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Nissan Leaf  (Source: nissanusa.com)
It will produce the Leaf in Tennessee starting Thursday

Nissan didn't manage to meet its goals for 2012, but the auto company is looking forward to a better 2013 by starting Leaf production in the United States.

Nissan announced that it will begin Leaf production at a new plant in Smyrna, Tennessee this Thursday. It will build the Leaf and gasoline vehicles in this plant, while building batteries at a separate plant next door.

The plant is the result of a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) loan for $1.4 billion in 2010. According to the DOE, Nissan can build up to 150,000 Leafs and 200,000 batteries annually at the Tennessee plants.

Nissan added that the new plants have created over 300 manufacturing jobs. In 2010, the DOE expected that both projects would create about 1,300 jobs. Nissan said the number of jobs is expected to increase over time.


Nissan's Leaf had a tough time last year as far as sales and performance goes. In July 2012, Leaf owners in Arizona complained that their EVs were losing significant battery capacity in the desert's hot heat. Nissan responded by basically saying that this was normal, and promised more open communication with owners of the Leaf EV.

Later, Nissan had to admit that it wasn't going to hit its sales mark for 2012, which was 20,000 Leafs. However, it only sold 9,819 Leafs for the whole year -- less than half of its goal, and only 1.5 percent higher than the number it sold in 2011.

Nissan had even more ambitious goals back in 2010 when it announced that it would sell 500,000 EVs per year by the end of 2013. However, in October 2012, Nissan saw the reality of its sales and adjusted that number to 1.5 million EVs sold cumulatively by 2016.

Source: The Detroit News



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RE: Good
By CharonPDX on 1/10/2013 10:11:58 AM , Rating: 2
"afraid of rising electricity costs"?

Let's assume you have a short/medium-length city commute of 10 miles each way.

A Prius, getting 50 miles per gallon, at $3.00 per gallon of gas, will cost you $24 per month. (20 work days.)

A Leaf is rated at 34 kWh/100 miles. Electricity prices in the US vary wildly, from about 6 cents per kWh to about 20 cents per kWh. So yes, in the most expensive part of the country (Hawaii,) a Leaf will cost more than a Prius per mile. But everywhere else (including second-and-third-most-expensive states NY and AK,) the Leaf will be cheaper (At NY's current rate, is a draw.) In the vast majority of the country, the Leaf will be a clear winner, with my location (Portland, OR) coming in at about $10 per month. If I were to use more expensive 100% renewable power, it would come to $15 per month.

As for the battery swapping, yeah, the Leaf doesn't have this easily. The Tesla S does, with Tesla saying that they will create "battery swap centers" where you can bring your car in and either have your battery swapped out with a fresh fully charged one of equal capacity for a small fee (they hinted it should be about as much as filling up with an equivalent amount of gas,) or swap out for a larger battery, leasing the larger battery for slightly more (to take longer trips, for example.)

And they're trying to make it a VERY fast swap process, automated, so that you could pull in, swap, and leave in less time than filling a gas car. The idea would be to have these spaced close enough that you can do true long distance driving, with stops approximately equal in length to using a gas car. (I haven't checked to see the status of how far along they are in this process, though.)


RE: Good
By Spuke on 1/10/2013 11:10:20 AM , Rating: 2
It's interesting how everyone's numbers are different. I have a longer commute and I live in CA. My figures, which I don't have handy, were a LOT more for an EV than an alternate gas car. Did you figure in the costs of each car you were considering? Maintenance? Insurance? Repairs? I was able to justify a hybrid Fusion and Camry but ended up getting a BMW X1 instead (car is for the wife and a BMW is her dream car). Still saved money over the diesel pickup truck she was driving before.


RE: Good
By conquistadorst on 1/11/2013 9:19:47 AM , Rating: 2
I was just in Hawaii for a few weeks. While I am sure there are some, I did not personally see a single EV my entire vacation. This really surprised me because they had wind generators and solar panels on every home galore. And yes, I drove ~700 miles so I spent a good deal of time on the road and not just in the parks and beaches. After weighing the costs, it really made perfect sense to never see an EV because an increased cost to electricity makes an EV uneconomical from every angle. I agree with CharonPDX, rising electricity costs would completely annihilate the EV market. ***UNLESS*** gas prices also rose proportionally which also cannot be denied as a possibility.

Also, unfortunately, your math may be a little off because it does not include delivery costs from the utility. In some bills, the "delivery charges" can account to nearly half the bill which includes both flat rate and a per KWH costs.


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