Demand Outstrips Electric Car Demand

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Nissan is now facing irate Leaf purchasers because of the continued lack of information on the estimated time of deliveries for the much-coveted electric vehicle.

"We don't know what's going on," says Eugen Dunlop of Davis, Calif., who ordered a Leaf last summer and had been expecting delivery by about now. "They are falling a little short." Another client is Barbara Odza of Los Angeles, says she has gone through the initial disappointment but will continue to wait.

Nissan for its part has admitted that it provided prospective purchasers overly optimistic estimates for delivery times. According to Senior Vice President Brian Carolin, the estimates that they have provided to customers on promised delivery did not coincide the Leaf’s production schedule in Japan. Eager purchasers have shelled out at least $33, 630 to get first dibs on the delivered Nissans.

While many customers have complained of the delays, others though have remained calm and understanding. He added, “Leaf buyers seem very committed and few have lost interest.”

This was seconded by John O’Dell, the senior editor at Edmunds.com, a car purchasing research site. He sees the buyers to remain loyal to the Leaf and the delay would not stall momentum on the purchase.

Another Japanese carmaker is betting the farm on electric cars for its sales in North America. Mitsubishi has recently announced that it will start offering six new plug-in hybrids and battery-powered vehicles starting 2015.

The company has also announced that it would be withdrawing slow selling models in its line. These are the Galant midsize sedan, the Eclipse sporty coupe and the Endeavor SUV by 2013. The production intended for these vehicles would in turn be used to produce the six new models projected for 2015.

It will also unveil its first electric car, named the Mitsubishi i by November. The four-seater would first roll out in Hawaii, California and some Western States. Its brother, the i-MiEV would be released in other markets. The car is designed to run for seventy miles in one full charge and the sticker price would start at $30,000, gross of the tax incentives that purchasing an electric car the government provides.

The change in production objectives would allow Mitsubishi to focus on compact models. The Eclipse, Galant and Endeavor proved to be too large for export to foreign markets, earning a loss in revenue for the company in large markets such as China.