Meeting the Nissan LEAF in San Diego

Eight months ago, I blogged about the Nissan EV Prototype Tour, yet I’m in awe that momentum is sky-rocketing since revealing our first mass-market EV, the Nissan LEAF! Promotion of our company’s Zero-Emission strategy is a huge undertaking, and again I had the privilege of witnessing this effort first-hand. This time, the LEAF is touring 22 cities and stirring up excitement with the media, enthusiasts and key business partners & institutions across the nation, with San Diego as its second stop.

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Nissan LEAF is the center of attention during the press conference at SDG&E headquarters

I was able to follow the LEAF at four different locations during its ambitious San Diego tour. First up was the San Diego Gas & Electric press conference, which celebrated my residing city as one of the first to invest in the smart grid and to receive $28.1 million from the Department of Energy as a stimulus grant for renewable energy investment. SDG&E CEO Hal Snyder proclaimed, alongside the mayors of San Diego and Escondido, that “San Diego will be the Greenest and Finest City in America!” with a fast-growing EV infrastructure and cars like the Nissan LEAF.

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Nissan Design America employees check out the LEAF up-close and in-person

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University officials & students from UCSD (my alma mater!) drove the prototype and viewed the LEAF

Other stops included a short visit to Nissan Design America so that employees could meet the LEAF in person and to be showcased in CleanTalk SD’s monthly meeting. Across the street at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) university officials and students also had a chance to view the LEAF and drive the EV Versa Prototype in a short driving loop. I was lucky enough to drive it and was so impressed that if felt even smoother and zippier than the EV Cube Prototype I had driven. Paul Hawson, NNA Product Planning, told me that the production version will be even better!

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Here I am right before peeling out with the EV (I think I scared my passengers)

Overall, the LEAF was a smash with the media and local dignitaries and the EV groundswell is building. At the last stop at SD Alternative Fuels Education Day, the LEAF shared the limelight with the likes of Chevy Volt, Tesla Roadster and other EVs, but it really stood out with the public. It’s strange to say it, but I feel like I’ve watched our EVs grow up and I am very excited to see what’s in store for our future!

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Ann Ngo with the EV-02 prototype (Cube), the EV-12 prototype (Versa) and finally the Nissan LEAF!

BTW, I think Nissan LEAF’s promotion through its Facebook fan page and Twitter feed (@NissanEVs) is forward-thinking. It’s key to reaching a new generation of trend-setters who socially network with like-minded people interested in a blue-sky future. Being an ambassador to Nissan’s Zero-Emission goal has been inspirational to me and anyone can do it! I’m a Facebook fan of Nissan LEAF… are you?

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