What is the first thing you want to do when you see a car that you like the look of? If you are anything like me, then you are going to want to drive it. Some of the auto manufacturers realize that consumers want to get a chance to try before they buy and most would prefer to do it in a low pressure, fun environment. The need for this type of experience increases ten fold when you introduce a new technology—like say an electric car. Nissan is right on the pulse of the consumer and immediately launched the Drive Electric Tour for the Nissan LEAF back in October of 2010. Now in the beginning of 2011, the Drive Electric Tour is starting to wind down.
If you haven’t seen the Leaf in your area yet, it might still be coming. The tour still has Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Maryland. This weekend the Nissan is actually in Dallas at the Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation Campus, so if you hurry you might be able to get your test drive this afternoon or tomorrow. How do you get to drive one on the tour? Check out their tour website and sign up. It is as easy as that! Now if you are thinking to yourself that you still haven’t seen the LEAF and it isn’t on the tour stop list, then what I might suggest is that you ask your local deal for a test-drive. I can tell you that the Rocky Mountain Region or most of the northern Central Region hasn’t seen the electric roll through. Why?
At a lot of this has to do with marketing; Nissan is targeting areas that show the most potential for sales of their new zero-emissions, all-electric vehicle. They are also choosing areas that have on going investments into the electric charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. Of course, that means California is on the top of that list. However, it might surprise you to learn that Houston also rates highly with a lot of investment being done into the cities electric car-charging infrastructure. However, as the adoption rate of the electric car increases, so will the availability in markets that currently don’t see a lot of activity.
Bottom line—the electric car is still trying to grab a hold of the automotive market, but we are closer to seeing these types of vehicles as normal vehicles than we have been since the Browning Electric. Make sure if the LEAF is in your area that you get a chance behind the wheel. It might just surprise you how normal it feels.