Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. will begin taking orders for its Leaf electric vehicle this spring, officials say today at the 2010 North American International Auto Show here.

The Leaf is set to go on sale in December in the U.S., one of eight new or next-generation models Nissan is bringing to market this year.

Carlos Tavares, executive vice president and chairman-the Americas, says the sooner Nissan knows how many buyers are interested in the Leaf, the easier it will be to determine allocation by region and production rates.

The auto maker, so far, has received 35,000 Leaf hand-raisers, largely from the East and West coasts and southern states, says Brian Carolin, senior vice president-sales and marketing for NNA. Not surprisingly, many of them report owning a hybrid-electric vehicle.

Nissan also announces today it has selected AeroVironment to install home-charging stations for U.S. Leaf buyers.

The company designs, develops, produces and supports an "advanced portfolio of Unmanned Aircraft Systems and efficient electric energy systems," Nissan says.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com