A TEN TIMES increase in monthly sales of Nissan Leafs?!

Yes. You’ve read that correctly, ten times. TEN TIMES! Kline Nissan in Maplewood, MN sold 41 Nissan Leafs in March 2016, way up from their average volume of four vehicles per month. How did this happen? Here are the five things you need to boost the sales of electric vehicles (EVs) in your community:

#1 The Idea

This is where we tip our hats to our friends in the Colorado counties of Boulder, Adams, and Denver. The Southwest Energy Efficiency Program (SWEEP) asked themselves “what is the biggest barrier to people adopting EV technology?” Like other clean technologies; people suffer sticker shock from high upfront costs EVEN when the costs are much lower over the lifetime of the technology. The Colorado counties used a successful discount model originally developed for solar panels: commonly known as the bulk purchase. The plan, presented to all EV makers, was a simple one: offer a discounted price and make up for it through quantity, while relying on partners to help spread the word. Nissan stepped up, and the experimental program was a HUGE success, with 248 sales over the 4-month period. Their achievement spurred them to write a manual to promote the replication of this program in other communities across the country (*spoiler alert: communities like ours in Minnesota).

#2 The Electric Vehicle

The Nissan Leaf SV was iDEAL (pun achieved) for this promotion. For starters the deal applied to the midline trim model, the SV, with a 30 kWh lithium-ion battery.  The Leaf SV gets an EPA estimated 107 miles of range on a single charge, or over 2 ½ times the 37-mile distance the average American drives in a day. With zero emissions, 107 horsepower, an onboard charger and a quick charge port, it’s no wonder that this model is one of the most popular electric vehicles on the market. From empty (a rarity most days) a Nissan Leaf can be fully charged in six hours in your garage overnight. It’s never been more convenient to re-charge your range, especially with Level II and DC fast chargers popping up all around in cities across the country, including in the greater Minneapolis/ St. Paul area.

#3 The Deal

Now, let’s get to the numbers, the nitty gritty, the bottom line. Minnesota is not a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandated state and we do not currently have a state rebate in place for EV purchases. To some this makes selling EVs here more difficult. Good thing this deal doesn’t require either of those things; this was just a good, old-fashioned, limited time offer. Drive Electric MN, Nissan North America and Kline Nissan negotiated an offer that provides savings to consumers through either a purchase option or a lease option (See Figure 1 to check out those sweet, sweet savings). Depending on the option chosen the consumer could receive close to 40% off MSRP including the federal tax credit. On top of that, ZEF Energy offered two years of FREE DC fast charging on their charging network around the Minneapolis/ St. Paul area. DC Fast Charging can charge a LEAF up to 50% in just 15 minutes of charging! With up to 30 minutes of free charging this is a double whammy of a deal: a lower upfront cost AND free on-the-go DC fast charging.

#4 The Dealership

Adam Bazille, a sales person at Kline Nissan and EV champion was a crucial partner for the success of this deal. Consumers typically have more questions about EVs because the technology is new, quickly improving, and coincides with a change in consumer behavior. Potential buyers typically have questions about how and where to charge, range concerns, electricity rate inquiries, and need an EV 101 crash course. Adam is the perfect tutor for curious consumers; he really knows his stuff about the Leaf and has the tools you need to get you from home to work and everywhere in-between.

#5 The Partners

Last, but certainly not least are the promotion partners. Drive Electric MN takes pride in bringing together all the parts and players of the EV industry. We believe we can achieve more by charging forward together. This program succeeded because our partners spread the word. From an article in the Pioneer Press, promotion at the Twin Cities Auto show, to shout outs on social media our partners made all the difference. A big thank you to everyone involved for making this program a monumental success, TEN TIMES over!

Facilitated by the Great Plains Institute, Drive Electric Minnesota is a partnership of Minnesota’s electric vehicle (EV) champions, dedicated to encouraging the deployment of EVs and the establishment of EV charging infrastructure through public-private partnerships, financial incentives, education, technical support and public policy.

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