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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 SublimeSimplicity on 1/10/2013 1:16:48 PM , Rating: 2
If I was single, there's no way I'd buy a BEV. They're strictly 2nd vehicle commuter cars at the moment. The Tesla Model S + supercharging stations is the first BEV that's viable as a household's only car. At over $100k, it limits its market in other ways :)

Produce a Model S spec'd car for a LEAF's price tag and hybrids will become a very small market share.


RE: Good
By Mint on 1/11/2013 5:53:22 AM , Rating: 2
That a major technological breakthrough away. I think BEVs face a huge uphill battle against PHEV for the mainstream.

Take a Leaf, and for maybe $3k you can add a simple 30hp engine along with a generator (the engine is <$1k online). Cruising on the highway at 75mph needs <25 hp, so this is enough for you to drive long distance, and as long as the batteries are held around 10%, they can drain temporarily for extra power during passing or going up a hill.

It'll only be used when exceeding 70 miles per day, which should only be maybe 15% of annual mileage (during which maybe you average 25MPG for this cheapo solution). So you get 80-90% of the fuel savings of the Model S but only need 1/3rd of the battery capacity plus $3k.

It's going to be next to impossible for BEVs to overcome this. I don't foresee technology ever allowing us to triple the Leaf's battery for only a few thousand dollars.


RE: Good
By NotTarts on 1/12/2013 8:18:20 PM , Rating: 2
You can actually pick up a Model S with supercharging capability for around $72k before the tax credit. Not exactly cheap, but not over $100k either :)


"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard














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