Nissan’s first mass produced all electric car, the Nissan Leaf, is expected to have have at least 20 000 customers in the United States before even hitting showrooms in the third quarter of 2010.
We are confident we will have 20,000 reservations for the Leaf by the time it goes on sale, says Carlos Tavares, Nissan’s chairman for the Americas.
The Nissan Leaf is competing against the Mitsuibshi I-MiEV and the Subaru Stella with all three cars powered only by electricity.
In order for the cars to work in a city environment, a recharging grid must be available to bring the Leaf back to life. In the United States, Nissan has worked with authorities to have the infestructure ready prior to launch. The Leafs delivered to US customers will initially be imported from Japan, but starting in 2012 they will be built in Tennessee where Nissan has invested over USD2.5 billion to manufacture 150 000 Leafs a year and 200 000 lithium ion batteries, starting in late 2012.
The Nissan Leaf’s electric motor is capable of 80 kW and 280 N.m of torque, it will manage 160 km on one full charge, which takes eight hours, however Nissan says a 30 minute charge will still provide a range of around 120 km.
As for South African buyers, no news is available on whether the Leaf will make it to SA. If the infestracture can be put in place to support electric vehicles (EV’s) this may open up the market for a number of manufacturers. However, with electric vehicles typically demanding a price premium at this early stage, South Africa may not have a large enough demand to warrant fully imported EV’s. Now if only we had a locally produced alternative…oh yes, some okes in Cape Town are working on something called the Joule.