Deliveries of the Nissan Leaf haven’t yet begun, but the automaker is already planning its follow-up to the compact EV. In the next four years, Nissan plans to offer an electric-powered Infiniti, an electric powered compact van (to compete with the Ford Transit EV, no doubt), and a Smart-challenging ultra compact urban commuter EV. Despite claims by J.D. Power and Associates that Americans will be slow to embrace EVs, Nissan takes a much more aggressive posture. Collecting some 20,000 pre-orders for the Leaf probably has something to do with that, and Nissan estimates that EV sales will account for 6.5% of the market by 2020. That’s roughly five times the amount forecast by J.D. Power.
A lot rides on the post launch success of the Leaf, and Nissan has been careful to be extremely conservative with their numbers. As long as you don’t use the HVAC system, drive at night or exceed 40 miles per hour, the range appears to be in excess of 100 miles. Should your plans change, however, the Leaf isn’t exactly flexible: recharging on household current takes about 20 hours and recharging on a 240 volt service takes about 8 hours. If you can locate a fast charging station, your depleted battery can be “topped off” to 80% in just 30 minutes; the downside is that repeated use of fast charging stations will deplete battery life.
Clearly, the Leaf isn’t the ideal solution and Nissan has done well to explain its limitations to their potential customer base. You’ve got to start somewhaere, and as pure EVs go, the Nissan Leaf isn’t a bad launching point for a range of electric vehicles.
Source: Detroit News