Nissan hopes changes to Leaf will generate sales
Nissan, hoping to boost disappointing sales for the Leaf electric car, yesterday said it has improved the driving range of its alternative-fuel vehicle by 14 per cent and lowered its price tag. Nissan officials said changes to the remodeled Leaf, shown in Tokyo, were in response to comments from customers who feared their vehicle would run out of electric charge and strand them.
Electric vehicles, including the Leaf, have not caught on as fast as some expected due to concerns over driving range, as well as the lack of a charging infrastructure and customer resistance to paying a higher price premium.
“When technologies employed to cars are still in their first generation, it’s not so easy for customers to try them out. We think that our new pricing and improvement in performance could be key to helping customers switch to electric vehicles,” said Leaf engineer Hidetoshi Kadota.
The remodelled Leaf can run 228km (140 miles) when fully charged, up from around 200km. Nissan officials said the car has shed some 80kg (180 pounds) through powertrain rearrangement and a lighter lithium-ion battery structure.The driving range with use of air conditioner has also improved from 120km in the first-generation model, executives said, though they declined to give a specific figure.
Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn has acknowledged that achieving the goal to double global Leaf sales this fiscal year to about 40,000 will be difficult. The revised model goes on sale in the US early next year but no date has been set for Europe.