Nissan has stipulated that the membership be global, but has otherwise given no mandates about who be involved (or not). We're looking at roughly a dozen people to keep things manageable, though that may be adjusted as we see what the needs are and the allocations won't necessarily be equal between regions. Therefore, about six will probably come from the US to start with. The term commitment from both sides will be a year to start, so it's not too onerous for the drivers, and so new folks can be brought in. However, this shouldn't be interpreted as a statement that the group will only last a year; I've not gotten that impression from Nissan, and can't imagine any decision has been made on that front yet.
Nissan will cover any travel costs, but the drivers will not otherwise be financially compensated. I hope to make this a rewarding experience and even a little fun along the way, but can offer little more than the opportunity to help.
Physical meetings will be infrequent given the global nature of the group- maybe once a year, a few conference calls between, and maybe an online (private) space for ongoing discussion. I expect and hope that the regions (esp US) will convene more frequently on an individual basis, though again more likely virtually than physically. However, I'm respectful of the time commitment and would rather make the formal expectations light and have the members want to participate more, than have the reverse. Bottom line is that beyond the most basic framework, we'll sort this part based on what works best for the members once they're on board and the needs of each region.
Communication- I'm aiming for balance here. There's no expectation that anyone promote Nissan or this effort as part of being in the group, or stay silent about your opinions. While it's impossible to guarantee what all we'll accomplish, this is not merely a PR stunt. At the same time, I want to facilitate as much genuine dialogue between Nissan and the group as possible, and that may involve NDA's or similar "cone of silence" agreements around the actual meetings or proprietary information. This type of distinction has worked well for other similar efforts I've seen and been a part of, so I'm hopeful that we can create a framework that's credible and comfortable to both sides.
I have no illusions that everyone will be happy with every member, but my aim is to make the group reasonably diverse and reflective of the community. It's impossible, of course, to cover all the bases with just a dozen or so people. I have some in mind, but I'm happy to take both volunteers and nominations, and I'll outline some idea of what I'm looking for:
First, the big stuff. I'm not looking for people who think that Nissan can do no wrong, nor that they can do no right. I want candor and willingness from both sides to acknowledge what's going wrong, can be better, or need to be made right, but have more interest in the big picture success of the LEAF and EVs than grinding axes. Most drivers I've met fall into this category, but it's still worth saying up front. Similarly, there will intentionally be different perspectives represented and disagreements to be expected...but I'm not above ordering everyone out of the pool if discussions degenerate into personal attacks!
Obviously, I want to include people who are active in this forum, and respected by the members. I also want folks who participate in the other forums, EV sites, facebook, twitter, etc. I know some of you are everywhere, while others specialize and may not be as known to the folks here. But as part of the function of the group will be "eyes and ears" as well as potentially serving to bring different factions of the community together and newer drivers into more experienced forums like this one, I want to make sure we're reasonably active in as many places as is useful and practical.
The other stuff is more obvious and demographic. Diversity in geography and climate. Driving patterns. Lifestyle (no, not too personal!) e.g., a single commuter's perspective and LEAF experience is of course different than the proverbial soccer mom. Leased vs purchased. Technically/engineering inclined vs less so. Other EVs/PHEVs you've had or have. And so on. Again, I know I'm not going to cover it all, but I'm optimistic by nature.
For volunteers and nominations, that's something I could use some help on for those that are inclined. Some of you I know only by screen name, or I've got a decent picture of your "LEAF life" but nothing or very little else about you. Others I know well. Not asking for detailed personal history, of course, but any general bits you want to provide are welcomed.
Apologies for the length of the post, but various members have assured me that too much information is never a bad thing! And this is an appropriately complex mission, so worthy of the discussion. I'm also sure there are things I forgot to mention or haven't thought of, so bring those on too.