The U.S. rollout of the 2011 Nissan Leaf has been a bit of a disaster with some would-be Leaf owners still waiting to find out when their local dealer will stock the all-electric car nearly a year after pre-reservations started.  

So how much would you pay to jump the queue completely and get an almost-new 2011 Nissan Leaf?

It had to happen. Last week, a black 2011 Nissan Leaf SL appeared on Internet auction site eBay, with an initial asking price of $55,000. After some interest from the owners over at, the starting price for the auction changed to $20,000 and it has steadily risen since and at the time of writing is currently standing at $30,110.

2011 Nissan Leaf

2011 Nissan Leaf

Real or Not?

Of course, just like everything you see on eBay there needs to be some due diligence done before you bid. 

After seeing the auction appear, some Leaf owners are suspicious that the car isn’t real, as some of the photographs used to advertise it come from Nissan’s own press corp and marketing surrounding the very first U.S. Nissan Leaf delivery last year. 

Double Checks Needed

Then again, the eBay Leaf does seem to have a valid Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) attached to the auction. With only 400 miles on the clock and a clear title, all seems good.

Although a history report is not available for the car from Experian, it may be that the car is too new to be listed on its system yet. Regardless, further investigation is needed to find the car’s true provenience, especially as the person listing it is using a brand new Leaf. 

Cashing in

Regardless of the above, there’s one thing that is very obvious. The seller is leveraging two things to make a sale: uncertainty and fear.

Ever since the devastating Japanese earthquake and tsunami two weeks ago the uncertainty about U.S. Leaf deliveries has caused some on the Leaf waiting list to worry that they won’t get their electric car for months rather than weeks. 

For those who haven’t even placed their $99 deposit down, the auction also offers an immediate way to get a 2011 Nissan Leaf without waiting. 

Provided you’ve got the cash of course. 

The First of Many

We’ve a suspicion is that this Leaf will be the first of many to be offered on Internet auction sites and for private sale as demand well and truly outstrips supply. 

Some buyers desperate to own a Leaf have even been approaching Leaf dealers and owners with open cheque books. 

Paul Scott Drives Nissan Leaf

Paul Scott Drives Nissan Leaf

EV advocate, Leaf salesman and owner Paul Scott reported that a month ago someone called him wanting to buy a Leaf. When the caller found out the dealership had only delivered 8 Leafs the mystery caller offered Paul $70,000 to hand over his own personal car.  Paul declined, saying $80,000 was as low as he’d go.

Money Speaks, Loudly

Is it fair? No. But as always, money speaks very loudly and no doubt some owners will decide to settling for the cash. 

After all, $70,000 would ensure anyone a place on the 2012 Tesla Model S waiting list, buy two new 2011 Nissan Leafs or a new Leaf and a photovoltaic solar array.

Would we part with more than the MSRP for a Leaf? No. After all, it is just a car. But then again, we’re not faced with a long wait to buy one. 

Would we sell? We have to admit a “free” upgrade to a larger, longer range electric car really would be tough to turn down, even if we had to wait a year. We know we’re not alone.

[eBay via]