Renault and Nissan are unlikely to achieve a goal of selling a combined 1.5 million electric vehicles by 2016, according to the chief executive of both carmakers, Carlos Ghosn. He said that Nissan has sold just 62,000 Leafs since its debut in late 2010. As for Renault’s four electric cars, the carmaker has only sold 24,688 units of them through April 2013.
The combined sales of those electric vehicles would not be enough to achieve the target that Ghosn announced in 2011 – to sell 1.5 million units by the end of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017. According to Ghosn, the carmaker will reach the target but maybe not on the original timetable.
He reiterated the 1.5 million EV sales target but admitted it would be difficult to achieve in 2016. To increase its EV sales, Nissan plans to launch three more models by 2016, including an electric version of the NV200 van. The carmaker has launched low-trim, entry-level variants of the Leaf to capture a lower price point.
In March 2013, Nissan commence producing the Leaf for European markets at its Sunderland plant in the United Kingdom. According to Nissan, it has implemented 100 changes to the Leaf, like increasing its range from 175 km to 199km.
Nissan also made changes to the EV’s suspension to bring the driving dynamics "more in tune with European tastes." Nissan has managed to trim the Leaf's manufacturing costs by a third.
One of the carmaker’s strategies to trim production cost is changing the material of the Leaf’s door from more expensive aluminum doors to less-expensive steel. According to David Moss, Nissan's head of vehicle design and development, said that transferring the charger assembly under the hood cut the Leaf’s weight by 30kg.