A week and a half ago, we published an article from our new friend Bruno Marcoux about a Nissan LEAF group buy he was organizing. The idea for the group buy was inspired by the Colorado Nissan LEAF group buy organized by Southwest Energy Efficiency Program (SWEEP) that we wrote about on Gas2, EV Obsession, and CleanTechnica. That group buy led to 248 Nissan LEAF sales.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Bruno’s effort. French-speaking Quebec doesn’t offer the EV incentives of Colorado or California, after all, and how effective are group buys for bringing in new buyers?
Apparently, they are pretty dern powerful. As of last night, Bruno tells me that
730 757 people signed up — indicating they were interested in participating in the group buy, but not putting down any money in advance. (You can still chime in via this link if you are interested in showing your interest as well.)
The party is more than Nissan, which Bruno has been working with to some degree, expected. In particular, Bruno was in touch with a dealer that was selling approximately 2–3 Nissan LEAFs per month. He was thinking the group buy idea may boost that to 4–5. You don’t need to be a mathematician to see that
730 757 (and counting) indications of interest blows the dealer’s projection and planning out of the water. [Update: Bruno notes that a number of the reservations are coming from people who have Tesla Model 3 reservations but are eager to jump into an electric car before those can be fulfilled. Nonetheless, Bruno notes that Model 3 sales from current reservation holders should end up doubling the number of electric cars on Quebec’s roads.]
Bruno is now working to figure out how he and Nissan could secure such a large number of Nissan LEAFs for the buyers if they confirm, and what kind of deal the buyers are offered in the end.
Bruno and his Quebec Nissan LEAF group buy have gotten some good press in the region, and that is surely part of the high number of interested buyers. In an article published in the popular La Presse +, Bruno noted that he and his wife had saved ~$4,000* on fuel in one year after purchasing their own Nissan LEAF (incorrectly reported as $2,000 in the La Presse + article). Translated from that article, he added, “When I bought it, it was mostly for the environment, but I must say that savings related to the fact not to buy petrol surprised me.” I wonder how much that simple line encouraged readers to put their name on the list for a Nissan LEAF as well.
However, another bit of information in the article may also be stimulating more demand that expected. The article mentions that the people who participated in the Colorado Nissan LEAF group buy each got $8,000 off the purchase price of a LEAF. The state also offers a $5,000 tax credit for the purchase of an electric car. The Québec government, meanwhile, gives an $8,000 (Canadian dollars, of course) rebate for electric cars at the point of purchase, and Nissan Canada is working to give an equivalent SWEEP rebate of $8,000 to the Quebec group buyers. So, that would give $16,000 worth of discounts — enticing deal, eh? (Note: In Colorado, the $8,000 extra rebate came from Nissan North America [$5,000] + the dealership [$3,000].)
The record for an electric car group buy was reportedly 651 for the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid in Ukraine, but that was completely from a government agency. Bruno expects to have reservations for ~1000 Nissan LEAFs by the end of the week. If Nissan can deliver the goods, and a decent percentage of the people who expressed interest go through with the purchase, Bruno could set a new record.
All of this brings up yet another point or question: With a good government incentive (say, a $3,000–$8,000 rebate) and half-decent promotion, what is the actual demand for electric cars in Quebec, and in other regions of North America and the world?
*Note that 99% of Bruno’s electricity comes from renewables (mostly hydropower, but also wind), and his electricity rate is $0.07/kWh, or equivalent to ~$1.50/gallon. Quebec is “EV Heaven,” as Bruno says. His wife has a Nissan Maxima, but she mostly leaves it in the driveway and uses the LEAF as well, which is how there ended up being confusion with the La Presse + article and the journalist reporting ~$2,000 a year in savings rather than ~$4,000.
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