Speaking at the mid-term results press conference at Nissan’s headquarters in Yokohama recently, the company’s Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga said he was “disappointed and frustrated” by lackluster sales of electric vehicles in general and the Leaf in particular.
His emotional appeal to recognize Nissan’s pioneering efforts in zero emissions technology had undertones of an eulogy on the electric vehicle.
“Somewhere in the history of mankind, people will have to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy, and Nissan is assuming the risk to do it now,” said Shiga. “We were the first volume maker to deploy EVs globally. Please don’t forget that we have this passion and a sense of mission.”
But this is not to say Nissan is giving up on EVs. Shiga personally heads a task force to accelerate their sales. So far, Shiga did not have more to report than mining the data harvested from the connected Leafs, and giving the data to companies that will install quick chargers.
Next month, it will be two full years since Nissan launched the Leaf. According to Shiga, it saw global sales of 42,700 units since introduction, 19,000 of them in Japan.
As recorded by the HybridCars Dashboard, the company has seen upsurges in U.S. sales the past two months, in part due to sales incentives being offered to make Leafs more attractive to consumers.
Nissan has also announced an improved battery for 2013 while saying further development work is ongoing, and plans for other electrified vehicles are underway as well.