cost $2000.00 to hire an electrician to get 220vac power to your garage from your main power panel.
    I don't know where this "The charger costs $2k" came from?
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  4. Nikki - you could not be more wrong. Doug has already elucidated the ONLY points that matter, namely that auto companies do not give a crap what you buy and the bigger the better!
    Personally, I hope some of the smaller companies offering EV's are wildly successful and that ultimately the big car co sales suffer as a result.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  5. Doug - Get a grip....Surveys are everywhere whither you like it or not. When I call Verizon they ask me to take a survey, I call Wells Fargo about my mortgage they ask me to take a survey…we go to Olive Garden for dinner and they have a link on the receipt that the host points out to us to go online take the survey and receive a discount off our next meal. The Nissan survey was not only for the Leaf but was also to put your name in the hat for a change to get the “quick charge” unit installed from EV project. I am sure they have strict requirements that they need to report to the government.
    By Get it right – Thank you…I see this BS rumor on numerous websites. This is just more Big Oil propaganda trying to discourage people from going with EV’s.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  6. Greg - Get a grip.....Surveys are everywhere whither you like it or not. When I call Verizon they ask me to take a survey, I call Wells Fargo about my mortgage they ask me to take a survey…we go to Olive Garden for dinner and they have a link on the receipt that the host points out to us to go online take the survey and receive a discount off our next meal. The Nissan survey was not only for the Leaf but was also to put your name in the hat for a change to get the “quick charge” unit installed from EV project. I am sure they have strict requirements that they need to report to the government.
    By Get it right – Thank you…I see this BS rumor on numerous websites. This is just more Big Oil propaganda trying to discourage people from going with EV’s.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  7. A question for Doug. When the Prius first came out (and I bought one), did anyone know how good the NiMH battery was? I didn't, I posted suggesting that it was a 100,000 mile car based on the warranty. Maybe the lithium batteries will surprise us too.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  8. The Nissan web site clearly states the charging station is going to cost about $2,200. They claim that there is a federal tax credit that will cover 50% (up to $2K). Nissan states that charging time with normal home 110v will be 20 hours.
    I know you guys like to bash big oil. However these guys also control a lot of mining interests. (Lithium & Nickle, etc.)
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  9. Wow. What a humdinger set of comments.
    I don't believe for one second that the car companies are still trying to deny people the chance to have EVs. Nissan are clearly wanting to move toward the EV market and are keen to make a good impression on the public.
    Nissan and GM have spent a lot of money developing new vehicles for launch this year. It's highly unlikely that an investment as large as this is part of some large conspiracy to restrict the number of EVs sold.
    With so much negative press still at large about EVs, car companies do need to be careful about who they sell cars to. Only one look at some of the range anxiety stories from mainstream press in the past few weeks is enough to know that EV companies are nervous of giving EVs to anyone likely to not understand the ins and outs of EV adoption.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  10. I put down the $99 reservation for the Leaf and did not find the overall process or detailed questions intrusive at all.
    There is no conspiracy. The mainstream automotive press pays little attention to EVs but they also ignored hybrids before the Prius came out. 2011 will prove there is a real market for the Leaf and other mass produced EV's.
    I own a 2002 Prius with 120K miles. It has the original battery pack and still gets 46mpg (I lose 3mpg since I run the A/C).
    There is a lack of educated consumers in today's global marketplace. The misinformation all over the internet make it hard to come to an informed decision. The demand for large SUVs slowed when people realized what they were actually buying. The rising price of gas was only a minor factor. Maybe some genius will invent a truth filter but until then we have Wikipedia!
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  11. I think the surveys are designed to weed out the 'kooks' like a couple of the posters above who are conspiracy theorists gone bad. Gimme a break, you guys are looking for a reason to get yourself worked up into a tizzy. I for one am skeptical that Nissan can find enough buyers willing to live with the limitations (range, lack of charging infrastructure, long charge times, etc.) I see the Volt model (extended range) as the more practical system.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  12. P.S. I own an '08 Prius w/about 25K miles on it... glad the dealer sales rep sat down and did a 30-45 minute intro to the car to explain the 'quirks' and how to operate various of the electronic systems. New technology will need some handholding to appeal to those outside of the techno-geek society.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

 

Have an opinion? Join the conversation!

Advertisement

Find Green Cars

Go!
Advertisement

Advertisement

 
© 2014 Green Car Reports. All Rights Reserved. Green Car Reports is published by High Gear Media. Send us feedback. Stock photography by izmo, Inc.