Volt Sales Steady in July 2012, LEAF Still In Slump

By · August 01, 2012


Nissan reported that sales of its electric LEAF checked in at only 395 units in July 2012. That compares to 535 sales in June 2012, but is a big drop from the 931 LEAFs sold in July 2011. Nissan's low volume of LEAF sales over the past few months could make it very difficult for the automaker to hit its goal of 20,000 units by the end of Fiscal Year 2012 (March, 31 2013).

On the other hand, sales of the Chevy Volt increased a bit with General Motors reporting it sold 1,849 units in July 2012, edging up from 1,760 units in June 2012. If we flip the calendar back to July 2011, we see that General Motors sold only 125 Chevy Volts a year ago.

In terms of 2012 year-to-date numbers, the tally for the Nissan LEAF now checks in at 3,543 units. Meanwhile, the 2012 YTD results for the Chevy Volt ring in at 10,666 units. Last year at this exact time, General Motors' year-to-date Volt sales stood at 2,870 units and Nissan's mark for the LEAF was 4,806 units.

Toyota reported that it sold 688 Prius Plug-in Hybrids in July. That's a slight drop from last month. In terms of year-to-date numbers—February through the end of July—sales of the Prius Plug-in now stand at 5,021 units.


· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

and Coda Automotive, Fisker Automotive, and Tesla Motors refuse to report monthly deliveries of their low-volume electric vehicles.
wonder why ?

· hxp417 (not verified) · 5 years ago

You already answered your question - because it's "low-volume".

· Volt Owner (not verified) · 5 years ago

I have the latest sales numbers on my blog at voltowner.blogspot.com

· · 5 years ago

What about Ford? They have started to report monthly sales of the Focus Electric. Are the July numbers available from Ford?

· Volt Owner (not verified) · 5 years ago

Sales figures on my website, http://voltowner.blogspot.com

If this is a double post, I apologize.

· · 5 years ago

I really wonder if Nissan hasn't dropped the ball on marketing the LEAF. They were reportedly considering offering a couple of weeks' free 'rental' to LEAF buyers. The big truth behind a car like the LEAF is that most buyers won't need more range than the LEAF has right now. Why couldn't Nissan compensate its dealers for offering that free rental? That's not a privilege most people are going to abuse, if only because of the hassle of picking up the car. People who genuinely do need a car with a range greater than the LEAF's more than say two weeks are not really potential LEAF customers anyhow. People who might think they don't but discover they do may end up buying two cars rather than relinquishing their LEAFs if they can afford it.

Nissan has already given up some lease income that might have financed the cost of such a program - which might help their dealers sell used or even new cars. The lower lease price might be a good idea to help people take the plunge without the fear of making a $30,000 mistake. Maybe even offer a one year lease? IMHO once people have driven one they are going to be extremely reluctant to let it go.

· · 5 years ago

From the Tesla news: " In order to meet that goal, the company will have to increase its weekly output from its current level of 10 cars per week to at least 375 per week by October."

So Tesla sold about 50 "Model S" in July.

· · 5 years ago

They will maybe stop leaf production as they probably lose a lot of money with this.

· Frank the Volt Owner (not verified) · 5 years ago

USA! USA! USA! USA! Love my Volt!

· · 5 years ago

Once again, I'm left begging for international sales numbers. The Leaf is a world car. Despite our ego-centrism, the US is not the only country in the world. Are we getting the lion's share of the Leafs, or just the leftovers? If I had to guess (which I do, because I never see it reported), I would assume that sales in Japan are much higher than in the US due to exchange rates. Is it really a sales "slump" if no cars are being delivered to US customers?

Also, if a car is named after something you find in the woods, and the manufacturer never advertises it, does anyone know it exists? (How does Nissan expect to sell a car they still don't advertise?)

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

i want a leaf and cant get one...those sales are misgiving because we cant get them here in canada without waiting for months on end or years

· Al Blunt (not verified) · 5 years ago

It's most likely because anyone interested in the leaf has one. Also the dealers themselves don't have faith in the vehicle. I leased one and can't even depend on it for a range of what I need which is 76 miles round trip. Yes I got on board, but if this car can't charge up to 100 miles,and every incline subtracts between 3-6 miles and when you charge inside your garage the solar panel can't possible charge-up so that unknowing the motor has to power everything . And don't turn on the headlights at night otherwise as I found out you will lose at least 15-30 miles. And did I mention that Eco mode appears to do very little for actual range, and all the while I haven't dared turned on any a.c. For cooling. And that's for now; so don't even think about using the heat. And in closing Nissan help knows nothing more about the leaf than the buyer, and that's ditto for the local salesperson and the Tech department . No offense just the facts from where I stand .

· · 5 years ago

@Al Blunt,
You're right that the Leaf won't do 76 miles reliably with any extra or climate control. Assume the Leaf will do 40 to 50 miles on a charge and you'll be fine. Any more and you'll have to fully charge it every time which will impact the battery life and/or you'll have to hypermile everywhere. If you do have a 76 mile regular round trip, look into getting charging at your destination. It is a lot cheaper to add a charger than more batteries and you can do that today. A car with more battery will cost more, whenever it becomes available.
I disagree with your assessment about the headlights. You shouldn't notice them at all - they're LED. The heater and A/C definitely does take a few miles off of your range though as do hills and fast driving.
I also agree that Nissan's tech support is disappointing. The voices on the phone sound sincere but know little and apparently have little or no contact with anyone who knows, cares, or can do anything. I don't think Nissan has even been far-sighted enough to give each of them a Leaf to live with so they can actually become experts.

· · 5 years ago

@ex-EV1 driver - In my experience "40 to 50 miles on a charge" is WAY too conservative. I have been taking my LEAF on 60 mile round trips up and down a mountain with a 6000 foot elevation gain and with the AC running when it was 100 degrees outside. At the end of the trip I always have at least three bars left on the charge gauge.

@Al Blunt - I'm guessing you know enough about the LEAF not to go by the estimate of remaining miles. It may work well enough if those remaining miles are just like the ones you have already traveled. But it is almost worthless if there are hills involved. Yes, the heater IS a problem. Could that be fixed with a firmware upgrade that would allow a driver to turn the damned heater completely OFF?

· · 5 years ago

I agree, Brian, that U.S.-only sales numbers, as presented in these monthly boilerplate roundups, don't tell the whole story. But I won't rant and complain about it, like I did last month.

Speaking of TV commercials, this is when we're seeing all the late summer clearance sale ones on the tube. This item, with all these entirely-too-perky people in golf shirts hopping around and singing incessantly, is Nissan's. Notice the Leaf off to the right in some of the shots . . .


Ford's rollout of the Focus EV is glacial. I know a guy here in Tucson who's had a deposit down since early spring and they keep telling him "any month now." His tax break will go away if he doesn't get something this calender year. Not being a range nut, he really wants a pure EV and chose Ford because he also wants something made in America. The Focus EV, beyond having the nameplate, is also actually built in the U.S. But he'll go with the Japanese in the next few months, if the American's can't/won't provide him with a pure EV by the end of 2012. He tells me the Mitsubishi i is already available at one Phoenix dealership and he's considered getting one of those. However it plays out, he'll have either the first Focus EV or the first i in Tucson before too long.

· Modern Marvel Fan (not verified) · 5 years ago

Well, the Leaf battery problem (heat related in AZ, TX and Southern CA) and Charger problems are both affecting the sales. In fact, all Japanese design their EVs with air cooling only... Puzzling. All American designs are liquid cooled.

· robster (not verified) · 5 years ago

For the Netherlands (17 mln people), the following number of ev’s received their licence plates in July:

* Nissan Leaf 10 (1 in July 2011) and cumulative 140 (109 in 2011)
* Opel Ampera 195 (0), 1476 (0)
* Tesla 1 (2), 18 (33)
* Chevrolet volt 20 (0), 119 (0)
* Fisker Karma 6 (0), 118 (0)

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

I wanted the Leaf, I drove the Leaf, but I could not see paying over 30K for a car that's barely worth 20K in my opinion, so I'm still looking.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

I wanted the Leaf, I drove the Leaf, but I could not see paying over 30K for a car that's barely worth 20K in my opinion, so I'm still looking.

· · 5 years ago

@Brian Schwerdt and Benjamin Nead,

The Volt/Ampera is outing everything else in Europe and Canada as well. The Leaf to my knowledge only outsells the Volt/Ampera in it's home turf of Japan.

· · 5 years ago


It doesn't surprise me to hear that the Volt/Ampera is outselling the Leaf, here or anywhere. It will appeal to a much wider audience. I am curious about the actual sales numbers of the Leaf. Maybe we could break it down into Americas/Europe/Asia?

@ Benjamin Nead,

I have been closely watching every Nissan commercial for the Leaf. It used to be that you can't even find a Leaf in the background. Interestingly, they now seem to be popping up, but still never actually advertised. I've heard others talk of advertisements in CA/AZ. I've even seen billboards myself while traveling in AZ and TX. But here in NY, I have never seen the car directly advertised. What infuriates me the most is the current Altima commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AM3srC7_t7U. Why on earth is this commercial NOT for the Leaf?

· · 5 years ago

You're probably assuming you do a full charge in order to get 3 bars after a 6000 ft elevation ascent and descent. I would believe that, however, I don't recommend that on a daily basis since it involves a full charge and discharge every day. You only want to charge to 80% every day and don't want to discharge to zero bars every day.
The other difference is that since I do my ascent at the end of the journey, I don't get the benefit of the stored potential energy of the ascent. I have been at "bingo fuel" after a 40 mile quick drive home from an 80% charge on a very hot day.
I will stick with my 40 to 50 miles of worry free ICE-equivalent range for a Leaf. Anything more I'll say is certainly possible but is likely to lead to range anxiety since it won't necessarily hold for average freeway speeds over 70 mph with A/C, steep hills, and battery preservation techniques.

· Al Blunt (not verified) · 5 years ago

To ex-ev1 driver and world2 Steven thanks for the responses but I'm only reporting what I'm noticing. No I've never had the climate control on as I knew of its draining the battery. And yes ex-Ev1 driver I used to drive a Dodge Ram 1500, and currently l lease a Toyota Prius c so I hypermile all the time now that someone has coined a name for driving frugal. Also I don't speed as the roads that I travel on are rated for 45-55 mph. Using the leaf I stay at such speeds knowing the capabilities of the vehicle Hopefully you're right ex-Ev1 driver concerning the led headlights however again during a 25-30 mile 1 way trip the bars used were 3. During the return at night same 25-30 miles with headlights on 5 bars were used. Also during my journeys of 70-78 miles round trip when the bars remaining dipped into the last 2 remaining and at times showing 1 remaining never once has the low fuel gauge or any other warnings popped up, and yes in the settings menu everything for these notifications are swiitched to on.
Maybe someone can help me understand the concept of how this vehicle could possibly reach around 99 miles per charge when charging it up using the trickle charger it varies considerably, sometimes it's 74,75, and 85. And yes I know that it's stated so in the manual about this. But let's be honest a battery charge of 74-85 will only give you just that per miles not 100 or even 90 and that's without climate control or any ascending hills which anyone is bound to travel on; in any highway,freeway or street traveled. Again not an attack on anyone just looking for an education; after all the best help is right here certainly not at the Nissan dealership. Thanks in advance.

· Al Blunt (not verified) · 5 years ago

Ex-ev1 driver you're right the easiest way is to top up around the 50 mile mark, and that's not too much of a problem.
And world Steven my reaming miles seem to be okay in conjunction with the bars remaining Depending upon recharge amount say 75 I'm averaging about 7.5 per bar and I've noticed this because I reset my odometer to 0 every trip and they pretty much match up when usage of those miles

· · 5 years ago

I'm going to guess, Brian, that Nissan won't put out a dedicated Leaf TV ad until it's ready to launch the 2013 model year in December. They can always recast that Altima ad with a Leaf. I've seen that sort of thing done before in TV commercials campaigns.

· · 5 years ago

So why Volt outsells LEAF?

In my opinion one of the biggest reasons is despite LEAF much lower purchase price and much lower maintenance cost Volt provides an unlimited range. On average people drive Volt in electric mode 66% of the time so their gasoline use is 111 MPG.
111 MPG is very good and is 4.625 times better than 24 MPG average so Volt feel conscience good enough about their very low gasoline consumption while at the same time they have unlimited range car.

I think should produce EREV as soon as possible - their battery cost is very low so they can make an inexpensive one.

· · 5 years ago

Despite LEAF low sales Nissan is already a winner!
Their market share is up 8%! from year 2009 (7.4%) to now (8%). Halo green car effect?
In my opinion LEAF had an influence here.
Toyota sales went up a lot since they introduced Prius. It creates a positive image of the company that tries to produce green cars.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

Dual energy source is clearly a winning idea -- now we need more innovation and competition in this field. Just the security of having a power back-up is priceless. http://bit.ly/M6qF9A

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

Dual energy source is clearly a winning idea -- now we need more innovation and competition in this field. Just the security of having a power back-up is priceless. http://bit.ly/M6qF9A

· · 5 years ago

Still think the whole hybrid/range-extender idea, anonymous, is interim technology. Not bad technology, but a stepping stone. Batteries are already good enough, range wise, for much of our real world transportation needs. Many who it would work for either don't know that yet . . . or they do know, but can't currently afford it.

It won't be too terribly long - a few years, perhaps - before we'll have mainstream priced 125 mile EVs. At about that time, the first set of radiator hoses, fan belts, ERG valves and mufflers will start requiring attention on the now-new gas/electric cars. The simplicity of battery-only vehicles will be more appreciated as the years roll on.

All that said, I think the Volt is a step in the right direction. Note that it is now becoming a political punching bag again . . .


· EVlvr (not verified) · 5 years ago

Range is only one issue with BEVs. Long periods of downtime for recharging the battery is another important negative that decreases their utility window. Average Joe would not see spending upwards of $30k for a car with these constraints.

I agree that BEVs are the ultimate endpoint, but their time is not now and quite likely won't be for a while. Meanwhile we will have to depend upon extended range EVs like the Volt to establish a permanent market segment for battery electric cars and hopefully trucks. Their success is necessary to push battery technology forward to the eventual point where range and recharging time are no longer the issues they are with today's BEVs.

That's going to take a while, so in the meantime I am going to root for the Volts and Energis to find many happy buyers.

· · 5 years ago

"Long periods of downtime for recharging the battery is another important negative that decreases their utility window. Average Joe would not see spending upwards of $30k for a car with these constraints."

Average Joe (and/or Jane) drives home - even after a "big night on the town" - to the house and plugs the car in before hitting the sack (otherwise known as the "utility window") for around 7 to 8 hours. Joe or Jane steps outside to unplug in the morning, goes back in to fix breakfast and cleans up for the day. Then, one of them leaves for work with fully charged batteries (the other, alas, in a vehicle spewing fumes) and with almost double the range one could possibly use for another busy day running errands after work. We're even "slumming it" with 110V exclusively at home and at night, while I use the borrowed Leaf for the next couple of weeks.

Day 2 of this mind-boggling constraining technological insanity, True, I couldn't afford to front the 30 grand to get in the door as a new owner. But I could easily adapt in every other way . . . including the savings accrued of not ever having to buy gasoline again.

· · 5 years ago

From the Internet:
"Ford Focus Electrics, the actual total was a mere 38." :(

But on cars.com there are only 135 Ford Focus Electric available nation wide.

It looks like Ford does not want to produce Focus Electric in big numbers :(

· EVlvr (not verified) · 5 years ago

@BenjaminN: Yes you could adapt to the car's limits but Average Joe would not want to try given all the choices out there which are familiar to him are improvements over what he has now, and do not put him into a position of having to adapt.

B.N., I guess a difference between you and me is your higher level of faith in Average Joe to do what you and me find is the right choice. Me - I see Joe as one who adheres to the old rule: 'if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it'. A BEV is too extreme of an investment, it goes beyond the incremental limits of change Joe would be willing to accept.

The consistent low sales of the Leaf suggests my take on Average Joe is correct. The extended range Volt would catch his attention first because it is more of an incremental step than the Leaf in that it can be driven as far as any car he is used to.

I guess what I am saying is, we need to think like a batter going up to the plate - the smart ones do not swing for the fences every time they come to bat. Full BEVs are still striking out with the mass market buyer. However the extended range EVs like the Volt are catching on. If that's the route we need to take to carve a permanent spot for EVs in the automobile market, then let's take it and win the game in the end.

· · 5 years ago

Actually, EVlvr, I probably have less faith in our figurative Average Joe than you do. Average Joe isn't even debating Volt vs. Leaf at this point. It's "Above Average Joe" who is doing that.

A much larger concern of mine than range anxiety is where, exactly, our oil is increasingly coming from. Even if a range extender EV (REEV) uses far less gasoline than an ICE or even a conventional hybrid, the available oil is far dirtier than what was being used just a few years ago and it's far more energy intensive to refine. In a few years, that 100mpg REEV will be just as ecologically dirty as a 25mpg ICE of today.

The following is a portion of an interview Ira Flatow conducted with author Andrew Blackwell yesterday on NPR's Science Friday program. The complete transcript can be found here . . .


What Blackwell does is visit some of the most polluted places on the planet and write a tour guide of sorts. The extracted portion, below describes what he found in the oil tar sand fields of northern Canada . . .


FLATOW: . . . You also visited a place many people have not heard of much about, that's Fort McMurray, Canada, and the oil sands.

BLACKWELL: Yeah. I mean, a lot of people have heard about the oil sands, of course tar sands they're sometimes called. It's this kind of unconventional source of oil that Canada has in spates in Northern Alberta. And Fort McMurray is in the middle of it. This is the city that only exists in city form because of the oil sands industry. And there are just, you know, just 45 minutes north of Fort McMurray - well, first of all, everyone in Fort McMurray either works for the oil sands industry or works for someone who works for the oil sands industry. And just 45 minutes, an hour north of Fort McMurray, there are what amount to a series of artificial grand canyons that are being - that are just incredible strip-mine pits because this is a sand - sort of a sticky tar sand, and the main way they're retrieving it right now is to dig it out of the ground, these huge deep pits.


BLACKWELL: And so it's one of the most visually spectacular things you'll ever see. They don't let you go hiking unfortunately. I really wanted to get my feet - my boots on the ground and walk across the thing. And, of course, they thought I was an idiot and paid barely any attention to me. But eventually, I hired a plane to overfly the mines and it's astonishing.

FLATOW: It is - yeah. Is it the pollution from the mines - in the mines themselves or what seeps out or escapes...

BLACKWELL: Well, there's a lot of question - well, first of all, there's a lot of stuff. You - in order to get - separate the petroleum from the sand, you basically need to boil it in huge vats of water with - using incredible amounts of energy. And the leftover water is kept in these tailings ponds, which are basically giant toxic lakes. And a little while, maybe a year or so before I was up there, a flock of ducks had landed in one of these lakes and they just all died. And this became a national issue in Canada. There was a huge lawsuit. The prime minister got involved because the oil - it sort of crystallized and symbolized, you know, the cost of this kind of mining.

And then also, you just have an incredible amount of energy used to get that energy. It's much less efficient than just letting oil shoot out of the ground. And so, you know, all that natural gas that gets burned to process the oil sand, it's a huge energy cost. And so from a climate point of view, it's really sort of the biggest thing that people - or maybe tied for the biggest thing that people object to about oil sands.

FLATOW: So there's a CO2 given off?

BLACKWELL: Yeah. I mean, I put it in the book and I still can't believe it. So I went and looked it up again. Fort McMurray, I believe, has about twice the CO2 emissions of Los Angeles. And there's only, I think, something like 100,000 people, 140,000 people living in Fort McMurray. But because of all that fuel that's used in the industry, they give off something like - I don't know - it's something like 44 million tons of CO2.

FLATOW: Twice what?

BLACKWELL: A guy in Fort McMurray had said, you know, we give off the same as Los Angeles, and I thought that guy is totally exaggerating. That's not right. You know, put it in here. I'll mark it to fact-check it. I went, in fact-checked it and he was wrong. It was twice as much.

· EVlvr (not verified) · 5 years ago

@Benjamin, when the time comes a Volt is as ecologically unsound as a 25mpg car is today, the Volt will still be driving mostly on battery power probably further than today's Leafs will be able to travel, given their accelerated battery degradation.

And when the Volt ICE is running on longer drives, so will the ICE engines be running in the backup cars Leaf owners will be driving on those drives.

So what's your point?

· · 5 years ago

The point is that gasoline is only getting dirty to extract and refine, that a vehicle that uses less gas today is as dirty as one that used more gas a few years ago (when oil extraction was comparatively cleaner.) And . . . that 95% of people who are buying electric cars with tailpipes would probably do just fine with . . . uh . . . a REAL electric car. :-)

· EVlvr (not verified) · 5 years ago

But a Volt is a REAL electric car for 40 or so miles. That it has a onboard gasoline engine driven generator to enable it to go longer distances is simply a substitute for the ICE second car backup many if not most pure EV owners have.

Your idealism is admirable but unrealistic and either ignores or is in denial of market realities. Extended range EVs are the only hope for an EV market segment to finally become a permanent category in the automobile marketplace - sales numbers throughout the world so far support this statement.

The Volt may not be the perfect ecological solution, but we need it and others like it to continue expanding EV market acceptance - something no pure EV has ever done. Their success will incentivize battery technology to advance faster, and guess what - your ideals will become an accepted reality sooner than they ever could have been done without a car like the Volt to start the ball rolling.

· · 5 years ago

I know, EVlvr. I'm more with you on this one than it first might appear. What I'm afraid of is that the Volt and other mostly-EVs are going to become a long term plateau for the industry instead of a stepping stone into pure EV future. We're already seeing pseudo-Volt-like vehicles coming from other manufacturers that offer plug-in capability but even less range than the Volt's 40 electric miles. The lines are going to start blurring (if they haven't already) between various hybrids and range extender vehicles. It's only a matter of time before we see something like a 5 electric mile range plug-in that markets itself as "electric." We should be moving in the direction of longer all-electric range on these REEVs, not the other way around.

· EVlvr (not verified) · 5 years ago

That is a risk, but here's where I do have some faith in (Above) Average Joe: the 40 EV mile Volt - so far - is substantially outselling the cheaper 10 EV mile Prius. It seems buyers are connecting GM's shoddy reputation with the Volt, and they are dismissing the Prius' revered status as a brand ----- instead, they are putting at the top of their list the advantage of 40 EV miles vs. 10 EV miles.

I think the Volt concept hit the auto industry by total surprise, and the response by Toyota with their PIP is no more than a stopgap. Ford's soon to be released Energi doubles the PIP's EV range, but still falls substantially short of the Volt's.

I think for me to worry about your scenario playing out, it would be if GM were to respond to Ford and Toyota with a scaled back, 25 EV mile version of the Volt. I sure as hell hope consumers continue to keep the 40 EV mile Volt sales rolling along, above both Ford and Toyota's watered down versions. That'll pressure them to up their ante with models with increased EV ranges. Meanwhile, as the sales battles heat up, pressure will be put on battery suppliers to come out with better batteries at lower prices. And then the beat goes on.....

I think Toyota and Ford are scrambling playing catch up. When I hear Ford brag about their Energi having a 500 mile overall range, I laugh - it's all because they have a big gas tank, whoopee! Somehow I don't think serious prospects for these cars are going to buy one just to be able to drive from Tuscon to Malibu California without stopping for gas. Not many people have bladders that could last that far..

· EVlvr (not verified) · 5 years ago

Correction in my previous post - second sentence should have read:

"It seems buyers are NOT connecting GM's shoddy reputation with the Volt, and they are dismissing the Prius' revered status as a brand ----"

· · 5 years ago

Seems to me that there will always be a need for an extended range mode in any vehicle. Gasoline, oil, alcohol, wood, and coal all provide instant (stored) energy at a minimal price for storage. Instant energy for an EV would require at battery change...(not charge).

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