Nissan Electric Vehicle Initiative collapses in US

Six years ago Nissan were one of only three manufacturers that sold electric vehicles and the LEAF established itself as a leading EV the world over, especially in the USA where sales took off in 2013/14.


US EV Sales First Half 2016  (Charged Magazine) Click to Enlarge

Fast forward six years and we find that in the first half of 2016 Nissan’s electric cars account for just 0.73% of it US sales and now trail other established automakers such as BMW (3.48%), Volvo (2.75%) and GM (0.81%) in selling EV’s in America.

So what happened to cause this fall from grace?

Lack of Choice

Since 2013, Nissan’s electric vehicle program has stood still with no new models coming to market. Even today they still only have one electric vehicle for sale in America, the LEAF. By contrast BMW are selling four plug in vehicles, GM have two for sale with a third (Bolt EV) coming off the assembly line and due on dealer lots by year end. One size does not fit all, not everyone wants a small hatchback.

Other EV manufacturers have vehicles that can go significantly further than the LEAF on a single charge and at a similar price, the LEAF is simply not competitive anymore. If you stand still, you fall behind.

Poor resale values

The Nissan LEAF has the worst resale value of any car bar none. This is a deterrent to new car sales.

Poor Battery Performance

Despite assurances from Nissan that battery deterioration will moderate as the car ages, the LEAF’s have deteriorated continually in the US and by more than any other electric vehicle on the market. Only a  handful of LEAF’s have reached 100,000 miles and all of those vehicles have experienced advanced battery degradation, typically losing 50% of original range. Vehicles from GM and Tesla have driven 150,000 and 200,000 miles respectively and experienced little or no battery degradation or loss of vehicle range.The 200,000 mile Tesla experienced just 6% battery degradation.

By contrast LEAF’s in Europe have fared much better due to the milder climate and sales of the LEAF continue to grow.

The LEAF just can’t take the heat in the US.

With the 2017 Renault Zoe coming to market this year with almost double the LEAF’s 107 mile range, one wonders if the LEAF will still be a hit in Europe. Competition is heating up both sides of the pond.

Low Dealer Inventory

In September 2016 dealer inventory of the LEAF across the US averaged 1,500 units. This is the lowest LEAF inventory in a long time. In December 2014 Nissan sold 3,102 LEAF’s, with just 1,500 on dealer lots today this is simply not possible anymore.

Nissan seem to be retreating from the market. We can only speculate as to why they would reduce inventory.

This entry was posted in Electric Car, Nissan LEAF, Opinion, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Nissan Electric Vehicle Initiative collapses in US

  1. Nate says:

    We’re nearing the end of our 3-year lease on our 2014 Nissan Leaf. While I had always admired the car, it wasn’t until we starting looking for a commuter car and test drove the Leaf (against a Prius and Jetta) that I really fell in love with it. I signed up for a 3-year lease with the intention of getting into the fabled 200-mile, 2017 Leaf which has been rumoured for so long.

    3 years later and I have to say, I still love the Leaf. It’s a great car and I still enjoy driving it every time I get in. However, it is tough to say if another Leaf is a slam-dunk. I’ve signed up for for the Tesla 3 (although I’m not holding my breath to see that anytime soon) and have also heard a lot of good things about the upcoming Chevy Bolt. The 2017 Leaf is out there somewhere, but who knows when it will be released and what it will look like.

  2. David says:

    Just got a 3-year lease on the 2016 LEAF. Definitely a gateway car until the Tesla 3 comes out. That said, the car is doing great so far. Dealer inventory is huge right now (at least on the east side of Seattle (Bellevue/Redmond area). I agree that there has been a lack of variety, but the LEAF is still the best selling/leasing vehicle in the PNW in the market.

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