Group purchases of cars and other goods, as a way of driving down the price, are common in other countries—think China—but rare in North America.
But over the last two years, they've emerged as a way for electric-car advocates to accomplish several goals at once.
Buyers both get better deals on their desired vehicles and boost the number of plug-in cars on the road in a dramatic fashion, with media coverage as a bonus.
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A group buy of Fiat 500e electric hatchbacks in the San Francisco Bay Area last year ultimately swelled to more than 100 buyers, lured in by low lease rates.
And two separate deals in Colorado late last year, organized by the South West Energy Efficiency Program, delivered dozens of Nissan Leafs for "effective prices" as low as $10,600 after discounts and state and federal incentives .
Now, a Quebec group has apparently found an astounding 2,800 buyers who say they are interested in purchasing 2016 Nissan Leaf electric cars.
Ottawa resident Ricardo Borba takes delivery of the first consumer Nissan LEAF in Canada
The purchase is the brainchild of Montreal resident Bruno Marcoux, whose personal Facebook page suggests he hopes to get to 3,000 indications of interest in the buy.
As is usually the case, a low price—roughly $12,000 in Canadian dollars in this case—proves to be the lure.
ALSO SEE: Colorado Group Deal On 2015 Nissan Leaf Electric Cars Cuts Price By $9,000 (Dec 2015)
Quebec accounts for a disproportionate number of the electric cars sold throughout Canada, and it has both inexpensive hydroelectric power and an aggressive climate-action plan that contains strong incentives for purchase of plug-in vehicles.
The 2016 Nissan Leaf is offered with two different ranges; the Leaf S has the earlier EPA-rated range of 84 miles, while the pricier SV and SE have a higher-capacity battery pack that delivers 107 miles of range.
Filling out an online survey, of course, requires considerably less commitment than does charging $1,000 to a credit card, as more than 350,000 people have done so far to reserve a Tesla Model 3.
2012 Nissan Leaf in the autumn outside Ottawa, Ontario, Canada [photo: Ricardo Borba]
But even if only 10 percent of the 2,788 enrollees as of yesterday end up buying Leafs, it would almost double Leaf sales in the country. Last month, Nissan sold 152 Leafs in all of Canada.
If significantly higher numbers of enrollees prove willing to write a check—1,000, say—North American Leaf sales overall could get a significant boost.
As of today, Nissan USA has 2,876 Leafs in inventory at its U.S. dealerships.
There doesn't appear to be an inventory search function on Nissan Canada's site, but given the relative sizes of the two car markets, we have to think it's a fraction of that number.
Stay tuned on this one; we'll be very curious to see how many Leafs end up being purchased.
[hat tip: Brian Henderson]