When Nissan began taking reservations for the Leaf all-electric car in April 2010, Greg Tyler was among the first to plop down the $99 fee. Nineteen months later, the 59-year-old college professor was handed the keys.
"The Leaf was the most reasonably priced mass-market vehicle available," said Tyler, of upstate New York, who calls himself "very satisfied" with his purchase.
Tyler is an early adopter, the sort of shopper that's essential to any company with high-tech products. But early adopters face the inevitability of next-gen products doing more and costing less. It happens with consumer electronics all too often. Remember Apple's iPhone 3GS? It used to run at least $199 with a cellphone contract. Two iPhone generations later, the 3GS is free with a contract.
It's a small disappointment for consumer electronics shoppers, whose old gadgets end up as often in storage as they do on Craigslist. But resale value is serious business for car shoppers — and as fast as you can say "electric vehicle," advancements have already rolled out.