The Nissan Leaf is the world’s best-selling electric car ever, and has now passed yet another sales landmark with the production of the 300,000th model since its launch back in 2010.
The electric car market is still much smaller than Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn predicted it would be a few years ago – he was talking about 1.5 million total sales of Renault and Nissan EVs by 2020 – but the total figure is nevertheless impressive and has helped give Nissan a growing competitive advantage in the electric car market.
The Leaf EV was the world’s first mass-production all-electric car and Nissan is currently rolling out the second-generation model. Deliveries of the new model begin in the United States, Canada and Europe later this month.
“These numbers prove that the Nissan Leaf remains the most advanced car in the world, with the widest reach and the greatest availability,” said Nissan executive vice president Daniele Schillaci.
“The new Nissan Leaf is the icon of Nissan Intelligent Mobility because it delivers an even more exciting drive and enhanced ownership experience and contributes to a better world. It will take Nissan’s EV leadership even further.”
Rivals are currently outselling the Leaf in key markets as Nissan replaces the original with the second-generation car. In the U.S, for example, the electric Chevrolet Bolt has a clear advantage. Nissan will be determined to overhaul this as the new car rolls out.
The Leaf still has a big overall sales advantage over other big-hitting electric cars, though. The Tesla Model S, for example, boasts sales of just over 200,000 units, and the launch of the high-volume Leaf-rivalling Tesla Model 3 continues to be beset by problems.
Tesla production is improving, with the firm selling more than 100,000 cars a year for the first time in 2018. But volumes of the crucial Model 3 are still way below target, and officials say they will now not reach the goal of 5,000 units a week (around 250,000 cars a year) until the second quarter of 2018.
The firm has long said it would be building 500,000 cars a year by 2018.
In the UK, Nissan recently revealed full prices for the new Leaf. Including the £4,500 government grant, it costs from £21,990 for the base-level Visia model, with a special 2.Zero launch version priced at £26,490. Ordering is open now and deliveries begin in February 2018. Nissan calculates this is actually around £1,500 less than the old car.
As with the first car, the latest Leaf is built in the UK. With a 50 percent greater electric range of 235 miles, and a 38 percent power boost to 150hp, the firm is expecting a corresponding lift in sales; how many years will it be until we mark the half-million production landmark of the latest Leaf?
Maybe sooner rather than later; with alternative fuel cars taking almost 5 percent of the UK new car market in 2017, another prediction of Carlos Ghosn – that EVs would account for 10 percent of the worldwide car market by 2020 – perhaps doesn’t seem so far-fetched after all…