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Transportation

Why Nissan Is Talking To Tesla Model S Owners 335

Posted by samzenpus
from the how-do-you-like-us-now? dept.
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?"
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Why Nissan Is Talking To Tesla Model S Owners

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  • by emars (142040) on Monday February 24, 2014 @07:08PM (#46328747) Homepage

    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.

  • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Monday February 24, 2014 @07:15PM (#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?

  • Re:Odd (Score:5, Informative)

    by mythosaz (572040) on Monday February 24, 2014 @07:52PM (#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."

  • 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...

  • Re:Odd (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cimexus (1355033) on Monday February 24, 2014 @08:50PM (#46329855)

    Yeah, that's what I thought too at first. A bit of Googling suggests that cold results in increased oil viscosity and a need for a higher fuel/air ratio (dictated by the engine computer) in cold weather. Compounding this, tyre rolling resistance is increased in the cold.

    On top of that, apparently the fuel companies change their formula/blend in winter in cold-weather markets. The winter blend works more reliably in the cold but is not as efficiently burned.

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