Here's the story: We got our 2012 Leaf back in October & love it. Our in-laws came up from SoCal to stay with us over the holidays, and we had a lot of fun showing off the Leaf for them. My mother in law in particular was excited about the car, and in general just really interested in learning more about it. We talked about what we love: never paying for gas, all the cool "techie" features, how quiet and smooth the car is. We mentioned the great deal we got on our lease. We were also upfront with the limitations, mainly range, and we did charge at public stations a few times (and have to switch out to our ICE car once) while they were here. They headed back down south and my MIL said she was going to start tracking her mileage to see if the Leaf would work for her.
Fast forward ~3 months, and my MIL's Honda is looking like it will need some major repairs that may not be cost effective. She calls up one of the Nissan dealers down in San Diego, and emails me with excitement that, "They told me they increased the range to 102 miles and decreased the charging time to 4.5 hours!" Now, she is a smart lady, but she is not the type to be hunting down real-world figures on message board such as this one. I want to be an advocate for the Leaf, but I also do have hesitations about if it would really be the right second car for them (their other car would be a large Ford van that eats gas and isn't very comfortable). They are retired and pretty active, and the types of day trips possible on theoretical "102-mile range" and actual 2013 Leaf SoCal freeway range would be quite different. Leaf would probably get her 90% of her trips, but the other 10% might be quite annoying, require renting a car, etc.
I'm glad she is coming to me for advice on this (and I'm going to advise her to look at a range (haha.."range") of options, including the PIP and Volt), but I just feel kind of bummed that the Nissan dealers don't seem to be really truthful about what the range means. Yes, it may have been improved, but you aren't going to get 102 miles in typical San Diego freeway driving at 70 MPH+. People need to know that to make the decision about if the Leaf is right for them -- and I am disappointed that ~3 years into the Leaf journey we are still seeing this lack of clarity from dealers. As much as I would love to see her get a Leaf, I would rather her not get one if she is going to run into trouble with it.
Okay -- rant over! As a follow up question, thoughts on PIP vs. Volt for someone who takes occasional trips of 50-60 miles each way on the weekends like my MIL?