DALLAS – It's fitting that another major milestone for the Nissan LEAF was created by a family – with the last name "Bolt" – that decided to drive electric.
"We needed a fourth car (with) three drivers, so we started doing the math and it just made sense," said Todd Bolt, a pastor at Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas.
Todd and Lisa Bolt live in Dallas, and their purchase of a Nissan LEAF put the car over the 50,000-sales mark in the U.S.
Dallas is one of the 10 launch markets for "No Charge to Charge," a new promotion that provides two years of no-cost public charging to new LEAF buyers who take delivery of their car after April 1, 2014.
"I think it is a neat milestone, because it brings to the forefront the fact that this is where the trend is going. They are popping up stations everywhere. I think we will top 100,000 LEAF owners soon," said Bolt.
The Bolt family is part of a larger phenomenon when it comes to EV sales: word-of-mouth marketing. Clusters of sales often follow when one person in a family or neighborhood, or in this case a congregation, buys a LEAF.
"I tell everybody about it and they are excited," said Lisa Bolt.
At Gateway Church, some members and staff have embraced this mindset, and LEAFs can now be seen sprinkled through the parking lot.
"We've got 20-plus people here who have LEAFs now. I was telling somebody the other day about being an eVangelist, and I said, ‘name any other car that in one organization you have seen that many (people) embrace,' and here we are with all these LEAFs here," said Todd Lane, Executive Senior Pastor, Gateway Church.
The cost savings in fuel coupled with the drive and handling of the car are reasons for the follow-on sales.
"I really love the way they drive; they are a lot of fun. And overall cost analysis, being a Stewardship Pastor, I wanted the cheapest thing I could find. I can not find any way cheaper to drive than the LEAF," said Gunnar Johnson, Executive Pastor of Stewardship, Gateway Church.
Thanks to enthusiastic owner-advocates, a robust public charging infrastructure and the launch of a successful free charging promotion, Dallas and the state of Texas have become hot growth markets for Nissan LEAF sales.
"In Dallas, I didn't expect this kind of volume in the LEAF, but the product has hit a big home run," said Paul Francis, Executive Manager, AutoNation Nissan of Lewisville.
With this new milestone for the Nissan LEAF, Dallas is poised to climb the ranks of leading LEAF sales markets.
"What we have found in the Dallas market is that it makes a lot of fiscal sense for what they can lease the vehicle for; it is usually equivalent, or even less, than what they are paying for gas on a monthly basis," said Doug McIntosh, Internet sales, AutoNation Nissan of Lewisville.
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