Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Why Nissan Is Talking To Tesla Model S Owners

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the how-do-you-like-us-now? dept.

Transportation 335

cartechboy writes "What do you do when you're the first to market with a mainstream item, and yet the competition seems to be a hotter commodity? Naturally you do your homework. That's exactly what Nissan is doing. With disappointing sales of its Leaf electric car, Nissan is doing the smart thing and talking to Tesla owners about their cars. One would assume this is in hopes of understanding how to better compete with the popular Silicon Valley upstart. The brand sent an email to Sacramento-area Model S owners with four elements ranging from general information and a web-based survey to asking owners to keep a driving diary and to come in for in-person interviews with Nissan staff. The question is: Is Nissan trying to get feedback on its marketplace and competition, or is the brand looking at either offering an electric car with longer range or planning to challenge Tesla with an upper end plug-in electric car?"

cancel ×

335 comments

Odd (4, Insightful)

smack.addict (116174) | about 4 months ago | (#46328333)

I don't see the Tesla as competing with the Leaf. The Leaf basically competes with the Volt. It's biggest problem is range. The Leaf suits only a narrow market who either has a very short commute or a relatively short commute with charging at their destination.

There's nothing wrong with that, but it does mean there's necessarily a small audience for it.

Re:Odd (0)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 4 months ago | (#46328439)

That might be the case, but it might also not be the case.

Re:Odd (4, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 4 months ago | (#46328465)

No matter where you go, there you are.

Re:Odd (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 4 months ago | (#46328539)

Unless there's no charge station between the two points.

Re:Odd (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 4 months ago | (#46328577)

No matter where you go, there you are.

Thanks Buckaroo [wikipedia.org] .

Re: Odd (1)

spatley (191233) | about 4 months ago | (#46328839)

And no matter what temperature a room is, it's always room temperature.

Re:Odd (1)

rsborg (111459) | about 4 months ago | (#46328501)

I don't see the Tesla as competing with the Leaf. The Leaf basically competes with the Volt. It's biggest problem is range. The Leaf suits only a narrow market who either has a very short commute or a relatively short commute with charging at their destination.

There's nothing wrong with that, but it does mean there's necessarily a small audience for it.

The Leaf competes with the Tesla in the sense that if it had better range (say 150% more at the cost of maybe $10k more), I'm sure there'd be much more folks considering it.

As someone who's been eyeing the electrics (love the Rav4 EV, just not the range), I'd rather save $20-30k and still avoid the gas stations and my high monthly gas bill as I'd pretty much use this car only for commuting.

Re:Odd (5, Interesting)

smack.addict (116174) | about 4 months ago | (#46328625)

I can't fathom why anyone who can afford a Tesla Model S would buy something else.

Yes, it's electric. But it's also the best damn car on earth.

The only thing Nissan could do to make me consider a Leaf is make it a clone of the Tesla. I don't think they are going to achieve it at the Leaf's price point.

The Leaf's chief issue for its target market is range. And, as another posted, the Nissan dealers are Nissan's worst enemy in selling them.

Re:Odd (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46328711)

I can't fathom why anyone who can afford a Tesla Model S would buy something else.

Yes, it's electric.

You answered you own question. Why in the hell would you waste money on a piece of shit tesla when you could buy one of these.

Re:Odd (2, Funny)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 4 months ago | (#46328799)

laptop screen in console is a show stopper for me.

hate hate hate it! stupid concept for children who can't seem to get enough lcd displays.

go back to tactile controls and I'll consider a car like that.

I like a lot about the car, but the inside cabin makes me want to gag.

Re:Odd (4, Funny)

rockout (1039072) | about 4 months ago | (#46329047)

In other news, I can't find a car anymore where I have to roll the windows down manually! Stupid electric windows! that is a DEAL BREAKER for me.

(also, I think maybe you need to look up the idiom "show stopper")

Re:Odd (5, Insightful)

harrkev (623093) | about 4 months ago | (#46329279)

Yeah. Why bother with knobs that you can feel without taking your eyes off of the road. Make life exciting! Change the station on your radio by having to press a tiny soft button that may allow you a more exciting life of car accidents and hospital stays! Meet new cute nurses! Get sponge baths! Try interesting new drugs!

Sorry, but LCD displays are nice for SHOWING information, but they absolutely suck if you put a touch screen on there. I rented a car with a stupid touch-screen radio, and I was in a new area where I did not know the local stations, and trying to change the station while driving was an accident waiting to happen.

On a completely unrelated topic, as a current owner of a Nissan mini-van (got kids, sorry), the only way that I would buy another Nissan would be if they hired a mechanic to live in my garage to fix it every night. That is the worst vehicle that I have ever owned.

Re:Odd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46329619)

On a completely unrelated topic, as a current owner of a Nissan mini-van (got kids, sorry), the only way that I would buy another Nissan would be if they hired a mechanic to live in my garage to fix it every night. That is the worst vehicle that I have ever owned.

FWIW, we used to have a Nissan Maxima and a Nissan truck before that (can't recall the model off the top of my head, but it was the bigger of the two they make, roughly on par with a Toyota Tundra). Both were fine, no real problems. After-market wiper blades were unobtainable, and the dealership never stocked just the blades, apparently preferring to sell me the more expensive (in parts & labor) whole wiper, but that changed when the dealership changed hands. There was a recall on the truck, but nothing serious; took it in, got a loaner car, picked it up next day, no big deal. YMMV.

- T

Re:Odd (4, Insightful)

aztracker1 (702135) | about 5 months ago | (#46329445)

With the touch screen, you have to take your eyes off the road... with buttons and knobs, you can manipulate them without taking your eyes off the road as much. It comes down to safety imho as much as interaction. Also, tactile feedback is a big deal.

Re:Odd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46329475)

go back to tactile controls and I'll consider a car like that.

Agreed. Tesla needs to just hand Mercedes a fuckton of cash and license their control system. It'll save them a decade of R&D on what actually works when driving.

Re:Odd (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 5 months ago | (#46329579)

"go back to tactile controls and I'll consider a car like that."

Why do you want to feel the gauges instead of looking at them?

Re:Odd (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 5 months ago | (#46329655)

You're kidding, right?

There's this thing called the road. Being able to change the stereo with your thumb on the steering wheel control, or press the hard button with your right hand beats looking away from the road and locating it on a big smooth screen every day of the week.

Re:Odd (1)

icebike (68054) | about 4 months ago | (#46328893)

I think there is market for the leaf if they quadrupled the range with no more than 5k added to the price, and did nothing else.
There are a lot of people who like little cars for running around town.

Re:Odd (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 5 months ago | (#46329657)

I just need the price to come down. I don't need 70+ miles of range. My wife has a 5 mile commute, but the Leaf is way too expensive to ever recoup the cost. If it had a 40 mile range to account for errands and battery decline, but cost the same as a Versa or even a Sentry, we'd be in business.

Re:Odd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46329259)

I can afford a Tesla, but it's physically too long for me and I want something I can drive from SF to LA without having to spend multiple hours charging, so if there was a Leaf that did the second part and not be quite the price of a Tesla (around $50K) I would seriously consider it.

Re:Odd (1)

icebike (68054) | about 4 months ago | (#46328843)

he Leaf competes with the Tesla in the sense that if it had better range (say 150% more at the cost of maybe $10k more), I'm sure there'd be much more folks considering it.

Agreed. The leaf is just too range challenged. (Claims 100miles, owners say half of that)
Add to that, the leaf has little in the way of creature comforts or high tech gadgetry.
Its safety rating is Good, (code word for mediocre)
Its a pretty bare bones car, sold at a loss.
Its performance is abysmal

That much is fairly obvious just looking at the specs.
I suspect Nissan is busy trying to figure out which of those features is important to the Tesla owner, but I rather
suspect the answer will be All of the above.

Re:Odd (5, Informative)

mythosaz (572040) | about 4 months ago | (#46329277)

n.b. Leaf Owner.

Agreed. The leaf is just too range challenged. (Claims 100miles, owners say half of that)

Leaf owners aren't claiming 50 mile ranges, at least not in bulk.

I do blended highway/city driving in a huge sprawl city, and I get about 86. [That's 3.9 miles per kWh, which jives with what a lot of people will tell you.] Even under the worst possible conditions (all freeway) I get the 70 miles necessary to go to my office and back.

Add to that, the leaf has little in the way of creature comforts or high tech gadgetry.

What creature comforts do you think the leaf is missing?

It matches most other lines of car at similar prices in terms of features. The mid-level version (which is less than 3k ask over the base) has a nice XM stereo with on-steering-wheel controls, navigation, heated seats, heated mirrors, etc. It's nothing "fancy," but it's certainly not missing hightech gadgetry. The base model is only missing built-in navigation and has cheaper wheels.
http://www.nissanusa.com/elect... [nissanusa.com]

Its safety rating is Good, (code word for mediocre)

Perhaps. "Good" at IIHS is their top rating. It's only 4 out of at Safecar.gov USnews gave it a 9, which is in the middle of other Hybrid/Electric cars.

http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratin... [iihs.org]
http://www.safercar.gov/Vehicl... [safercar.gov]
http://usnews.rankingsandrevie... [rankingsandreviews.com]

Its a pretty bare bones car, sold at a loss.

As mentioned, it is not any more bare than any other car in this price range.

Its performance is abysmal

You haven't driven one, or you're only interested in high-speed driving. Yes, the Leaf tops out at 93mph (that's a 10,000rpm artificial limit on the motor), but it's VERY VERY quick in city situations, and certainly doesn't suffer getting on the freeway either. You've got full torque from a stop. You never worry about merging or having to beat someone out to change lanes. It's not a giant beast, but it's by not means a car with "abysmal performance."

Re:Odd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46328593)

The Model S and Leaf don't compete.

Nissan and Tesla do - they are both in the Luxury car category. Nissan has their Infiniti LE concept from a couple years back that would be direct competition to the Model S. They are doing research for the future not trying to figure out why someone would prefer a Model S over a Leaf. They are looking to make sure the Infiniti LE can win over some of the potential Model S buyers.

Re:Odd (4, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#46328609)

I don't know if it's an American thing but most people in Europe and Japan wouldn't consider a 50 mile each way commute "very short". For most of us a Leaf would be fine for 95% of the journeys we make, maybe 99%. Most households have more than one car too.

Having said that range anxiety is an issue that massive battery packs like Tesla's solve, even if most people never come close to depleting them. I bet Tesla have some really interesting stats on how little people push their batteries.

Nissan are probably looking to understand what people want from a luxury electric sedan. The Leaf has sold pretty well for them, especially in their home market of Japan where you can buy it in a bundle with solar PV and use it as a UPS for your house in the event of an emergency.

Re:Odd (1)

esldude (1157749) | about 4 months ago | (#46328697)

Well, I think people are looking at 50 miles both ways or 25 one way. Lots of places you couldn't charge during the day. And yes, in the USA, that is maybe not an average commute, but not at all uncommon either. Plus if you have a 40 mile commute with 50 mile real world range that is cutting things pretty close. When an oops I need to go somewhere else is hours of charging away from being possible. Another way I have put it to people. Imagine driving a car with a 1.5 gallon gas tank. That is about what these smaller EV's are more or less like. Most people wouldn't like that all that much even though you could refill your 1.5 gallon tank in two minutes each day. In the case of the EV that tank takes hours to fill.

Re:Odd (1)

smack.addict (116174) | about 4 months ago | (#46328769)

And then there's cold weather. A 50 mile range becomes 25 really quickly in the cold.

Re:Odd (2)

mythosaz (572040) | about 4 months ago | (#46329309)

What 50 mile range?

Real world Leaf owners get 85+ on average.

I'm currently averaging just above that myself, and non-freeway driving can easily net 100+.

A Leaf driven at 35mph can get over 130.

Re:Odd (2)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 5 months ago | (#46329543)

Very true.

Mind you, even gasoline powered vehicles suffer from cold weather mileage decreases. In my decidedly-not-electric Honda Accord V6 I get 6.5 L/100 km during summer, but ~ 8.5 L/100 km in the winter (note, winter where I am is cold, often minus 20s C, i.e. 'sub-zero' Fahreinheit).

Those figures in US MPG, roughly speaking, are "mid 30s" summer, "high 20s" winter.

Re:Odd (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 4 months ago | (#46328987)

The Leaf has sold pretty well for them, especially in their home market of Japan

Here in Norway too, which is a fairly big market for electric cars.

Last month:
Nissan Leaf: 650 cars (5.7%)
Tesla Model S: 132 cars (1.2%)
Last year:
Nissan Leaf: 4604 cars (3.2%)
Tesla Model S: 1983 cars (1.4%)

They're not competing for the same customers at all though, I don't think anyone with a Tesla would get a Leaf nor would anyone happy with a Leaf cash out for a Tesla. Cheapest Leaf: 228600 NOK, cheapest Tesla: 463800 NOK so more than double. Fully stashed Leaf: 281400 NOK, fully stashed Tesla: 829700 NOK so like triple the price. Of course Nissan is probably looking to move up and Tesla is looking to move down with their Model E, so naturally they want to figure each other out.

Re: Odd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46329485)

>>The Leaf has sold pretty well for them, especially in their home market of Japan

>Here in Norway too, which is a fairly big market for electric cars.

Population of Japan: 128 million
Population of Norway: 5 million

Re:Odd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46329499)

(US) English tip: a car sold with all the optional features is described as "fully loaded", not "fully stashed"

Re:Odd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46329153)

I just bought a LEAF in December and a couple of weeks ago got a survey from Nissan about if they could extend the range of the LEAF to 150 miles would you be interested in buying one and if so would you be willing to pay more for that feature. Yes, I do have range anxiety with the distance that I can travel.

Re:Odd (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 5 months ago | (#46329591)

Yeah - even here in Australia (same physical size as the lower 48 US states and similar low density suburban sprawl everywhere), that would be considered quite a long commute. The only significant group of people I know with that kind of distance commute might be people in the Blue Mountains who work in downtown Sydney, but even so, a lot of them take the train rather than drive...

Re:Odd (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 5 months ago | (#46329631)

Miles dont matter it's time. I have a 45 mile commute daily, co workers have a 5 mile commute. I arrive at work before them because I travel at 70mph for 90% of the commute time while they sit there in traffic for 99% of the time never exceeding 8 mph.

I'll gladly take my 45 mile commute of cruising the highway than sitting in traffic. And before any of you chime in about "ride the bike or bus" the united states hats public transportation, all of it here is garbage. and with temperatures that are typically at 5 Deg F to 12 deg F daily with ice and snow on the roads, only a nut would be riding his bike.

Then you have the fact that American drivers actively try to kill bicyclists and motorcyclists.

Re:Odd (1)

Yosho (135835) | about 5 months ago | (#46329659)

There's a saying that goes something like, "In America, 300 years is a long time. In Europe, 300 miles is a long distance."

50 miles is long for a daily commute, but I've known people who did it. I've got a daily commute of almost 10 miles each way, which is pretty standard where I live. 50 miles would be a pretty reasonable distance for going to see a friend in a nearby town for a day or two.

Re:Odd (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 4 months ago | (#46328725)

I don't see the Tesla as competing with the Leaf. The Leaf basically competes with the Volt. It's biggest problem is range. The Leaf suits only a narrow market who either has a very short commute or a relatively short commute with charging at their destination.

There's nothing wrong with that, but it does mean there's necessarily a small audience for it.

The one experience I've had with a Leaf is riding in a friend's. Very nice car, but for the money I'd expect more range. Further, the limited range was a near problem as the car could well have left us stuck along the road, because going over even a few hills cuts into the mileage significantly. Very short commute or very short distance errand car is about what it is - a niche market.

There are a few dozen Tesla S model cars around where I live and I've even spotted one on I-5, southbound. That goes through some rather hinterland experience, when driving from the Bay Area south. There must be a charging station of two placed between I-580 and Los Angeles.

Nissan would do well to examine the charging network and figuring how they can invest and leverage what's out there.

Re:Odd (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 5 months ago | (#46329443)

Nissan, and the other car makers, must (and should be) nervous...

Re:Odd (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 4 months ago | (#46328779)

The Leaf suits only a narrow market who either has a very short commute or a relatively short commute with charging at their destination

I wouldn't say "very short commute". Going 25 miles each way isn't a problem. That can get you completely across a lot of towns.

IMO, the bigger problem is logistics and market demographics. Unless you own a home with a garage, owning an EV can be a real pain in the butt. Home lessors will have to get the owner's permission to install an outlet in the garage. Apartment, and even condo, dwellers would have a very rough time.

The people who are in the market for a $65k+ car tend to own their own home with a garage. The people in the market for a $28k car often do not.

I actually lease my Leaf SV (the middle trim) for $300/month. Considering I save almost $100/month in gas, and only pay $20 more per month in electricity, I think it's a great value. The thing I didn't expect to love is the single speed transmission. You don't realize how obnoxious gear changes are until you drive without them.

Re:Odd (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 4 months ago | (#46329333)

I actually lease my Leaf SV (the middle trim) for $300/month. Considering I save almost $100/month in gas, and only pay $20 more per month in electricity, I think it's a great value. The thing I didn't expect to love is the single speed transmission. You don't realize how obnoxious gear changes are until you drive without them.

Surprising you'd mention a 25+25 range. My average is 85 on a full tank, and that jives with most other owners.

Are you charging your lease to 80%?

Re:Odd (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 5 months ago | (#46329533)

I get the normal 85-90 mile range. But I'm figuring that you want to go out for lunch, run some errands on the way home, use the air conditioning the whole way, and still leave a decent cushion. I have run mine down to single digit range remaining and it is very nerve wracking.

Re:Odd (1)

StarWreck (695075) | about 4 months ago | (#46328815)

You're right, the Leaf most directly competes with the Volt or even the Prius.

Leaf's biggest problem is their thermal management is under-engineered. Both the Volt and the Tesla have much more thoroughly engineered thermal management systems. It may use up some of the range keeping the battery warm/cool depending on outside conditions but it does a great job keeping the battery from losing half its maximum capacity after only a year.

Re:Odd (1)

BradMajors (995624) | about 5 months ago | (#46329489)

Leaf is for those who want to save money.

Tesla is for those who have too much money and want to spend it.

Re:Odd (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 5 months ago | (#46329563)

I do, Tesla can easily make a leaf that decimates the Nissan range. If tesla made an affordable electric 2 seater subcompact they could own the electric market. Give me 300 mile range in one at a honda civic price and I am all over it.

Re:Odd (1)

beltsbear (2489652) | about 5 months ago | (#46329575)

The 85 mile range is not enough. I would not be able to use it for much of my driving. If it had 125 miles range it would be fine. That 40 miles is a HUGE difference in terms of usability.

The name, the look, the genericness (2)

maliqua (1316471) | about 4 months ago | (#46328337)

Tesla Model S vs. Nissan leaf

ones moderately cool and stylish ones a tiny little generic compact with some electrics in it..

Re:The name, the look, the genericness (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 4 months ago | (#46328445)

BINGO!

Re:The name, the look, the genericness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46328563)

little tiny?

Here, let me fix that for you:

One's moderately cool and stylish, the other's a tiny, _ugly_, generic compact.

Re:The name, the look, the genericness (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 4 months ago | (#46328807)

The Leaf isn't as small as you think. A normal sized adult can sit comfortably in the back and the trunk area is surprisingly large.

Re:The name, the look, the genericness (2)

ttucker (2884057) | about 4 months ago | (#46328967)

It is gratuitously ugly though.

Re:The name, the look, the genericness (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 5 months ago | (#46329493)

They said that every design decision was made on which option had the lowest drag coefficient (which makes a big impact on range). I'm ok with function over form.

The most notably odd feature is the big bug eye headlights. At highway speeds, they create low pressure bubbles around the side view mirrors.

Re:The name, the look, the genericness (2)

mythosaz (572040) | about 4 months ago | (#46329345)

Concur. The shortest person in my family is 5'10", and we fit four just fine.

Why sell small electric cars (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 4 months ago | (#46328341)

when you can sell powerful electric sports cars to rich people and celebreties

???

Profit

Anyway Leaf is a silly name to sell an electric car.

Re:Why sell small electric cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46328523)

Better than its first proposed name, the Gay.

Re:Why sell small electric cars (1, Troll)

hey! (33014) | about 5 months ago | (#46329525)

I'd buy a car called "the Gay" just to pick fights with bigots.

Sent email to...? (1)

tigershark97 (595017) | about 4 months ago | (#46328361)

How did Nissan get a list of Tesla owners and their email addresses?

Re:Sent email to...? (2)

afidel (530433) | about 4 months ago | (#46328409)

They got their name and address from the DMV and used a data broker to get their email or phone contact information, duh.

Re:Sent email to...? (1)

afidel (530433) | about 4 months ago | (#46328431)

Also this is why many high profile people have any assets that require government registration (like vehicles and property) in a holding company, it makes the cyber stalking a little bit harder.

Re:Sent email to...? (1)

icebike (68054) | about 4 months ago | (#46328973)

But $90k is hardly what a celebrity would consider a high profile car.
A Bentley, maybe.

If the Tesla was more stylish and couldn't be mistaken for a Ford Fusion at first glance, the Celebs would all own one.

Re:Sent email to...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46328451)

This is the first thing that came to my mind too.
They probably bough it from tesla themselves, or maybe someone at the DMV?

Re:Sent email to...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46328731)

Vehicle registrations are public information. There are outfits that maintain private databases of vehicle registrations and will search these records for a fee. Given names and addresses one can correlate email addresses via other databases, also legally maintained.

Property transactions are public info as well. So is a bunch of other stuff. This is not mysterious.

Re:Sent email to...? (5, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 4 months ago | (#46328607)

How did Nissan get a list of Tesla owners and their email addresses?

Fire department. :-)

Nissan Dealers Hate the LEAF (5, Interesting)

Kevoco (64263) | about 4 months ago | (#46328493)

My wife is a LEAF owner. In shopping for the LEAF, multiple Nissan dealers were dismissive about the vehicle as a passing fad, a toy, or just dumb. Several dealers didn't even stock one, let a lone a selection. One dealer's demo LEAF was parked behind other cars, under a tree, covered with bird crap.

The LEAF requires much less service (no gas, no oil changes) while presenting a steep technology learning curve, and making the issue worse, by treating the LEAF as an outcast, dealers sell fewer and have even less reason to be enthusiastic.

To understand why the Tesla is so hot while the LEAF is not, Nissan need look no further than their own dealer network. Tesla has not dealers, only showrooms, so none of the internal combustion versus electric hangups as the Nissan dealers.

BTW, we did finally find a Nissan dealer that had a good attitude about the LEAF and we are satisfied customers.

Re:Nissan Dealers Hate the LEAF (2)

rsborg (111459) | about 4 months ago | (#46328527)

BTW, we did finally find a Nissan dealer that had a good attitude about the LEAF and we are satisfied customers.

Just as an aside, why didn't you buy a Tesla Model S? Lack of availability? Cost? Interested, as I'm in this stage where I'm considering my EV options.

Re:Nissan Dealers Hate the LEAF (3, Informative)

emars (142040) | about 4 months ago | (#46328747)

Everybody who owns a LEAF would own a Model S if it were $50k cheaper. ;) My 2012 LEAF was $22k (MSRP at the time $37k) with Federal and State incentives.

Re:Nissan Dealers Hate the LEAF (2)

grqb (410789) | about 4 months ago | (#46328911)

If I were you I would consider the battery thermal management system in the electric car. It might be a bit technical for most people, but it has a direct impact on how many years the battery will last. The Leaf doesn't have a thermal management system. The Tesla and the Volt both have sophisticated ones.

Re:Nissan Dealers Hate the LEAF (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 4 months ago | (#46328637)

LEAF requires much less service (no gas, no oil changes)

It's astonishing how little maintenance the Leaf requires. In the first 10 years, I think the only planned maintenance is brake fluid, brake pads, and cabin air filters.

To give you an example of how clueless the dealerships are- I was out of town a few months after getting my Leaf and the dealership left me a voicemail saying that my service appointment was scheduled for that weekend. I assumed it was some horrible emergency safety recall. When I called back they said that they had taken the liberty of scheduling my first oil change for me.

Re:Nissan Dealers Hate the LEAF (1)

icebike (68054) | about 4 months ago | (#46329025)

The dealership isn't that clueless, its the high-school bimbos they hire to answer phone and schedule shit.

Re:Nissan Dealers Hate the LEAF (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 5 months ago | (#46329361)

I would have brought it in, and watched them change it.... :)

Re:Nissan Dealers Hate the LEAF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46328681)

I had a similar experience while shopping for a LEAF. The dealers didn't seem to care to sell me one and I live in fucking California.
This is in stark contrast to Tesla, who eschews the dealer sales model all together!

I think Tesla is on to something, and it's not just innovative car tech. I'm starting to think auto dealers are outdated dinosaurs that are dragging the industry down in their quest to extract value as middle men.

I'd buy a Tesla if I could afford one, honestly. When I was checking them out it became clear they were out of my price range.. But the Tesla sales persons didn't turn up their noses and kick me out of the place. They were quite happy to show off their amazing machines even when It was quite clear I was not going to buy one.

I can't wait until Tesla produces an affordable mainstream car. (Make mine a hatchback please!)

This is so right, but is only part of the story (1)

SeanBlader (1354199) | about 4 months ago | (#46328707)

The other part of the story is that one is fuck ugly, the other is super high tech and elegant. Don't get me wrong, there's things I'd do differently on the Model S, but there's not much I could do worse on the Leaf.

Re:Nissan Dealers Hate the LEAF (2)

steamraven (2428480) | about 4 months ago | (#46328937)

One reason is that many dealers make money on the maintenance. Leaf's low maintenance means less money for the dealers.

Re:Nissan Dealers Hate the LEAF (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 4 months ago | (#46328981)

The LEAF requires much less service (no gas, no oil changes) while presenting a steep technology learning curve, and making the issue worse, by treating the LEAF as an outcast, dealers sell fewer and have even less reason to be enthusiastic.

And there's the problem.

Dealers thrive on service - selling cars is basically a very low margin deal. They make it up in service. The Leaf, the Model S, and other EVs basically have you visiting the dealer maybe once every year, or less. While a traditional ICE will have you going back twice or more a year.

And if you look carefully, the maintenance schedule never says "Oil change", but add on a bunch of other stuff as well. So if you deal with a quick change lube place, well, they still get you on the "other stuff".

Sure, some people have trusted mechanics, but most don't, so service calls are one of the major profit centers. Enough so that they're willing to throw in several service calls knowing they'll probably hook you and you'll keep going back.

Even Tesla only recommends people come in once a year for a tune-up., Which probably is mostly an inspection to make sure stuff looks good.

Of course, I find the following things good about the Model S over the Leaf. First, it looks like a normal car. The Leaf looks like some small econobox. Looks are primo in the car world. Second - range. 50 miles is a lot, but not so much if you commute 20 miles each way. And I fill my tanks when they get to half. I like to handle the following plausible circumstances - first, power outage or other problem means I miss a charge, and second, the power plugs at work are full.

When you have a 200 mile battery, a 20 mile commute looks downright sedate. And 200 miles is probably as much gas as a small econobox holds.

Why does it have to be or? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46328503)

It is very possible they are doing all of the options.

You are competing against a company (if only by category at this time because the leaf isn't in the same class as the model s) it always helps to know what your potential customers (electric car buyers) like.

Their research is likely to lead them towards offering a longer range vehicle - they likely already know that but the additional research will add confirmation.

Since they already compete in the luxury car category it makes sense that at some point they are going to want to compete in the luxury electric car class. I'd suspect they are looking at bringing their Infiniti LE line to market in a way that it will compete favorably to the Model S. The best way for them to find out what made people buy one car over another is talk to them.

Or a buyout? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46328541)

It's not an unreasonable proposition for someone like Nissan to try to buy Tesla, in which case this kind of research into their customers would make sense as well. Of course they'd have to leave Tesla semi-independent and continuing to make Teslas, but the technology-sharing (both ways) would be a big win.

counterfeit blog posters damage blogosphere (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46328567)

a trust issue... professional liars abound http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=paid+shills+online&sm=3 thanks moms

Nissan Leaf, Suspension, Suspension, Suspension (3, Interesting)

NReitzel (77941) | about 4 months ago | (#46328587)

Nissan might have more luck selling their expensive electric if the darn thing weren't sprung like an overstuffed haywagon. The suspension is so soft there is not a trace of road feel, and the power steering is so squishy it's like driving a virtual reality vehicle in a bang-em-up game.

Not everybody who wants an electric wants it to feel like a Ford Explorer.

Re:Nissan Leaf, Suspension, Suspension, Suspension (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 4 months ago | (#46329117)

Are you kidding? My Armada handles like it's on rails compared to my wife's leaf.

Re:Nissan Leaf, Suspension, Suspension, Suspension (1)

GrahamCox (741991) | about 5 months ago | (#46329397)

Interestng. I wonder if it's different for the European market? I can't imagine a car sprung like that would do well in Europe - we like our cars to feel fairly firm.

Esflow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46328595)

They are probably trying to decide whether or not to release the Esflow [nissanusa.com] , and what potential buyers would want. The Esflow would be a decent competitor to the Tesla roadster.

Target Audience (2)

jxander (2605655) | about 4 months ago | (#46328659)

The Tesla cars are marketed towards higher end customers. The kind of people with disposable income to afford the extra pain that might be associated with early adoption of new tech. Also the kind of people who tend to enjoy "early adopter" status.

Things like the garage charger (or even owning a home with a garage) or a secondary vehicle in case you want to drive somewhere out of range ... these are much easier to deal with if you can afford the 80k Tesla S

Beyond the financial, Tesla modeled themselves after small boutique shops. A lot more attention payed per customer, and a very narrow focus. There are always going to be problems with new tech, but Tesla has seemed much better positioned to get over those hurdles than a widely distributed brand. A Nissan dealership has to work with sedans, trucks, gas, electric, diesel, etc. Tesla is free to focus on working out their electrical issues and helping their customers

It also helps to have a eccentric billionaire at the helm. Other eccentric billionaires tend to flock together, giving the brand a lot of visibility.

Here's a hint, Nissan (0)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 4 months ago | (#46328687)

Try making a car that doesn't suck. The leaf is a great car for people who don't like to drive. Make a car that handles well and performs respectably and people might want to buy it.

Maybe that's the reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46328889)

Try making a car that doesn't suck. The leaf is a great car for people who don't like to drive. Make a car that handles well and performs respectably and people might want to buy it.

Maybe THAT is why Nissan is talking to Tesla owners: they're planning on competing with them with comparable models.

That's what I'd do before I start designing and spending the BIG bucks on R&D.

Re:Maybe that's the reason (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 4 months ago | (#46329067)

Try making a car that doesn't suck. The leaf is a great car for people who don't like to drive. Make a car that handles well and performs respectably and people might want to buy it.

Maybe THAT is why Nissan is talking to Tesla owners: they're planning on competing with them with comparable models.

That would really be outside-the-box thinking for Nissan (or any Japanese car maker, really). Toyota, Nissan, and Honda (as well as their Korean counterparts Hyundai and Kia) have made many shit-tons of money in this country by selling really, really, excruciatingly boring cars. Talk to any person who has ever owned a Corolla - for example - and ask them to give you adjectives that explain their car and I guarantee you exciting will not be one. I know people who have sold their working Japanese cars after many years just because they couldn't stand to drive / look at them any more.

Now, granted, the American car makers have sadly largely copied that strategy and wondered why they can't get anywhere in the market.

Here's some feedback, Toyota (0)

x0 (32926) | about 4 months ago | (#46328721)

If you want a car to sell, don't start off with a car that looks like ass.

m

Re:Here's some feedback, Toyota (1)

x0 (32926) | about 4 months ago | (#46328875)

This might have worked better had I typed in the correct Manufacturer. Doh!

Butt-ugly frog (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46328765)

To me, the Leaf looks like a butt-ugly frog. Maybe if the Nissan Leaf were as sleek a design as the Tesla, Nissan might sell a few more. I dont understand why car companies assume that electric or hybrid cars need to have "weird" designs.

Butt-ugly frog (1)

ZZ-Type (577907) | about 4 months ago | (#46328773)

To me, the Leaf looks like a butt-ugly frog. Maybe if the Nissan Leaf were as sleek a design as the Tesla, Nissan might sell a few more. I dont understand why car companies assume that electric or hybrid cars need to have "weird" designs.

It's not the car...it's the charging stations (1)

erp_consultant (2614861) | about 4 months ago | (#46328793)

The vast majority of Teslas have been sold in California. I know that because I happen to be doing some work in Silicon valley at the moment and I see a Tesla (or 5) every single day. I don't think I've seen one Tesla where I live.

The difference is that in California there are lots of charging stations set up so you can "plug in" when you need to. I'd be willing to bet there are not many charging stations in Montana.

The Leaf is a commuter car, the Tesla is a high end sports car that just happens to run on electric power instead of gas. The Tesla is an expensive car. The people driving them are the same people that a year or two ago would have bought a Porsche or a top end BMW or Audi. These are people that like fast cars and have a lot of disposable income.

Above all, the Tesla is a status symbol. It's a rich guy's way of saying I could drive a Porsche but I choose to drive a Tesla because it's environmentally friendly.

The Leaf, sadly, is DOA. Unless you start getting charging stations everywhere the only practical alternative is the hybrid. That's why the Prius, and to a lesser extent the Volt, have been so successful. It won't leave you stranded.

If you get stranded in the Tesla you just call Jeeves the butler to come pick you up in the Range Rover and all is well :-)

Re:It's not the car...it's the charging stations (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 5 months ago | (#46329411)

The Leaf, sadly, is DOA. Unless you start getting charging stations everywhere the only practical alternative is the hybrid.

Says who?
500+ public chargers in my city. I've only twice been >5 miles from a charger. I was 5.2 miles away from a CHAdeMO charger when visiting my parent's retirement community, and I was once 23 miles away on a trip to the casino outside of town.

The other 10,000 miles I've driven have never, ever, been more than a few minutes from a charger in nearly any direction.

Re:It's not the car...it's the charging stations (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 5 months ago | (#46329625)

or Seattle - we have a dealership here.

Electricity is cheap and green here.

They need to ask what people want? (1, Informative)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 4 months ago | (#46328835)

Range. Range. Range. Ability to recharge quickly at many locations. Range. Make it look cool. Range.

There. Paypal me a bunch of money, Nissan. Did they really not know this?

They try to sell something worse at a higher price (4, Insightful)

tp1024 (2409684) | about 4 months ago | (#46328927)

When you sell a new product, there are four cases:

A) Your product is better and more expensive.
B) Your product is better and cheaper.
C) Your product is worse and cheaper.
D) Your product is worse and more expensive.

There is only one case which will fail to materialize any significant sales, in case you didn't notice: it's D.

Tesla just about managed to get into the A category by having a roadster that is genuinely better than the competition in many, though not all, respects. It's a sports car, people are prepared to make compromises for performance. Most of all, they are prepared to make compromises in terms of the price. While the superiority of the Model S is limited to bragging rights, while range issues where addressed by brute force, that is in fact a unique selling point to a certain demographic that doesn't mind spending as much money on one car as other people would spend on five. Bragging rights aside, the Model S is still an inferior product compared to most other cars, including those of similar or much lower price.

Most other electric cars are firmly in the D category. They are both worse and more expensive. None of this is a game breaker by itself, but the combination is. The leaf is too limited by its battery to get even roughly in the territory of a normal car and it has no reserves to drive at higher speeds while still maintaining acceptable range. That's a non-issue for the Tesla, due to a huge battery pack and an equally huge price to go with it.

What nobody has done so far, is move into the C category. It doesn't matter if your product is worse, if you can sell it at a cheaper price than all the rest. We've seen this work with netbooks. Given full basic functionality, performance is much less of an issue than linear extrapolation would have you expect. You can sell a product at half price that has much less than a quarter of the performance in several metrics, so long as it still has full functionality. You could sell electric cars at half the price of the cheapest conventional cars - that is roughly 3-4000 euros - if they are still cars. An aerodynamic two-seat half-width car (passengers sitting behind each other, not next to each other), that can drive about 70km/h is enough for most needs in a city and limited over-land travel. Given the low price expectations are much lower. Given the smaller size and lower speed, much less energy is consumed. A 4 kWh battery could yield a range of about 100km, with some extra margin. Even a conventional wall outlet can charge this battery within an hour.

Most problems associated with high cost of electric cars are down to large size, high speeds, high weight and high range requirements, making large batteries an absolute necessity. Once you back away from large size and high speeds of conventional cars, the rest follows automatically. A small, relatively slow car needs 4kWh / 100km. A conventional car needs about four times as much, about 16kWh/ 100km. A battery that has only a quarter of the capacity can be charged in a quarter of the time. It is also just a quarter of the price, so it matters less if quick charging wears it down faster. The result is a much cheaper and much lighter car, that certainly doesn't need carbon fibre parts to save a few pounds. You could use something as pedestrian as a steel tube frame and still get a 300kg car.

Re:They try to sell something worse at a higher pr (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46329385)

>Bragging rights aside, the Model S is still an inferior product compared to most other cars, including those of similar or much lower price.

How's that? I can probably count on one hand the number of days in a year I need to drive >300 miles. Maybe on those days the Model S would be "inferior", but in every other way it's superior to any car I've ever had or seriously considered buying.

Re:They try to sell something worse at a higher pr (3, Informative)

cbhacking (979169) | about 5 months ago | (#46329483)

Erm... what do you consider to be worse about the Model S compared to other cars? It has superior performance to most luxury cars (it borders on being classified as a sports car itself, performance-wise), is surprisingly roomy, has lots of storage (due to the "front trunk"), is very comfortable to ride in (no engine vibration, no gear shifting, no idle noise... heck, it makes even sitting in traffic tolerable), has excellent handling with an extremely low center of gravity (the battery pack and it's armor plate make up the car's undercarriage), and it literally exceeds the maximum safety ratings that can be assigned (it broke some of the testing equipment rather than itself breaking, and the testers were *unable* to flip it with their usual test machine).

Its electronic, touch-driven center dashboard console might be a bit weird and off-putting to some people, but other people will absolutely love it. It's RWD, but since the motor is at the rear (and the whole car is pretty heavy anyhow) it actually has good traction under the drive wheels. Despite some news excitement, it's way less fire-prone than a gasoline car (and far safer in the event of a fire, too, with the car warning people in plenty of time to pull over and exit the car... following collisions with heavy metal objects on the road that would likely have totaled a conventional car). The range concern is a bit of a red herring; I drive more 250 miles in one day (giving some margin of error from their nominal max range) only a few days a year, and most people literally never do (for those who do, there's always the rental option for that occasional day... or just plan to eat lunch while the car sits at the supercharger station, unless you're planning to hit 500 miles in that one day).

I see it as far, far more than merely bragging rights. Most people seem to agree more with me than with you, too, considering all the "car of the year" and such awards it has received...

ho8o (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46328951)

And, After initial May well remain the above is far Brain. It is the

Nissan Leaf would be popular (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 4 months ago | (#46329097)

If it was $5000 cheaper, and didn't look like ass.

Maybe Nissan is thinking about buying Tesla (1)

Nkwe (604125) | about 4 months ago | (#46329261)

If you can't complete, purchase. Then you can either absorb or eliminate.

Make it not ugly (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 4 months ago | (#46329307)

Except for the eco-proud, nobody wants a car that looks like a Leaf, or a Prius, or anything like an economy car. Yeah, we get it - little high pressure tires and aerodynamics matter, but you need to learn to hide that shit. Bland sedan or cute 2 seater (miata/mr2/Z3/Z4/TT) style for even lower drag - don't even let me know it's electric.

And give an option for a built in mini-generator (honda style - small, quiet, 2kW) that will give drivers the option of never getting stuck.

Re:Make it not ugly (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 5 months ago | (#46329649)

2kW is about 3 ponies. If it was that simple, it would be done.

Nobody uses cars any more (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 5 months ago | (#46329609)

Cars have reached "Peak Car" levels.

Almost everyone 30 and under is over cars.

That said, all electrics compete best in areas where the electricity source is not from coal and where there is high speed rail between cities.

Exceptions: Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Vancouver BC.

Mostly as those areas have cheaper electricity which makes a full tank of electricity cost about 1/20th per mile as much as gasoline does.

However, it is more likely Nissan is more concerned by the 2015 and 2016 model year Teslas which are in the 45,000 and 30,000 dollar range.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...