We needed a new panel as well, the first bid was about 3000 above and beyond the included 1200, so we asked ecotality to send us a new contractor for another bid. The new bid was 400 out of pocket after the 1200 credit. The work was completed last Thursday and we couldn't be happier.
your friend will need to keep in mind that the electicians will need to coordinate with the electrical company to shut down the service during the upgrade and that scheduling took 2 weeks for us in Phoenix. If he goes forward with the LEAF, he might be charging on 110 for a while.