Nissan announced today (Feb. 27,2013) that they've sold their 50,000th Nissan Leaf. The Nissan leaf started sales in the United States in December 2010 and sales have steadily grown as Nissan has improved upon the last design (making it more user friendly) and investing heavily in the electric infrastructure in key demographic areas (i.e. building eight fast-charging stations in Washington D.C.)
Along with the announcement of the sales amount, Nissan sat down with Billy Hayes, Nissan’s Vice President in charge of Global sales to address some of the negative criticism that the media and critics have drawn towards the Leaf.
One of the areas that journalists have brought up is the classic chicken and egg problem faced by alternative fuel vehicles. It is not economical for individuals to purchase electric vehicles absent sufficient refueling stations, and it is not economical for fuel dealers to open stations absent sufficient alternative fuel vehicles. In response Billy Hayes stated how, “
“ We need to continue to tell positive stories. 50,000 is a huge number. I had a dealer in San Francisco make me stand with him on the side of a highway to see how many leaf’s drove by. 62 in an hour, that’s a big number! As people increasingly see EV’s on the road, it makes it ok for them to drive the EV. People need to know how many electric cars are on the road and that it fits into their lifestyles.”
“It’s really unfortunate how much scrutiny that the electric car gets, and how much scrutiny that the sales numbers get as well from some of these journalists, the reality is that we are fully committed to electric vehicles, nissans is. it is not the death of the e car, we just sold 50,000 of them. We’re making investments in infrastructure, we’re making key changes to the vehicle to make it more commercially viable to the mass market and the pragmatic majority. It’s certainly not the death of the electric car, for instance in the US, we can’t produce enough leaf today. We’ve built the demand were we can’t build enough.”
It looks like Nissan is fully committed to the future of the electric car and stands to stay competitive in the market as long as the price stays viable, and more positive exposure to the Nissan Leaf is highlighted. And it doesn't hurt that the Department of Energy is standing behind making electrical vehicles economically viable by 2020 though their EV Everywhere challenge.