Nissan unveils (sort of ) new electric Leaf at August luncheon
By Paul Borden- Photos by Pepe Delfino
& Pepe Forte
Bright and sunny was the day when 35 SAMA members and guests
gathered at the Rusty Pelican Restaurant for the August luncheon,
and “bright and sunny” might be the words to describe the outlook for
the Nissan’s new zero emissions vehicle, the Leaf.
No, Nissan, the sponsor of the August event, didn’t have the new electric vehicle it unveiled on August 2 in Japan at the restaurant for
us to view, but in an informative Power Point presentation, Mark Perry, director, Product Planning and Strategy for Nissan North
America, gave us an overview of the vehicle and what is being done to bring it to market.
Perry and Tracy Woodard, Director, Government Affairs for Nissan,
are in the process of touring the country to work with government and private enterprise to help set up the infrastructure that will make
the concept of an electric vehicle practical. Yes, the Leaf is a plug-in, and that is fine if you have the eight hours
to charge the battery overnight. But charging stations could cut that time down to well under an hour, especially when the battery is only
partially depleted. Such stations could replenish the battery from zero
to 80 percent of full capacity in just 20 minutes, Perry said. That’s a
significant development. Of course, it’s not like the Leaf driver is going to have to “fill up” at
every other corner recharge station. The Leaf has a projected range of 100 miles on a full charge, which covers most of our daily driving
While Perry spoke of the need for building an infrastructure to
support such vehicles of the future, he also gave a brief overview of the vehicle itself, noting that it is a real-world car, a five-door
hatchback that seats five adults and offers the advantages of zero emissions, is affordable (pricing is not determined yet, but it is
expected to be in the Altima, Camry, Accord range of $25K to $35K), and has a low total cost of ownership. Also, the Leaf is no more than
14 months away from hitting showrooms in from 10 to 15 selected markets and will be mass marketed by 2012.
We want to thank Mark and Tracy for making Miami one of the stops
on their nationwide tour and our good friend and SAMA member Julie Lawless for arranging to sponsor the event. Also representing Nissan
at the luncheon was Ray Jimenez, Dealer and Operations Manager for the Southeast Region for
Before the presentation, SAMA President Ron Beasley conducted a
brief but very significant business session. Members in attendance gave their unanimous approval to the proposed constitution and by-laws that came out of the July workshop. Pepe Delfino made the
motion to accept the proposed document and Alex Vitale seconded the motion. Members should have received a copy of the proposal
with the email invitation to the luncheon, but if you didn’t, it is posted
on the website. Ron also reminded members that the new constitution calls for
nominations of officers at the October meeting with the election to follow in November. New officers then will take office in January.
Speaking of the October meeting, John Kiskinis announced that the
South Florida Auto Dealers will sponsor the luncheon on Oct. 15 at Cafe Avanti in Miami Beach. This will be a
preview of the auto show coming up just eight days later.
And speaking of the auto show, Ron also announced that instead of a breakfast this year, we will have a luncheon at the show on press day
Oct. 23 (late risers can rejoice.) Jaguar, which is sponsoring the event, agreed to the change and will unveil a new model at a press
conference just before the luncheon.
At the auto show luncheon, we will announce our annual auto show awards (Star of the Show, Concept Vehicle of the Show and Green
Vehicle of the Show). Giorgio Cerboncini has agreed to chair the judging committee and will be looking for volunteers to serve on it. If
you can break away from your other responsibilities the afternoon of Oct. 22, consider volunteering as a judge.
Also at the luncheon, we will present the first Terry Jackson Memorial Award to a SAMA member who has contributed significantly to our
organization and the South Florida automotive community.
But before all that, we also have another luncheon coming up in September to be sponsored by Audi and our good friend, Andrew
Lipman. That event will be Sept. 24 at the Rusty Pelican, so you can mark your calendars (do people actually mark calendars these days?)
More details will be forthcoming in the official invitation.
on pictures to enlarge