On the eve of the Dec. 11 delivery of the firstLeaf to a U.S. customer, Nissan North America Inc. says it will push back launching the electric vehicle in some “additional markets.”
“In order to fulfill interest and meet demand in initial launch markets,plans to reopen reservations in the first half of 2011, as well as shift timing of additional markets until the second half of 2011,” the auto maker says in a statement.
Nissan had not responded at press time to a Ward’s request for detail on which markets will see a delay.
Nissan has said it would launch the Leaf initially in five U.S. markets: California, Tennessee, Oregon, Washington and Arizona, with Texas and Hawaii coming online in January.
It now says deliveries to Hawaii and Texas will start in early 2011.
Nissan stopped taking reservations from U.S. customers earlier this fall, after reaching 20,000 orders.
The Leaf is set to go nationwide by 2012, the same year when the auto maker will begin U.S. production of the EV at its Smyrna, TN, plant.
Until then, all Leafs will be sourced from Nissan’s Oppama, Japan, plant, which has a 50,000-unit annual capacity.
Olivier Chalouhi of San Francisco will be the first American to take delivery of a Leaf tomorrow.
Chalouhi, also the first to reserve a Leaf with NNA, is a 31-year-old entrepreneur and the founder of Fanhattan, “a venture-backed stealth startup in the connected-TV space, where he serves as chief technology officer,” Nissan says.
Chalouhi, who will pick up his Leaf, a black SL model, at North Bay Nissan of Petaluma, CA, commutes to work on an electric bicycle.
Nissan says a second batch of U.S.-market Leafs are set to arrive Dec. 20.