Nissan Reports 42,700 Sales of LEAF, Renews Commitment to EVs

By · November 08, 2012

Nissan LEAF production

At Nissan's conference to report Q2 2012 financial results, held earlier this week, the company's chief operating officer Toshiyuki Shiga discussed the automaker's progress with making and selling electric vehicles. He spoke in lofty terms about Nissan's vision to help solve global warming, and reported that global LEAF sales now stand at 42,700 units, including 19,000 sales in Japan.

Shiga struck a somewhat apologetic tone, asking the audience to look at Nissan's sense of mission, and long-term commitment, rather than the hard sales numbers.

Thanks to a video of the conference posted to the Internet, it's possible to get a direct statement about Nissan's EV efforts from one of the company's top executives. He expressed frustration about the slow pace of sales, but renewed Nissan's commitment to find out why sales have been lower than expected, and take action. According to his remarks, he sees the installation of Quick Chargers as a key to increasing market demand. It's not clear if he believes this applies equally to all markets where Nissan electric cars are available.

Shiga's position on Nissan's EVs starts at the 41:40 mark of the video. It was the final issue that he addressed during the 45-minute conference. Here is a transcript of his entire statement about EVs, slightly edited for clarity:

Sales volume of EVs is slow. That’s what I’m reading in the media. Frankly, it’s disappointing, and I am frustrated.

Nissan, by becoming a leader in the zero emissions area, will help contribute to solving global warming and [energy] resource issues. Somewhere in the history of human beings, people will have to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy. And Nissan is assuming a risk—we are not the first ones, but we are deploying EVs for the first time as a mass volume automaker…however, we have a strong resolution and a big mission in mind. That is why we decided to penetrate the market with zero emissions vehicle. That’s the ambition we have.

It will be two years next month since we launched this EV. Through the sales of EV, we are learning a lot of things. For example, why customers hesitate to buy an EV, and what are the issues they face after they buy one, and how satisfied customers are once they get into an electric vehicle.

Once we discover these lessons, we can take counter-measures that are effective. Today, we are preparing a line-up of counter-measures to implement.

For example, as you may know, the Nissan LEAF is connected to the Internet 24 hours a day. Our global data center gathers data about EV driving experiences. We know how customers are driving EVs and where they need Quick Chargers.

If we use this data, and provide it to the people who are installing Quick Chargers…Then, we can say if you install the Quick Chargers [in certain locations], you can increase the showroom traffic for example.

Regarding sales of Nissan LEAF, since we launched the vehicle, 42,700 units were sold—19,000 were sold in Japan. People may have different opinions to say this is too slow or too fast. We would like to penetrate the market more. But, I am responsible for the task team that is accelerating the sales of EV. So the entire company is united to promote the sales, and I am leading this. So, in that sense, please don’t forget that we have this passion and a sense of mission to work on EV. I hope you understand this, and look at our activities from this perspective.


· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

Take Japan sales out of the equation for a more accurate determinant of 'world' demand as their market is essentially closed to non-Japanese cars.

Even though it's way short of what Nissan has been promising for the past few years it still indicates there is a future for EVs.

· · 5 years ago


I disagree with taking Japan out of the equation. Their market may be closed to imports, but there are plenty of non-electric options. Yet the consumers are buying Leafs.

I worry about this statement:
"Our global data center gathers data about EV driving experiences. We know how customers are driving EVs and where they need Quick Chargers."

Quick Chargers are needed for drivers to go places they cannot go today. Therefore, the data that is collected will not include attempts to go where one might go if there were quick chargers. For example, with a well-placed quick charger, I would periodically drive my Leaf to Binghamton, NY (~85 hilly miles away). Without them, I won't even attempt this drive. Same with Rochester, NY (~90 miles away). Based solely on the data they're collecting, there's no possible way that Nissan would know this.

· Bret (not verified) · 5 years ago

LEAF sales seemed to have stalled dramatically, because of the Arizona battery problem and the cheap Volt leases. I am glad to see their sales taking off again, as they addressed those issues.

I firmly believe they need to make improvements to the 2013 LEAF made in Tennessee, if they want to keep their numbers improving. If they can lower the price, extend the range and update the styling, it would help a lot.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

Dude, If Nissan knows were Leafs drive , they also know were they dont drive. That is valuable data.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

Compared to around 3,000 EVs sold by GM before 2,000 this # of 42,000 is a great deal.

Tesla is also ramping up the production and soon EVs will become common place.

· · 5 years ago

I'm glad to hear Nissan is still committed to making EVs work. The made a lot of dumb mistakes on the first generation Leaf that I believe, led to their weaker sales than expected. Even with those dumb mistakes, people clearly have accepted this radically new vehicle and it definitely works for certain applications. My odometer just passed 20,000 miles on ours today!
Since all of the mistakes in the first generation Leaf are easily fixed, if Nissan is really committed, they can simply fix them and get vehicles that can dominate the ICE.

· · 5 years ago

@Anonymous: "Dude, If Nissan knows were Leafs drive , they also know were they dont drive. That is valuable data." (sic)

I'm not saying that it's not valuable data, but there's a difference between knowing where Leafs don't drive, and knowing where they would drive if quick chargers were available.

@ex-EV1 driver: " I just went over 20,000 miles on ours today!"

Man, that must have been a long day! ;)

· · 5 years ago

Exactly, The knowledge of where full electric (not just leafs) drive, commute and would like to travel to on full electric will help implement the needs for more DC Quick Charge station(s) and their proposed locations. Along Internstate I95 From Richmond VA to New York, Along I-80 from Eastern PA to Western PA, even throuh OH and IL, be very popular for travelers. Currently we could make it to these locations, but the lillypadding with a 4hr delay in each area limits this ability. 1 or 2 DC Quick Quick Charge stations on MD I95 will allow more commuters in this area to travel between the 2 areas with reduced stress.

Time will tell....and my prediction is still as more Plug in hybrids hit the roads as a bigger more family car ( plug in accord and i think the camry) the need will increase for L2 stations (and L3's)

· · 5 years ago

@Brian Schwerdt,
Ok wise guy, I edited it. :-)
It was a long day. Not 20,000 miles worth but long enough to lead to grammatical mistakes. This is another reason why I'm not a journalist.

· Ernie (not verified) · 5 years ago


I find what you say about the cheap Volt leases funny, because at the top of this page there's an ad for leasing the Leaf at $249 a month.

I don't even know how the heck they come to that number, because even with a $4000 (10%) down payment, the Canadian Leaf leasing site suggests I'd be paying over $600 a month.

· Bret (not verified) · 5 years ago


Both the Volt and the LEAF have great lease prices in the U.S., because they include the state and federal credits in the lease price. For those of us who live in California, the lease is around $249. Up in Canada, I don't think you have such generous credits.

· · 5 years ago

I think we could use more chargers around recreational areas. Vacation spots especially.

Most people can do an EV for daily stuff just fine, but can't go out of town.

Like here in Portland, if they put charging infrastructure out to the coast, and from Astoria to Lincoln City - that would go a really long way towards making an EV attractive. Heading out to the coast for a long weekend is maybe one of the main reasons people keep a gas car.

They should blanket the areas around cities where people want to visit for leisure. Resorts, state parks, other attractions, etc etc...

I am certainly going to look for Hotels with charging stations when I travel....

· · 5 years ago

+1 valkraider

· JP White (not verified) · 5 years ago

I'm glad to see Nissan continuing their commitment to sell EV's. However one worrying statement from the article.

"Nissan, by becoming a leader in the zero emissions area, will help contribute to solving global warming and [energy] resource issues."

I believe it is a dire mistake to pair the LEAF to global warming. Not everyone believes that we are causing climate change and climate change is very political. The Volt has taken a beating as a political punching bag, and so will the LEAF if Nissan keep promoting Green before anything else. Party politics has singled out the electric cars as we saw during the presidential debates when Tesla got put down.

I believe sending the message that EV's make us less dependent on oil imports and reduces deficit spending should be the emphasis, not that the LEAF will 'save the world'.

· Turbofroggy (not verified) · 5 years ago

I am not sure as the declining sales that you talk about, Leaf sales are up month over month this year.

Also the "Arizona" battery problem is only effecting 0.01% of all Leafs sold. If anyone is concerned about it, lease the Leaf, let Nissan worry about the battery life.
This has been blown so far out of proportion on MNL that is it really battery hypochondria at this point.

Also other choices for EVs are available if the 0.001% worries people. Ford Focus Electric, Volt, Ford Energi's, Rav4EV, Tesla and Coda all have liquid cooled battery packs. Mitsubishi has a fan cooled very tough lithium titinate battery. There are lots of choices now.

· David Martin (not verified) · 5 years ago

Leasing the Leaf will not solve the battery problem in hot climates, or loss of capacity elsewhere for that matter.
The guarantee is for defective workmanship, not capacity, and as long as the battery can turn the wheels for a mile then it is not breached.
In addition if the car is exposed for long periods to heat, then your guarantee is voided.
So if you live in Arizona and haven't got an air conditioned garage, then you are SOL on the guarantee.

Nissan have clearly chosen an inadequate battery and cooling system, which cannot provide reasonable range over the life of a car, and they have no plans let alone costs to provide replacements when the capacity falls.

Any sensible person will surely at most lease the car in cooler climates, and won't touch it at all in hot climates.

· Serge Desjardins (not verified) · 5 years ago

I own a Leal for about one year in Montréal, QC, Canada and no advertising from Nissan Why... if they want to sell the Leaf they must buy advrtising on tv and radio... or do nothing and let the planet going down in pullution and climate disturbing...

· Turbofroggy (not verified) · 5 years ago

@David Martin,
Most people do not live in the hell that is Arizona. Like I said, if you live in Arizona, don't buy a Leaf. If you live anywhere else, the Leaf is a great choice. I am not scared of the 0.01% failure rate on the Leaf battery. Our Leaf has 16,500 miles on it and shows no sign of degradation. The other 42,200 Leafs and their owners are happy with their vehicle and their battery. Why does everyone who brings up the whole Arizona thing not mention the actual effected numbers?

· madhaus (not verified) · 5 years ago

Climate change is political? Only to people with their heads stuck in the (drought-baked) sand. Were you on another planet when Sandy hit New York after the tornadoes wiped out Joplin, MO and the corn crop baked off?

While marketing the Leaf as energy independence is an excellent message, please don't blame oil industry-funded attacks on EVs on their own garbage distortions of climate science.

I do want to see more ads showing people driving the Leaf and enjoying the ride rather than having it sold as an "eat your broccoli" type vehicle. Sometimes good for you is also incredibly fun.

· · 5 years ago

I share your desire that climate change not be political. Unfortunately, since it is exacerbated by things that are making politicians powerful and people rich, by nature, it becomes political.
Have heart though. With Tesla winning all the automobile awards because of how fun it is, I think people are starting to wake up and realize how much fun all EVs are.
EVs have only been available in quantity for about 2 years. This may seem like a long time but it really isn't very long for a new technology rollout. Even cell-phones took over a decade to become less than a rich-man's tool.

· · 5 years ago

"EVs have only been available in quantity for about 2 years"

In fact, EVs have been available nationwide for even less than that. The first EVs (Volts) were available here in late summer 2011 (maybe 16 months ago?) and the Leaf has only been available here for about 10 months. It will take time, but hopefully not nearly as long as cell phones.

· danwat1234 (not verified) · 5 years ago

I hope the best for Nissan's Leaf, the Volt, the Model S, Coda, Ford and Honda electrics.

I drive a 1999 Civic, it's my first car and so I'm attached to it and I don't have much money, but if I did have money and wasn't attached to my first car then I'd immediately order up a plug-in or full EV. I'm kind of waiting for a fast AWD plug-in hybrid car, envisioning something like a plug-in hybrid Subaru WRX.

· danwat1234 (not verified) · 5 years ago

I think that if the plug-in hybrid / electric manufactures offered a 150K/ 15 year battery warranty then that would greatly reduce the worry about battery longevity. But they don't. I believe 8 years is that maximum offered across the board right now.

· danwat1234 (not verified) · 5 years ago

I think that if the plug-in hybrid / electric manufactures offered a 150K/ 15 year battery warranty then that would greatly reduce the worry about battery longevity. But they don't. I believe 8 years is that maximum offered across the board right now.

· · 5 years ago

Unfortunately, there is a calendar life of a Li-ion battery of about 8 years, assuming it is treated fairly well. Like all technologies, there are going to be limitations that we must overcome. Just look at all of the limitations of the ICE: Pollution out the tailpipe, Carbecues (they catch fire a lot), They are hard to start (especially in winter), They require frequent oil-changes and maintenance, They are noisy, weak, inefficient, slow response, they depend on a finite resource for fuel, etc. We've improved some of these over the past century but they all were there at one time and they still got people around.
Clearly, gasoline won't be around. It is sad that so many people today, think that they are entitled to the status quo and think that the alternative must be better in all respects or else they shouldn't have to consider them.

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