Top 15 Nissan LEAF Markets In US – Now Best Seller For The Brand In Seattle, Portland and San Francisco

AUG 25 2013 BY JAY COLE 18

About a month ago we published a piece on the “top 10 markets” in the United States for the Nissan LEAF, which was fairly West Coast heavy.

Now Nissan, has gone one better – or rather five better – with a newly updated list of “top 15” markets that shows that the rest of the nation is also on board with plug-in vehicles, as many of the new dots have extended east.

Top 15 City Markets For The Nissan LEAF

Top 15 City Markets For The Nissan LEAF

Inside the “top ten” list, the only change has been that Nashville has dropped from the number 8 spot to 9th, having been passed by Sacramento.

Erik Gottfried, Nissan’s  director of EV Sales and Marketing notes that the LEAF is actually now the best seller for the brand in Seattle, Portland and San Francisco, while adding that confidence is still high in the 75 mile EV:

“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”

Nissan LEAF Outsells All Other Nissan Vehicles In

Nissan LEAF Outsells All Other Nissan Vehicles In Seattle, Portland And San Francisco

Nissan has also provided a little ‘blow-by-blow’ update of each of the areas:

  • No. 1: San Francisco, where the 100-percent electric car has made it into the top ten best selling vehicles in San Francisco—EV or otherwise.
  • No. 2: Los Angeles. LEAF performance is great against gasoline counterparts because of good charging infrastructure, a dense urban footprint and congestion. “LEAF really whips gasoline-powered vehicles in traffic jams and congestion because unlike them, it uses minimal energy while sitting in traffic,” said Gottfried.
  • No. 3: Atlanta, a “New Wave” EV market that has nabbed the No. 3 rank thanks to a number of factors including congestion where LEAF performs well, state incentives and HOV and high occupancy toll lanes (HOT) access. “Those combined factors result in a real lifestyle change that puts time back in your day and greatly facilitates personal mobility,” said Brendan Jones, director of EV Infrastructure Strategy for Nissan. Georgia has a tax credit worth up to $5,000 for zero-emissions vehicles. In Atlanta, Nissan workplace outreach has resulted in more than 100 LEAF sales to Southern Company employees.
  • No. 4: Seattle. Energy companies have been a major proponent in developing the West Coast Electric Highway that has helped to educate consumers and raise awareness for EVs
  • No. 5: Portland. Oregon has a Chief EV Officer to promote EV use.
  • No. 6: Honolulu, with 26 quick chargers, has one of densest charging grids in the U.S. The island environment also makes it easier to strategically place charging points so that EV drivers have easy access to reach key destinations. EVs fit into a larger energy-independence initiative in Hawaii since the state can make its own energy and become less reliant on shipping in fuel.
  • No. 7: San Diego ranks in the top LEAF cities for many of the same reasons in other California and West Coast markets: state tax incentives, HOV/HOT access and general environmental mindedness.
  • No. 8: Sacramento as state capital has a high level of awareness and education around EVs with a concentration of early adopters and an appreciation of EV culture.
  • No. 9: Nashville, home of Nissan Americas headquarters and the plants that assemble both LEAF and its battery. Many “New Wave” EV markets demonstrate a high level of viral sales growth. “LEAF owners have exceptionally high levels of satisfaction with the vehicle and are eager to share that experience with curious peers. Those peer-to-peer discussions frequently lead to additional LEAF sales,” said Gottfried. In Nashville, credit goes to a robust charging infrastructure and a core group of employee enthusiasts who raised awareness of the practicality of the vehicle in the market in 2011. Since then, the “cul de sac phenomenon” has taken off with general consumers in the market where one person buys a LEAF and validates it for the entire neighborhood. “In mid-size cities like Nashville, people know and talk to their neighbors. We don’t see that everywhere, but in certain communities we’ve seen peer-to-peer selling play a huge role and sales really are viral in nature,” said Gottfried.
  • No. 10: St. Louis, where the reasons for growth in this “New Wave” market include enthusiastic dealer engagement that results in 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.
  • No. 11: Tied for the spot are Chicago and Denver. In Chicago, charging infrastructure growth has been more recent and now is robust.” Illinois provides a $4,000 state tax incentive for purchases and reduced registration fees. Driving habits in Chicago also are heavy with suburban to urban commuting patterns. The enhanced driving range of the 2013 LEAF—partially enabled by the energy-efficient hybrid heater that is an especially important feature for Chicago—has helped make the EV a viable commuter car in this huge car market.
Denver's $6,000 Tax Credit Goes a Long Way To "Popularizing" The LEAF With Residents

Denver’s $6,000 Tax Credit Goes a Long Way To “Popularizing” The LEAF With Residents

Helping to popularize LEAF in the greater Denver market is Colorado’s $6,000 state tax credit, EV enthusiast dealers who sponsor considerable grassroots education and awareness activities and a general green-mindedness in the market. “Colorado has a green outdoorsy streak and a vibe that embraces EV culture,” said Gottfried. “In an area known for great craft breweries, employees from New Belgium Brewing even drive LEAF to make their sales calls around town. The company offers free public access to its charging stations, which are cleverly concealed in 1970s-era gas pumps. That sort of EV-friendly environment improves visibility.”

  • No. 13: Washington D.C. Again, the compact footprint with urban-suburban commutes in easy range, strong LEAF demographics of highly educated buyers in a tech corridor and a quickly growing fast charger network lend to the increasing popularity of LEAF in the nation’s capital. Additionally, for the greater D.C. area, Maryland offers a $1,000 EV tax credit.
  • No. 14: Dallas-Ft. Worth, which has a healthy charging infrastructure in the state that is home to NRG’s eVgo, which provides car charging services. Adoption of EVs in the market also has been accelerated by peer-to-peer selling at tech and transportation workplaces such as Texas Instruments and BNSF Railroad. Texas is planning to offer a $2,500 state rebate for EV purchases.
  • No. 15: New York City. Its demographics and compact footprint have helped make EVs popular especially in communities surrounding Manhattan. Communities in the market such as Princeton and Westchester and areas of Long Island and New Jersey that are conducive to home charging are the most popular. The New York market also benefits from sales of small EV fleets, including the NY Department of Sanitation. High-visibility projects such as the LEAF taxi pilot have helped to raise consumer awareness. Cab drivers report that riders express enthusiastic interest in the EVs, which results in much more conversation and higher tips. LEAF taxi drivers share information cards with QR codes to educate consumers more about the vehicle.

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18 Comments on "Top 15 Nissan LEAF Markets In US – Now Best Seller For The Brand In Seattle, Portland and San Francisco"

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Hey Jay,
Do you have Nissan sales stats for SF? How many have been sold vs other Nissan Models?

Polk might have some numbers in this article, but they are a bit outdated:

Funny thing is – some study a few years (?) back – “found” that NY & FL would have the largest number of EVs after CA.

I still think they could. The Leaf (as well as the build-out of EV infrastructure) got a huge head start in a lot of the places that the 2013 Leaf is selling well. Most of the top 15 markets were launch markets for the 2011 Leaf. NY and FL had to wait an extra 11-13 months to get their first Leaf deliveries.

Almost all of those markets also have quick charging stations available to the public. NY and FL do not. Not to mention that a lot of the places listed have great incentives for buying an EV, whereas NY and FL do not.

“LEAF really whips gasoline-powered vehicles in traffic jams and congestion because unlike them, it uses minimal energy while sitting in traffic,”

Actually, it REALLY whips them because it gets to use the carpool lane. 🙂

In some states.

I’m really wondering at what point would there be so many charging locations and electric cars in a major city that it starts to eat into gas stations casing them to close. But this is not out of the question in that in a lot of the downtown areas in this city land is very expensive and gas stations who mostly sell out to big builders who put in high rise condos in these areas. If these sales of electric cars get large enough they might be the thing that might push a lot of these places over the edge and close them.

Is there a correlation with high gas prices and/or high state tax credits? I think so (obviously good for all BEV/PHEVs.
GasBuddy map:
Google search ST tax creds:

California does have a major history of gas price games in that the oil companies will shut down a oil refinery for repairs or say Godzilla trashed it and then shut it down for a few weeks causing gas prices to rise to over $4.00 to almost $5.00 and then turn it back on when it makes the news. This could be a factor in people buying electric cars.

The Only Anomalies in the gas price chart are Atlanta and Washington DC while the rest of the major cities are in very high gas price areas.

California has higher gas prices for 3 reasons . . . we have one of the higher gas taxes, we have special clean gas mixtures that cost a little more, and along with our neighbors Oregon & Washington, the west coast is separated from the rest of the nation by Rocky Mountains such that our oil market is isolated due to lack of pipelines.

Plus the special blend rules make it so that we can only use a limited set of refineries, meaning that if one of them goes down, it impacts us that much more.

Before we run off and feel good about electric cars beating this system, Sacremento has occasionally floated the idea that electric cars should be taxed to make up for the fact they use no fuel. That is, since they don’t pay the gas tax, they are “cheating” Sacramento out of their fair share.

Don’t laugh, this idea could gain traction as EVs become a larger part of the fleet, probably right after CA drops the EV rebates, which they inevitably will.

California Uber Alles!

There are a lot of reasons why EVs are big here. We have among the highest gas prices in the nation, we have a decent $2500 incentive (but not as good as Colorado and Georgia), we have a nice incentive in that you get to use the carpool lanes, we have Silicon Valley where we love all things electronic, we have our local favorite son Tesla, we have a fair number of people with high incomes, we have a great state for installing solar PV, and we are a very blue state.

Oh . . . and of course we have the ZEV program that has caused a lot of good EVs to be sold here.

buzzzzzzzzz…. foul. No established relationship between being democrat and being EV/green. Don’t make me stop this car.

About time Dallas was on that list. We have TONS of EV chargers everywhere, but very few EVs on the road. Nissan has a sizable facility in Irving (between Dallas and Ft. Worth) along with 12 chargers on campus. Honestly, I’m surprised I don’t see more LEAFs on the road here.

High gasoline prices? haha…in Europe we pay $9.00 per Gallon and still people jump slowly over. Why? Because most households have just one car for all jobs to do and europeans are more reserved to jump on a new trend. Still I think more people should just EXPERIENCE the smooth ride. Renault and Nissan have more aggressive campaigns here running and focusing on the cost factors (Renault Zoe cost EUR13k = USD17k after state support). Even the german car press is very positiv about the Renault Zoe and Tesla S won even a german comparison against the brand new Mercedes S500 and BMW 750iL ( Inside EV please posts this test!). Also Mercedes is getting more succesful with there EV-Smarts using with the CAR2GO project in big cities. I am sure when premium BMW i3 and i8 roll out, this will cause that we have to except this type of car as a serious alternative and not a niche for techno- or environmental freaks.

Another reason the Seattle area sales are so strong is the long running support for EVs by SEVA (Seattle Electric Vehicle Association) the second largest chapter of the EAA. SEVA has been around for 30 years, and always has a strong presence in most community events. The utilities don’t really give a crap.

Thanks very much for letting us republish this to the SF BayLEAFs website.

To drill down even more precisely on where the LEAF sells big, we can point to Silicon Valley. CARB (California Air Resources Board) collects statistics on how many applications for the state EV rebates ($2500) and makes these available by county. Someone had the bright idea to compute those numbers per capita; these were presented a few months ago at either a BayLEAFs or EAA Silicon Valley chapter meeting.

Number one county, per 1,000 residents? Santa Clara County, by far (I believe 2.1 per thousand), home of the Santa Clara Valley renamed for its most famous input. Next was neighboring San Mateo County (1.6), also known as The Peninsula. Almost all the top counties were in the Bay Area. I’ve been looking for the presentation everywhere but not finding it, I may have to recreate the numbers myself as this was a fairly important set of numbers for EV use in California.