Why is this appearing on Slashdot now? Especially with such a misleading headline. The kkk ties were debunked last month. He actually spoke to the Jefferson Heights Civic Association. The kkk associated group used the same conference room later in the day. He had already left by then. And all this is from investigation done by Slate which is a super liberal news blog.
You're right, the Leaf most directly competes with the Volt or even the Prius.
Leaf's biggest problem is their thermal management is under-engineered. Both the Volt and the Tesla have much more thoroughly engineered thermal management systems. It may use up some of the range keeping the battery warm/cool depending on outside conditions but it does a great job keeping the battery from losing half its maximum capacity after only a year.
I remember Coca-Cola looked into credit card readers for their vending machines during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and the credit card fees back then made the concept completely untenable. I'd be willing to bet a buck that this has more to do with their Coca-Cola Freestyle fountains which automatically phone home whenever a flavor cartridge is low or empty. There might be a ridiculously huge rollout all at once of the machines, like at McDonalds. So far they've only been installed at a few test McDonalds and a few other chains that don't have nearly the coverage of McD's.
I'd done the research myself already. Wood is way more expensive than natural gas unless you grow your own... and Trees take a lot of space and time to grow. And thats an awful lot of work to plant them and then harvest them.
I've seen systems that use pellets made from the sawdust swept up from sawmills. That is a lot more cost effective than cut wood.