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Nissan rolls out new eco-friendly wheels

Local dealership sells long-awaited LEAF, 1st all-electric car

Posted: May 4, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 4, 2011 1:55 a.m.

David Wang, of Agua Dulce, right, poses next to his new Nissan Leaf with his daughter Candice on the lot at Nissan of Valencia on Wednesday. Wang is the first customer in the Santa Clarita Valley to take delivery of the all-electric vehicle.

 

The long-awaited Nissan LEAF, the first all-electric car to be sold in the Santa Clarita Valley, was handed over to new owner David Wang of Agua Dulce on Wednesday by Sean Brockett, finance manager of Nissan of Valencia.

“I bought it because I was interested in preserving the environment,” Wang said as he took possession of the new vehicle.

Waiting nearly a year to drive away in his new car, Wang said he first put his down payment on the car in July 2010. Three weeks ago, he had the new 220/240 volt 40-amp charging station installed at his home.

On Wednesday, Wang finally got to check out his new car for the first time.

Wang said Nissan notified him when his LEAF left Japan for shipment to the United States. The car left port one day before the massive 9.0 earthquake and tsunami hit Japan.

As the all-electric car was pulled up for Wang and his daughter Candice to inspect, not a sound could be heard. The engine was nearly silent.

“It handles nice, too,” said Sandy Lapin, LEAF specialist and Internet manager for Nissan of Valencia. “It has 100 percent torque right off the line.”

Round two
The LEAF hatchback seats five adults, has a maximum speed of 90 mph and can go 100 miles per charge, giving owners a respite from ongoing rising gas prices, according to Nissan.

The LEAF is equipped with a lithium-ion battery that generates 107 horsepower and can be charged up to 80 percent of its full capacity in 30 minutes when equipped with a quick-charge port using a DC, or direct current, fast charger.

Charging at home is estimated to take approximately eight hours. The advanced lithium-ion battery pack carries an industry-competitive warranty of eight years or 100,000 miles.

“We are now accepting the second round of orders for the LEAF,” said Daniel Sterkel, general manager of Nissan of Valencia. “People can call Sandy Lapin, and he’ll go over how to put in your order for a LEAF today.”

The MSRP sticker price for the zero-emission vehicle is $32,780. That compares to higher price tags on other all-electric vehicles, such as the Tesla Roadster, which is priced at more than $100,000.

Vehicle purchasing
Buying a LEAF is an involved process. Committed LEAF enthusiasts first put down a $99 deposit.

While prospective buyers wait for their autos to be manufactured, they go through a series of steps preparing to be new owners.

Buyers make their homes ready to receive the Nissan LEAF by installing a charging station. Nissan representatives even make home visits to ensure the house is ready to accommodate the newest addition to the family.

Tax credits and rebates follow as part of federal and state initiatives encouraging consumers to reduce reliance on gas-oil and achieve zero tailpipe emissions.

Buyers receive a $7,500 federal tax credit and a $2,000 credit toward the purchase of the charging station. California residents can  earn a $5,000 credit from the state.

LEAF owners
After debut of the LEAF in 2010, interest in the car was so strong that Nissan reportedly had to stop taking reservations for the initial production run.

The first cars were built in Japan, but plans are to produce it at Nissan USA’s new assembly plant in Tennessee beginning July 2012.

Nissan of Valencia has 15 more customers who should begin receiving their new LEAF vehicles over the next 90 days, Sterkel said.

Nissan of Valencia is willing to help other LEAF buyers with their car charging.

“We welcome other LEAF owners, (who) may or may not have purchased the vehicle from us, to charge their cars here,” said Sterkel. “We have two charging stations here.”

As Wang was being shown his new car, he slipped behind the steering wheel and adjusted the rear-view mirror.

“I don’t have to go to the gas station anymore,” Wang said with a laugh. “The timing is perfect.”

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