This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

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

Stocks in this article: GM NSANY

Nissan will miss its 2012 goal of selling 20,000 LEAFs in the U.S. It doesn't look like Nissan will even hit 10,000 this year. Meanwhile, production capacity in 2013 and 2014 is being ramped up in Japan, the U.S. and the U.K. to manufacture 400,000 LEAFs per year. Where on Earth these will all be sold is highly unclear to me, but at this pace most of them will not be absorbed in the U.S., certainly by 2013.

2. Product quality has been questioned.

When the LEAF was unveiled in September 2009, Nissan spoke of 100-mile range in this all-electric car. Then right before the first car was delivered in late 2010, the EPA had certified an average range of 73 miles.

In the almost two years since, many LEAF owners report seeing the battery capacity fall by more than 10% in short order, and as much as approximately 25% after little more than a year's worth of driving. If the average range is only 73 miles to begin with, cutting 10% to 25% can become a huge problem for most owners.

Furthermore, if the loss is 10% to 25% already, what will the situation be 8 or 10 years from now? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to imagine that LEAF owners fear they'll be sitting on a relative paperweight before long.

3. Some customers are unhappy.

One week ago, a class action lawsuit was filed against Nissan. Among the claims are that Nissan sold the LEAF under false pretenses, not warning against this dramatic fall in battery capacity after such a short time of ownership.

Another claim in this class action lawsuit is that Nissan tells its customers to charge the car only to 80% of full capacity, further reducing the range. If true, this would be like Coca Cola (COKE) selling you a can of Coke, and then after the purchase telling you to not drink more than 80% of the can because it will injure you. As a consumer, you would feel cheated.

I spoke to multiple LEAF owners who expressed extreme dissatisfaction with the way Nissan handled these issues. They claim Nissan is stonewalling them when Nissan should really do the right thing and simply buy back the cars, no questions asked. Nissan clearly has a PR nightmare on its hands at this point.

In the meantime, almost every Volt owner I have met has become one of GM's most effective salesmen, putting a Volt in the driveway of as many people as they can persuade.

Lesson learned: All electric cars are not the same.

At the time of publication the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

3 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,356.87 +288.00 1.69%
S&P 500 2,012.89 +40.15 2.04%
NASDAQ 4,644.3120 +96.4780 2.12%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs