Best-Selling Nissan In Portland: Leaf Electric Car--Due To Electric Highway?

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2013 Nissan Leaf at Nissan U.S. Headquarters, Franklin, Tennessee

2013 Nissan Leaf at Nissan U.S. Headquarters, Franklin, Tennessee

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We've already asked whether the Tesla Model S sells more units than the equivalent BMW, Audi or Mercedes--and now Nissan is outselling regular vehicles with its Leaf.

Not Corollas or Ford Focus countrywide, of course--but apparently every other Nissan vehicle in March, in Portland, Oregon.

With Jukes, Sentras, Versas and other affordable vehicles available from Nissan, that's quite an achievement for the Leaf. Could it be down to Oregon's 'West Coast Electric Highway?'

Oregon is certainly well-suited for electric car use. According to Sustainable Business Oregon, the state has 27 fast-chargers available for electric car owners, with three more coming online in the next few weeks and another 13 over the next year.

The state has the most charging stations per capita of anywhere in the country, with around 800 total charging stations. That's more than enough for the state's 2,500 registered electric vehicles, and it's good for the economy too. Oregon's electric vehicle industry is responsible for more than 1,600 jobs, over $260 million in economic activity and over $22 million annually in federal taxes.

Oregon's grid is also clean enough to make electric cars a truly green proposition, offering up to 70 percent lower emissions than running a regular gasoline vehicle.

Then there's that West Coast Electric Highway.

Oregon sits right in the middle of the Highway's route, which features a string of charging stations from Washington down to California.

Eventually, it'll let electric car drivers travel from as far north as the Canadian border, down to the Mexican border in the south. Charging stations every 25 to 50 miles provide multiple recharging opportunities, easily covering the 100 miles or so range of most current electric vehicles.

Of course, we don't expect the Leaf to outsell other Nissan vehicles in Portland every month. And in the greater scheme of things, Leaf sales are still relatively low (even if they've increased recently with U.S. production starting).

But we wouldn't be surprised to see it happen more often--as Oregon is fast proving itself to be one of the best places in the country to run an electric vehicle.

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