Nissan Leaf sales are up 335 percent over 2012, thanks to the introduction of the lower priced 2013 Nissan Leaf that's manufactured in the U.S. Nissan said on Friday they're seeing demand for electric vehicles, while strong on the West Coast, is expanding outside that area to "New Wave" markets across the country.
"LEAF always has sold well on the West Coast for a number of reasons—state tax incentives that stack on top of federal, High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) and High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) access, environmental mindedness, a concentration of early adopters and an EV culture and enthusiasm that dates back to some of the earliest EV experiments before Nissan took them mass-market," said Erik Gottfried, Nissan director of EV Sales and Marketing. "In fact, for several months LEAF has been the No. 1 seller in the Nissan portfolio in Seattle, Portland and San Francisco."
Sightings of the Nissan Leaf are extremely common in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is the top market for Nissan Leaf sales. According to Nissan the Leaf is now among the 10 best selling cars in that area, electric or otherwise.
In the #2 Nissan Leaf market, Los Angeles, its access to the HOV lane for solo drivers is a top selling point because of that areas horrible problems with sprawl and the traffic jams which always result from dense sprawl.
The #3 market for the Leaf is a surprise, Atlanta. In that "New Wave" market, sprawl and traffic jams also rank as important, and Georgia grants access to HOV and HOT (High Occupancy Toll) lanes. Additionally, Georgia offers a $5,000 tax break on electric car purchases.
The #4 (Portland) and #5 (Seattle) Leaf markets are unsurprising because of the strong interest in electric vehicles in those states, as well as in California. Both states built their sections of the West Coast Electric Highway, which consists of fast charging stations along the Interstate highway enabling rapid travel between those cities on electricity.
The #6 Leaf market, Honolulu, has one of the densest installations of fast charging stations anywhere, and huge state incentives to support electric vehicles. In addition to a strong interest in the environment in Hawaii, the state also has high gasoline prices thanks to being so geologically isolated.
The #7 (San Diego) and #8 (Sacramento) Leaf markets have strong interest in all electric cars for the same reason as San Francisco and Los Angeles. Namely, strong environmental interest, state tax incentives, HOV lane access, and a high concentration of early adopters.
The #9 Leaf market, Nashville, might appear to be a surprise thanks to the high proportion of conservatives in that area, but Tennessee is the home of Nissan America headquarters, the Nissan Leaf is manufactured in Smyrna, and the State has put a lot of support behind charging infrastructure. This market as seen some viral growth at the cul-de-sac level, where one person buys a Leaf and validates its purchase for all the neighbors.
The #10 Leaf market, St. Louis, comes from a combination of enthusiastic dealers, increased community education and awareness, corporate and university outreach and midwestern pragmatism that appreciates the value equation of an EV. "Expanding beyond the early adopters who love new technology, we're seeing more value-conscious customers motivated by the practicality and frugality of EVs. People see an EV as a freedom from vehicle running costs. Not only is charging cheaper than fueling—EV maintenance costs are much less expensive. Much more frequently LEAF drivers are telling us they trade out their old monthly gas bill for the entire lease price of a LEAF," said Gottfried.
The #11 spot is tied between the Chicago and Denver markets, both of which have robust and growing charging infrastructure.
In the #13 Leaf market, Washington DC, Nissan cites a compact urban-suburban footprint making electric commutes easy, along with well educated buyers in the tech corridor, and an infrastructure of fast charging stations.
The #14 Leaf market, Dallas-Ft. Worth, should come as a big surprise given the power of the Oil industry in Texas. This city has a strong charging infrastructure in part because it's the home turf of NRG's eVgo charging network with its Freedom Stations.
Rounding out Nissan's list of top Leaf markets, at #15 is New York City, where Mayor Bloomberg has been pushing for electric car charging infrastructure. Growth has been strongest in the communities surrounding Manhattan where it's feasible to have home charging, thanks to the difficulty apartment dwellers have of getting access to charging stations.
"Given the sustained demand we've been seeing among increasingly diverse markets and buyers, we're bullish on the EV market and confident that LEAF will continue to be the leader in practical, affordable EVs," said Gottfried.