Global Nissan LEAF Sales Eclipse 17,000

By · November 17, 2011

Nissan LEAF

Global sales of Nissan LEAF eclipse 17,000 units.

In late July, Carlos Ghosn, Nissan chief executive officer, stated that "with more than 10,100 electric Nissan LEAF vehicles already sold worldwide" the Japanese automaker is "clearly the global leader in zero emission mobility." Now that number officially exceeds 17,000 units.

That's the closest estimate that Nissan America spokesperson Katherine Zachary could provide to PluginCars.com this week. The breakdown for global Nissan LEAF sales shows that the United States leads the way in terms of total purchases of Nissan's pure electric hatchback. Zachary tells PluginCars.com that, since the LEAF's launch in December of 2010, sales in the US total approximately 8,500 units and our research shows that LEAF sales in Japan check in at approximately 8,000 units.

To put that 17,000-unit number in perspective, global sales of the Toyota Prius hit 3,000 units in 1997—its first year on the market—and topped 20,000 by the end of 1998. In 2000, Prius's first year in the U.S. market, Toyota 5,562 units of the gas-electric hybrid. To compare the Nissan LEAF to other available electric vehicles, total cumulative global sales of the Tesla Roadster come in at slightly more than 1,800 units, and worldwide sales of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV—a vehicle that launched in July of 2009—check in at approximately 16,000 units.

Based on these early trends, it will be difficult for any other electric car to catch up with LEAF. EV fans might have hoped for some potential competition for mainstream high-volume electric cars from Ford or Honda—for example, with the Focus Electric or Fit EV. But recent news of high price tags and low volume targets make competition from these carmakers unlikely.

Much the way that Prius has dominated the hybrid market for the past decade—becoming synonymous with hybrid technology—the Nissan LEAF seems poised to become the electric car that defines the EV category.

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