Nissan to Begin Taking U.S. Orders for LEAF EV in Spring 2010, Says 22,000 People Contacted the firm Since August

In what could be a good marketing lesson for GM and its much touted Chevy Volt that has been making the media rounds for the past two years but won't be available for another year or so, Nissan has revealed that it will begin taking orders in the U.S. for is all-electric LEAF compact hatch in Spring 2010 with first deliveries expected later in the year. The announcement comes only two months after the official presentation of the dedicated plug-in EV model at a special event Nissan's Japanese headquarters in Yokohama in the beginning of August.

Nissan said that up until now, near 22,000 people in North America have contacted the brand for details on the zero-emission electric car.

According to Japanese automaker, about 70 percent of those that came in contact with the company reside in markets where the all-electric zero-emission car first will be brought to market. Almost half reported that they want to obtain the LEAF as soon as it goes on sale, and another 45 percent showed an interest in owning an electric vehicle within the next two to three years.

"The groundswell of interest, especially from people in our initial launch markets, demonstrates to us the importance of a reservation system," said Carlos Tavares, head of Nissan's operations in North, Central and South America. "Our goal is to confirm at least 20,000 reservations for Nissan LEAF by the time we deliver the world's first mass-market zero-emission car in late 2010."

Nissan said that U.S. consumers will get the chance to see the LEAF up close starting in November, when it will be on tour throughout the major launch markets in the States. The tour will begin in Los Angeles at a special event.

About the same size as the Tiida, the LEAF is based on a new platform and it is equipped with an electric drivetrain that comprises of a 107HP electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack that can be charged through any home outlet providing a driving range of 100 miles (160km).

Initially, the North American market LEAF will be imported from Japan starting in late 2010, however, Nissan said that beginning in late 2012, it will manufacture the EV and its lithium-ion battery at the company's plant in Smyrna, Tennessee.