By on June 13, 2011

Bloomberg’s running a lede that’s sure to ruffle a few feathers at Nissan’s communication and customer service organizations this morning: “Nissan Motor Co. is aggravating the customers it needs most.” How so? According to the report

Nissan, which wants to become the top seller of electric cars, repeatedly delayed deliveries to some U.S. buyers who reserved the first 20,000 Leaf plug-in hatchbacks, according to interviews with customers. They said Nissan unexpectedly dropped some from the waiting list temporarily, asking that they reapply if they couldn’t prove they’d arranged installation of home- charging units that can cost more than $2,000.

Nissan has long admitted that the Leaf rollout would be a challenge, and the recent tsunami-related chaos in Japan hasn’t helped. But Bloomberg doesn’t quantify how many customers have been dropped due to their lack of charging system installation, other than to report that 45% of the 20k customers who reserved Leafs by last September have continued the ordering process. And it turns out that the delays aren’t irritating so much because of Nissan’s intransigence or lack of transparency, but because certain buyers stand to lose their California tax credit before their Leaf arrives.

With California’s $5k EV tax credit likely to run out of money in July (when it could be cut in half), consumers want their EVs now before they have to pay closer to the Leaf’s $33k MSRP (although a $7,500 US tax credit is not threatened, meaning the Leaf is fairly well-subsidized as it is). Nissan certainly won’t want to blame the customer for the Leaf’s slow rollout, but at the same time, if you’re banging down the automaker’s door because you’re going to get a $10k tax credit instead of a $12,500 tax credit, it’s hard to ask for too much sympathy. Especially considering Nissan is still digging itself out of one of the worst natural disasters in some time. Besides, as Alex Dykes’s Leaf review (parts 1, 2, and 3) proved, pure EVs require a certain amount of sacrifice…

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11 Comments on “Ordering A Nissan Leaf? Better Get Your Charger Installed!...”

  • avatar

    Chicken or the Egg? If I were buying a Leaf I sure wouldn’t be getting my charger installed or get to carried away attempting to arrange install if I didn’t have a clue as to when I would actually get the car.

    Don’t have a charger we won’t sell you a car.
    Don’t have a car to sell me and I’m not buying a charger.

    • 0 avatar

      1. The car comes with a 120V charger so you don’t have to buy the $2000 wall charger installation to use the car.

      2. The $2000 is for an inspection, installation, and a ~$700 charger plus a 6″ power cord that doesn’t cost more than a couple of bucks. Some leaf purchasers were planning to buy the car and get a charger from someone other than Nissan to save hundreds of dollars or even thousands of dollars for overpriced electrical work/instillation charges. For example there is no discount on the installation if all they have to do is screw it to the wall and plug in a power cord vs the more costly setting up a new breaker box, running cable down the side of a house, cutting through a wall, etc. See

      3. There is a service that will convert your 120V charger to a 120/240V charger for a reasonable fee saving you more than you would buying a wall charger. See

      Nissan stopping a waiting list member from buying the car can only mean they are trying to protect the income that would go to the L2 charger manufacturer, the installers, and/or any kickback from them.

      • 0 avatar

        Leviton and ClipperCreek are selling their Level 2 chargers online for about $1000. You have to self-install. I don’t own a Leaf, I own a Think City. I was freaking out when I heard what companies wanted to install a Level 2 charger. Luckily, ClipperCreek has a very compact Level 2 charger for $1000. Leviton’s is a bit nicer for about $1200.

  • avatar

    Zero Emission™

    Just don’t mind the boat

  • avatar

    The only truly zero emission Leaf is one that is neither made nor sold.

    Think of this sales prevention tactic as the ultimate in corporate green technology.

  • avatar

    What happens to the charger when the leaf is sold in a few years.

    So will they take a trade in on your leaf subject to you providing the charger?

    At it is quite often when you buy a used car not all the keys, manuals etc are present.

    Or will be all perusing E-Bay and Craiglist for used chargers? A $2000 install fee for a new charger on a $30,000 vehicle is maybe OK but how about when it becomes a $10,000 used car.

    • 0 avatar

      Cheers Brit: Brilliant! Don’t go home yet, we need you here. P.S. Are you really Mark Steyn?

    • 0 avatar

      By the time a Leaf is a 5 year old used car the wall mounted chargers will be reasonably common.

      Even now you can get a charger for less than $1000 and install it yourself if you are electrically competent.

      By then I would expect the charger + install to be half or less of the current cost.

      Further as mentioned before you don’t need the wall charger the portable charger can be easily modified to run on 120V/240V with adapter cords and it’s highly likely that you would either get one from the original owner or would buy one of those for your used car instead of paying for the more expensive wall mount charger if for some reason you bought a car without either charger included in the transaction.

      I wouldn’t expect someone to necessarily want to sell their wall charger as it is usable for more than just the Nissan Leaf. I would expect them to bundle the portable charger with the Nissan Leaf when they sold it.

  • avatar

    I could DIY it , however I assume the vast majority of people are probably not competent to do this. Most of my neighbors run away from anything vaguely technical like this. Mention 220 volt, electrical panels and watch the “DANGER” signs light up.

    As soon as our used car punter finds out he needs to install an expensive charger for his car and maybe modify his house to do it it’s “GAME OVER!”

    Why isn’t the charger part of the car.(probably weight) Let the car accept 115-240V, the electronics to do this is relatively simple.

    A 5 year old leaf, with it’s original battery and a 110 volt charger is range challenged.

    • 0 avatar

      “Why isn’t the charger part of the car.(probably weight)”

      Actually the charger in a technical sense is inside the car. The thing on the wall is known as a EVSE and doesn’t do much of anything at all.

      Once you understand what an EVSE is you know why no one wants to pay $2000 to get a simple cord + box tacked onto a wall.

      And no one is going to be charging the car 5 years from now on 120V except in the most unusual temporary circumstances. Any bloke that buys a 5 year old LEAF will be charging at 240V at home. Sure 120V would limit their range but if they don’t care enough to provide the car with 240V then they obviously don’t need to drive it often or don’t care about the shorter range limit.

      Sure you’ll find some idiot that doesn’t understand but you could say the same about idiots that put E85 in a car that isn’t designed to use more than E5 or the idiots that never get their oil changed. This discussion should be about the average Joe not the idiot that proves the worst case.

  • avatar

    I have a ClipperCreek charger that I used every day for almost three years with my all-electric MINI-E and it worked flawlessly. ClipperCreek told me that they sell for over $1,500 but this will need a new plug end (easy to swap, I am told). I have a new BMW ActiveE so I am selling the ClipperCreek one on eBay. Interested? Go electrics!

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