In less than a year, Nissan-Renault has sold 10,000 units of its all electric vehicle, the Leaf. Globally the automaker has sold 20,000 units, making it the best selling EV in the world. The strong sales prove there is a big and growing market for electric vehicles.
The five seat Leaf has a range of 150 kilometers or 100 miles on a single charge and maximum speed of 150 kmph or 90 mph. The vehicle sells for approximately $28,500.
As a result of the Leaf’s success, Nissan announced that it is planning to produce three more EVs including a van - the eNV200 and a luxury vehicle – the Infiniti EV. The greater variety of vehicles is meant to complement the Leaf, which is considered a mass-market car.
Nissan says it is taking the EV market very seriously and has invested billions in EV designs. The new EV technology, with in-wheel motors, allows for greater variety and completely different architectures than standard gasoline powered vehicles. Nissan, however, is playing it conservatively because it doesn’t want to scare away potential buyers new to EV technology by making outlandish designs.
Since the large lithium batteries used by the Leaf have a limited lifespan, Nissan is already investigating how it can reuse its batteries once they can no longer power the vehicles. One solution being investigated is to use them as an energy storage device for electric companies. During periods of low usage the old batteries could hold excess power and then release it when a power grid’s demand rises.