Since its launch in December 2010, Nissan’s Leaf which is now assembled in Tennessee, has become the best-selling electric vehicle in the world, and has just crested past 25,000 units sold in the U.S. with 62,000 sold globally.
In the process of getting there, Nissan has opened up a dialogue with its owners to help facilitate their early adoption of the car, and is working across the country to significantly increase charging facilities.
“From the beginning our goal with Leaf has been to bring affordable, zero-emission transportation to the mass market in a practical, fun-to-drive package,” said Erik Gottfried, Nissan director of electric vehicle (EV) marketing and sales strategy. “With more than 25,000 Leafs in the U.S. and 62,000 around the world, we’re seeing the adoption curve for EVs accelerate, and there is tremendous interest not only on the West Coast but in a number of new strongholds like Atlanta, Raleigh, Denver, Dallas, Chicago, St. Louis and many more.”
The first wave of people who are buying the Leaf are among the most well educated and informed people to be found. The car has spurred an active, connected, and of course growing community of owners who’ve jumped into the EV waters, with many saying they are comfortable with their choice.
Objections by those who are either neutral or opposed to electric cars include extended charging times and outright lack of infrastructure, and Nissan has been working on this as well.
“Nissan is taking a three-prong approach to bolster infrastructure by working with commercial charging partners to bring a variety of charging options to our customers, collaborating with businesses to encourage workplace charging on their campuses and engaging in pilots with our dealers to determine how to optimize the role they can play in EV infrastructure,” said Brendan Jones, Nissan’s director of EV infrastructure strategy and deployment. “This enhanced infrastructure—particularly with more businesses offering workplace charging as an employee benefit—builds range confidence and gives EV drivers better end-to-end charging ability, meaning they can leave home fully charged, plug in at work and be charged when they leave.”
Aside from the obvious need for placing more chargers where higher numbers of EVs are concentrated, Jones noted the company has found simply adding chargers to a given area is also a spur for sales. It is a new take on the “If we build it, they will come” adage.
Nissan has already installed about 50 additional chargers in the U.S. where concentrations are highest, and this is just the beginning, it says.
In January this year, Nissan announced plans within 12-18 months from that time to triple the number of EV quick chargers from 200 to 600.