Nissan Leaf takes the lead from Chevrolet Volt in the EV sales race

Article by Christian Andrei, on July 5, 2011

In the sales race of rechargeable cars, the Leaf from Nissan Motor Co. took the lead for the first half of 2011 from General Motors Co.'s plug-in Chevy Volt (which topped in May).

The Leaf is the first mass-produced electric car to be offered in the U.S. In an interview, Al Castignetti, Nissan's vice president of U.S. sales, said that through June, Leaf sales totaled 3,875. Last June, Nissan sold a record 1,708 units.

On the other hand, GM revealed that it sold 561 units of the plug-in Chevrolet Volt in June and sold a total of 2,745 in the first half. Castignetti said that Nissan had aimed for growth each month, a pace that has quickened ever since production has normalized. He said that Nissan is catching up with the reservations.

As part of Nissan’s strategy to become the world's largest seller of electric autos, it is increasing Leaf output after a slow start in 2010.

Nissan and partner Renault SA have invested $6 billion for battery vehicles. CEO Carlos Ghosn forecasts that cars will make up about 10% of global industry sales by 2020. Nissan predicts that it will be able to sell up to 12,000 Leafs in the U.S. for 2011.

No timetable was disclosed but Nissan expects that Leaf annual sales will reach 200,000 units in the U.S. The car has a base price of around $33,000 (before a $7,500 federal tax credit). The plug-in Volt has a starting price of $41,000 (before the government incentive).

Nissan LEAF has a modern and well-carried out front styling. The sharp V-shaped design has upswept LED headlights that use a blue reflective design. The headlights hint at how special the Nissan LEAF is, while also splitting and redirecting air flow so that they do not hit your door mirrors. That effectively reduces drag and wind noises.

Another good news is that the new LED headlights only use up around 10 percent of electricity, compared to traditional lamps. That helps the Nissan LEAF provide more power out of its battery life and give customers unparalleled range autonomy.

Getting in, you would find bright trim colors to help liven up your mood. The stylish and eye-catching cabin has blue highlights on the dashboard as well as instrument lights helping it follow the car’s overall color theme, blue earth, which in turn takes its cue from the first Nissan LEAF model.

Round the Clock Information and More

Nissan LEAF has an advanced IT system that is hooked up to a global data center. The exclusive IT system is able to give you information, support, data and entertainment 24/7.

A monitor mounted on the dashboard tells the driver how much power is remaining. And if you are running low on power, you could also check out the charging stations nearest you so that you could recharge. Right on the same screen.

With an electronic vehicle like the Nissan LEAF, you might want the convenience of being able to control air-conditioning and adjust charging functions using a mobile phone. This is possible even with the power down. You will also love the remote controlled timer that you have on-board that allows you to pre-program your battery recharges.

Tooru ABE, Nissan’s chief product specialist, relates that the IT system is what sets the Nissan LEAF apart from competitors. Calling it “a critical advantage,” Abe explained that the company envisioned the LEAF to be the driver’s partner as well as a great tool for passengers. Apart from that, Abe also reiterated Nissan’s push to come up with a vehicle that would contribute to a zero-emission community. He also emphasized that the IT features are a crucial part to making that happen.

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