New Leaf Owners Shun Publicity
The Leaf comes to Kuala Lumpur and here’s what MAC has to say about it.
Well, love them or loathe them, it doesn’t matter because Edaran Tan Chong Motors (ETCM) has started to deliver the very first all-electric plug-in vehicle in Malaysia, and now we will all have to live with the glorified golf cart as we try to navigate the ever crowded streets of our metropolis. The arrival of the first Nissan Leafs has been the subject of much media attention, both advertising and genuine media curiosity. In fact, for the past 6 months, ETCM has been building the Nissan Leaf brand via a Journey to Zero Emissions ambassador campaign that was even featured on national news amongst other more conventional advertisements.
When it came to handing over the keys for the first couple of Nissan Leafs, ETCM was hoping for some more good PR pieces for the press, but it didn’t go as planned with the first 2 Leaf owners turning out to be camera shy. These 2 customers, one of whom even declined to give his name, were at ETCM’s Petaling Jaya branch, just west of Malaysia’s capital, to take delivery of their brand new ‘pride and joy’s, where they received detailed operational briefs on how to operate the vehicle before taking to the streets.
One of the new owners, who was identified as Mr Mun, was widely quoted in a number of newspapers as saying, “My family and I are very eco-conscious which explains why we were very excited when we got to know that the Nissan Leaf was finally available in the country.” The first Leaf owner, who seemed to be overexcited about the ownership of a golf cart, also said, “My family practises recycling as part of our lifestyle and we even collect rainwater to water our plants, clean the house, wash our clothes as well as clean our cars.”
Mun, who is described as the Director of an eco-orientated company, believes that the new Leaf would contribute to lowering the company’s expenditure. He explained, “I will be getting my employees to utilise this LEAF as a company car as it is definitely cost-saving – there is no need to stop for petrol top-ups and no more worries about increases in fuel prices either! It feels good to know that we are doing something to contribute to the betterment of the environment. The best part about the Leaf is that it produces zero-emissions which is definitely kind to the environment.”
Normally the Leaf comes with one EV charger, but Mun is believed to be installing 2, one at home and the other at his office. Currently there are some 15 public charging stations around Kuala Lumpur and some other key locations in Malaysia, which currently can be used for free. It is not all plain sailing though – on my last 2 visits to Bangsar Shopping Centre, where one of the charging stations is, I found the station but there was a non-electric vehicle parked there. Of course, you may also turn up only to find that someone else is already charging in the space.
In Malaysia, the Leaf has gone on sale for a price of RM168 800, a shade over USD52 000. This is quite a lot more than the advertised price of a Leaf in the USA which ranges between USD21 000 and USD27 000, obviously depending on the package options. Nissan claims that the battery pack is good for 195 kilometres of motoring bliss, but most tests that I have read have not achieved anything like those figures, the most famous perhaps being on BBC’s Top Gear programme, which resulted in Jeremy Clarkson and James May being stranded in Lincoln for a number of hours and the final announcement by the pair that “electric cars are not the future.” (video below).
Top Gear Nissan Leaf from CollinsArchive on Vimeo.