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All Electric Cars Are Not The Same: Volt vs. LEAF

Stocks in this article: GM NSANY

2. Product quality has been stellar.

As of Sept. 30, the 20,000 or more Chevrolet Volt customers have driven their cars a cumulative 128 million miles. That's almost 300 round trips to the moon.

The significance of this is reliability. Many Volt owners have driven their cars more than 40,000 miles (some much more) in more or less a year. While this is still early in a car's life cycle, any significant problems tend to arise by the time you hit 40,000 or so miles.

If you search the blogs, you will find precious few serious complaints about the Volt, in terms of serious product defects. Surely, as with any car that has more than 20,000 units in the field, you will inevitably have a handful that fall into that "one in a thousand" scenario, but generally these have been rare and seemingly random exceptions.

3. Customer satisfaction has been stellar.

Talk to almost any Volt owner and you'll find very few unhappy people. The customer satisfaction rates are among the highest of any car in the market. The Consumer Reports survey rated the Volt the number one most-highly-rated car by its owners at 93%, higher than even the Porsche 911 at 91%.

Chevrolet Volt owners attend meet-ups where the most frequent points of discussion tend to be:

A. I talked X number of colleagues, friends, neighbors and relatives into buying/leasing a Volt.

B. I love the Volt but I would like to buy a second one, if a minivan or SUV version were available. Please, GM, make one or two such variants ASAP.

All in all, Chevrolet Volt owners sound largely like Apple (AAPL) fans. As we have seen from Apple stock, that eventually turned out to be a good thing.

Second, the story with some problems: Nissan LEAF

The Nissan LEAF was the electric car winner, by far, in 2011. It was the pioneering car of its class, and California commuters gobbled up the car in droves to get access to the carpool lane.

1. Sales have stalled.

By March 2012, however, LEAF sales had declined dramatically. Instead of selling mostly at the 1,000 to 1,500 rate per month, sales have been running around 500 per month for the last six or so months.

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