Yesterday my LEAF celebrated its 2nd Birthday and my present? A trip to Yokohama courtesy of Nissan!
As part of a marketing focus group led by Chelsea Sexton, a group of us will discuss with Nissan what needs to be done to encourage sales. The 2013 MY does go a long way towards that end but there is still a question of getting the right message out to the public.
The 2013 does address better instrumentation, more options and price points, (instead of two loaded packages) and HVAC enhancements.
Nissan has also announced plans to install several fast charge stations in dealerships and claim great progress in this within 60 days, a very ambitious statement!
But there are still key issues concerning both attracting new owners and supporting current owners which is just as important since the LEAF, being new technology will still generate most of its sales thru word of mouth advertising and unhappy current owners will not help.
I posted several queries and a partial list of concerns for current owners;
Enhancements to Current/Future LEAFs
change/set default center screen
allow permanent "accept" of privacy for Carwings
reduce steps to make calls
more voice control for calls, NAV, etc.
More HVAC controls ("air only" mode)
multiple charge timers/ SOC setttings (remove ability to set conflicting times)
Google maps/ touch repositioning of maps/ POI's sortable by distance
Filter charger list (free, L1/L2, etc)
multiple voltage EVSE
Plug adapter kit
2nd 12 volt power port
120 VAC power port
automatic BT switching with multiple linked profiles with Primary setting
Better instrumentation (SOC meter added to 2013)with multiple ways to determine remaining range
fixed accelerator response
more powerful windows motor?
12 volt battery management
manual access in case of 12 volt battery failure/exterior hood release
Convenient Eco shifting (why have to shift twice?)
adjustable Regen (addressed for 2013, Thank you Nissan!)
This is very much a partial list and I will be part of a very capable and motivated team but if anyone sees something missing here, please suggest it.
Now the primary goal of this is how to sell more LEAFs and some ways to do that is to eliminate two big obstacles.
One is the preconceived notion of the word "Battery." We all have experience with batteries and I fear that many people will associate LEAF reliability with their general experience with batteries, cellphones, etc. We have all had our cellphone die at the worst of times or simply forgot to plug them in. Emphasis on how this is addressed is critical.
The other thing is cost. Nissan did reduce prices primarily by adding more options and reducing the base price along with adding an entry level model (should be a big hit with fleet managers!)
Finally the 3rd thing; Security. People need to be able to do a TCO "pencil it out" on their own terms. Being able to plan for that "big ticket" item is a must for many. Battery replacement costs, Nissan support, Degradation, Range, etc. all needs to be clear. Granted, pricing of things change over time and battery costs should only go down for now but right now there is not even a process in place.
real people experiences in commercials
Retrench Dealerships/Sales. Not enough local knowledge to sell LEAF effectively
Display Range Chart next to EPA sticker
Fun to drive! Quiet, no shifting/lurching (drink coffee with no spillage!)
Costs for TMS, Battery replacement, Different Capacities, etc to provide ability for long term planning by owners
Time is money. Driving a LEAF saves money.
A commercial bouncing around in my head. Two drivers both near empty and near home. One driving gas car, another driving LEAF.
Get a call from SO (significant other) "Honey, make sure I have enough gas/range for my trip tomorrow"
Timer starts. Gas driver pulls into gas station while LEAF driver pulls into garage. LEAFer plugs in, goes inside house to sit down. Timer on LEAFer stops. Gas driver looks at line at the pump, while LEAF driver looks at daily mail.
Tagline; When is your "free time" really free?