Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Making A New LEAF a Flower

How One Vehicle Consultant in Los Angeles is Making Every New LEAF a Flower

Written by Francie Finn

When asked about the new Nissan Leaf, Paul Scott, a Santa Monica resident beams  and with good reason. Globally Paul is number ONE in sales for the Nissan LEAF. And Nissan has taken note. As the President of the Electric Vehicle Association of Southern California and board member and Co-Founder at Plug In America, top officials at Nissan have wined and dined to get into the master mind of Paul. Being an energy consultant myself, I understand why Paul sells more...Paul knows more.

After spending an hour with Paul, I wanted to buy a Nissan LEAF. Paul was knowledgeable about all things Leaf and electric vehicles as he himself has been driving one for 15 years isn’t it more like 11 years?.

Currently there are about 10,000 Nissan LEAFs in California, close to 6,000 in Southern California. But there is still a lot of trepidation about purchasing an electric car and a lot of questions to be answered. Paul detailed to me what those concerns are, and how he responds.

First the numbers. A Nissan LEAF's MSRP is around $38,000. The California rebate is $2,500 which the owner files for and receives about a month after delivery. Then there is a $7,500 federal tax incentive. The appetite for the tax incentive pretty much determines whether the buyer wants to purchase or lease. As Paul explains, most buyers lease if they don't need the tax write off, or just want to put their foot in the water of committing to an electric vehicle.

Los Angeles has the worst commute times in the country. The amount of wasted fuel alone makes it worth looking at an electric vehicle. The added benefit of rebates, tax incentives and the ability for a single driver to ride in the carpool lane makes it not just an economic decision, but a quality of life decision.

When leasing a Nissan LEAF, Nissan Finance takes the $7,500 tax credit and reduces the capital cost of the vehicle by that much. Many customers also add the $2,500 rebate they will receive as a further down payment. So quickly a $38,000 car becomes a $28,000 car. With an average lease payment of around $500 for a 36 month lease and zero cost in gas, many Los Angeles residents will find that the car practically pays for itself.

And, the Nissan LEAF is cool! If you haven't already, take a test drive and get blown away by the

"Apple" feel of the LEAF. Since the LEAF’s features mostly come standard, there are very few decisions to be made when picking your lEAF. Just chose your color, It's like being a kid in a candy store. Paul said that blue has been the most popular color, with silver climbing quickly but his favorite is pearl. It has an opulent color and doesn't show dirt like the others. I agree with Paul, I like opulence.

But that is not the end of the story about Paul. Paul is brilliant. As a former employee of SolarCity, Paul figured out that the same type of consumer that purchases the LEAF is probably predisposed to wanting to go solar for their home (or business). Today, as a SolarCity consultant, Paul makes the suggestion and determines the interest. If all align, Paul looks at their residence on Google Map to verify that their roof is viable, gets the utility information from the client and introduces them to a SolarCity associate who can consummate the arrangement. Genius!

About Paul Scott: Paul Scott is the President of the Electric Vehicle Association of Southern California, Co-Founding board member of Plug In America and the LEAF specialist at Nissan of Downtown LA. From kilowatts to megawatts, Paul helps residential, commercial and non-profit customers find the best solution to their renewable energy needs. Paul can be reached at 310-403-1303 or sunpwrd@gmail.com


About Francie Finn An energy consultant at KnGrid, Francie works within her management team on the infastructure for the electric vehicle market and solutions to grid stability through EV second life batteries. Francie can be reached at 415-516-6278 franciefinn1@gmail.com

Comment 3: For the first time I saw a LEAF bill board downtown Nashville last night It said 'Kick Gas' as a catch phrase. Maybe Nissan are advertising more now the sales figures have flattened out.

The lack of enthusiasm and knowledge at the dealerships is disappointing. The same holds true for Mitsubishi. I recently took a test drive in an i-Miev. The car salesman had NEVER driven one and I had to coach him on driving the vehicle off the lot. He remarked that it was 'better than I expected'. I had to explain to him what the three drive modes did. The sales manager pronounced to eco drive mode as 'echo'. It was comical.

It seems it is the EV drivers job is to educate the dealers to the point they can explain the virtues of EV's.         
              Posted by JP White   

There always remains one issue, I keep bring up, and that is price. But I think that will change with 2013 Leaf which will be built it TN. The weak US dollar is killing Nissan when import Leafs from Japan, which explains the very low inventory of cars. Look for US assembled Leafs to be under $20 grand with Fed tax credit and watch Leaf sales go crazy. America wants EV's but are not willing to pay a ridiculous price penalty. In fact the Fed tax credit should be based dropping retail price to under $20 grand and be reduced as price goes higher and higher.