2. Nissan Leaf
A slap in the face of electric car skeptics everywhere, the Leaf launched on schedule in 2011 and impressed just about everyone. It remains an electric car with the obvious drawbacks, including charge time and range anxiety, but with a real-world range of 70 miles it’s a functional daily commuter for a lot of Americans.
As the first mainstream EV, the car’s rollout went off without a hitch – due in part to a massive effort by Nissan to work with local municipalities to ensure proper charging infrastructure was in place. In fact, Nissan was able to accelerate the car’s rollout beyond its initial target markets, arriving in Chicago (its first mid-West sales area) ahead of schedule. The result of all this is that the Leaf is on target to reach its 10,000 unit sales goal in the U.S.
But perhaps the major contributing factor to the Leaf’s success is the car itself. While an EV, it’s not loaded up with excessive compromises. In fact, it’s a very real and reasonably good set of wheels, with a nice mix of comfort and agility, and unlike the Prius it’s not dreadfully slow.