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Three Years With The First Nissan Leaf Electric Car Sold In The U.S.


Can love for an electric car stand the test of time?

Olivier Chalouhi was the first person in the U.S. to take delivery of a 2011 Nissan Leaf, way back in December 2010.

Now that he's had his black Leaf SL for nearly three years, does it still tug at his heartstrings?

"The car is holding... really well," Chalouhi said in a video interview with Nissan.

In the three years he's had the plug-in Leaf, Chalouhi said he'd found new things to appreciate about the car.

He chose the Leaf over the Chevrolet Volt because he felt the Leaf's all-electric powertrain was better for the environment.

Three years later, Chalouhi says his favorite thing about the car is the way it drives; the fact that it's good for the environment is an added benefit.

First 2011 Nissan Leaf delivered to buyer, San Francisco, Dec 2010, photo by Eugene Lee

First 2011 Nissan Leaf delivered to buyer, San Francisco, Dec 2010, photo by Eugene Lee

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Now with three children, he's also found that the Leaf makes a pretty good family car.

"You can put three kids in the car... no problem," he said, "which is great."

Chalouhi said he drives less than 50 miles a day, and has driven nearly 30,000 miles since December 2010.

When he first got the Leaf, he expected that it would be his primary car--but that his wife would keep a second gasoline car for use on longer trips.

Now, the Chalouhis use the Leaf for those trips as well, planning their route in advance to make sure they're always in reach of quick-charging stations to lengthen the car's range of 73 miles.

The fast-charging station network has expanded considerably over the past three years, making an electric car road trip much easier. Nissan itself is working to triple the number of quick-charging stations that use the CHAdeMO standard necessary for the Leaf.

There are now also more Leafs on the road.

In December 2010, Chalouhi was the earliest of early adopters; since then, Nissan has sold more than 35,000 Leaf plug-in cars in the United States.

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