Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Information Part One

Although LEAF sales have picked up a bit; most of that increase can likely be attributed to very sweet lease deals. In some cases, the savings on fuel on the switch from gas to electric, is covering most of the monthly lease payment.

But despite all the wins for EVs the numbers are just not where Nissan wants them to be. The concern over the unknowns of EVs are still blocking many people from taking that last step in the buying process.

Whenever possible,  I help man booths at various local fairs, show, etc.,  to help promote and display EVs so I get a chance to talk with prospective buyers and their concerns are based on questions that no one really has answers to and that is "how much is the battery?" and that is a valid concern. Batteries are something we are all familiar with in one way or another and that  is a usually when the battery is low, dead or needs to be replaced. But that price from Nissan is unavailable.

The next question is "how long will the batteries last?"  Another answer that is not really available either.

This is where Nissan needs to step along with other EV manufacturers. What we currently get is a very general guideline of "20% loss in 5 years" and a 3 page disclaimer.  It is becoming pretty well known with current LEAF drivers that depending more on the climate where you live than anything else, you could be much worse than 20% or significantly better.

Now, leasing is one way many have chosen to answer the battery longevity question and that is by simply ignoring the question. The LEAF has been out long enough now where most can get a vague idea on whether the batteries will provide the range needed for the now available short duration leases as little as 2 years long.  That is great because it does expose more people to EVs but what will happen in 2 years when there is a flood of previously leased LEAFs on the used vehicle market?

I think Nissan should provide a detailed battery health report that provides the numbers for people who can understand them or wants them along with a short term capacity warranty. I think no less than a year is applicable. This stops unscrupulous used car dealers from selling someone a LEAF with used batteries after they claimed they were replaced.

The other thing I see happening (pure speculation here!) is a new industry within the auto industry where Leased vehicles will be staying in house instead of running thru the normal used car auction route.  The reason?  EVs change the game.  The normal drawbacks of used vehicles still apply to an EV but to a much lesser extent.  Put a new battery pack (or one rebuilt to new capacity specs) and you essentially have most of a new car. Its not like your electric motor rated at hundreds of thousands of hours is on its last legs but more importantly; an EV has about 500 LESS parts to wear out in the first place!

More on information later. Remember too much of anything aint always a good thing!

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