World’s First Nissan LEAF 100% Electric Car Delivered to Bay Area Customer

Source: SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 11, 2010 /PRNewswire/

Nissan North America made history today with the world’s first delivery of a Nissan LEAF all-electric vehicle. Olivier Chalouhi, a San Francisco Bay Area resident and the first person in the United States to place a Nissan LEAF order, took delivery of his black Nissan LEAF SL at North Bay Nissan of Petaluma. The delivery was followed by a press conference at San Francisco City Hall Plaza. This groundbreaking moment represents the first delivery of an affordable, mass-market, all-electric car since the first days of the automotive era.

Nissan LEAFChalouhi, a 31-year-old entrepreneur is the founder of Fanhattan, a venture-backed stealth start-up in the connected TV space, where he serves as chief technology officer. He currently lives in Redwood City, Calif., with his wife, Jana, and their two children and holds a master’s degree in computer science from the French Aeronautical and Space School. Before purchasing his Nissan LEAF, Chalouhi commuted to work on an electric bicycle.

“Electricity is the new fuel for cars, and the Nissan LEAF has the potential to transform the automotive industry and the way people drive,” said Carlos Tavares, Chairman, Nissan Americas. “Starting today, drivers have the freedom to choose a future that produces zero tailpipe emissions, moves away from our dependence on fossil fuels, and represents the end of trips to the gas station. This Nissan LEAF delivery is the first of thousands and signifies the dawn of a movement that brings sustainable mobility to within our grasp.”

The San Francisco Bay Area events kicked off more than a week of festivities, as Nissan delivers the first Nissan LEAF vehicles to each of its primary launch markets in Southern California, Arizona, Oregon, Seattle and Tennessee. Nissan also donated $25,000 to the World Wildlife Fund to mark the occasion.

“San Francisco is committed to make the Bay Area the top EV market in America, and the fact that San Francisco is the number one market in the nation for Nissan LEAF ownership reservations is proof we’re on our way,” said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. “We are proud that Bay Area resident is the very first owner of a LEAF, anywhere in the world. We congratulate Olivier Chalouhi and the thousands of other Bay Area residents who soon will be driving electric cars, leading the way to climate friendly transportation.”

The initial Nissan LEAF deliveries will be followed by a second shipment of Nissan LEAF electric cars scheduled to arrive on Dec. 20 and destined for consumer driveways in time for the holidays. Nissan is on track for a nationwide launch of the Nissan LEAF by 2012, with Hawaii and Texas next to roll out in early 2011. In order to fulfill interest and meet demand in initial launch markets, Nissan plans to reopen reservations in the first half of 2011 as well as shift timing of additional markets until the second half of 2011.

Editor’s Note:  If you are lucky enough to get your hands on a Nissan LEAF, it will qualify for white CA HOV decals.

Toyota Announces Plan to Sell New Plug-in Hybrid in US, Japan and Europe

Associated Press reported that Toyota has announced plans to sell a plug-in hybrid vehicle in the U.S., Japan and Europe in 2012.  The company is forecasting 50,000 vehicles a year at an approximate price of $36,000.
A 2012 rollout would coincide with the introduction of new HOV lane stickers in CA for a new class of plug-in hybrids.    The Toyota plug-in hybrid looks to be a direct competitor to Chevy’s Volt, but the Volt will have at least a year’s head start.
We’ll pass along more details when we get them.

Chevy Volt Won’t Get Carpool Lane Privileges Until 2012

As expected, the new Chevy Volt will not qualify for current HOV lane stickers, but should earn the privileges when new stickers are issued in 2012.

After recent tests, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has designated the Chevy Volt as an Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV).   That’s actually not any better than most new cars these days, and not even as good as the Toyota Camry Hybrid, Hyundai Sonata, Honda CR-Z and Honda Civic Hybrid, which are rated PZEV  (Partial-credit Zero-Emissions Vehicle).  Today’s carpool hybrids, the Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid are classified a notch better as “AT PZEV”, for Advanced Technology Partial-credit Zero-Emissions Vehicle.

Even though the Volt can go 25+ miles using only it’s electric engine, it still has a gasoline engine onboard, and CARB’s tests only consider the emissions from the gas engine.  This type of testing clearly does not consider the benefits of a plug-in hybrid, and new testing methodology will have to be developed.

It’s likely that by 2012, the Volt will qualify for the new class of “Enhanced” AT PZEV vehicles and earn the right to get one of 40,000 new HOV lane stickers that will be issued for the new class that will include plug-in hybrids.

Meanwhile, the Nissan Leaf will qualify for current white HOV lane stickers, because it is considered a ZEV (zero emission vehicle).   There won’t be a shortage of white decals, but demand for the Leaf is expected to exceed supply when it first comes out.

« Previous PageNext Page »