Nissan Expects 20,000 Advance Orders for Leaf Electric Vehicles

By Brendan Moore


2011 Nissan Leaf

After GM announced recently that it appears as if they will have over 50,000 orders for the new Volt electric vehicle (EV), Nissan has told reporters that they expect to have at least 20,000 orders in hand for the 2011 Leaf EV before it starts being sold at Nissan dealers in the United States next year.

Nissan says it will begin taking orders for the new Leaf in the spring of 2010, with delivery of the new Leaf hatchback expected to occur in fall 2010.

Carlos Tavares, Nissan’s chairman for the Americas, made the statement while addressing a meeting of business executives in Nashville, Tennessee, near where Nissan North America has its corporate headquarters in Franklin, TN. Tavares also stated that he expected that the Nashville area would play a pivotal regional role in the introduction of the Leaf, and Nissan’s push in EV technology in general.

Every Leaf will be imported from Japan initially, but Nissan is putting approximately $2 billion USD into retooling its Smyrna, TN plant in order to produce the Leaf there, starting in 2012. The plant will also produce other EVs and hybrid vehicles, as well as batteries, according to Nissan. Most of the $2 billion cost of retooling is being provided through a $1.6 billion loan from the US federal government.

Nissan is also doing its best to encourage development of charging infrastructure in different regions of the US in order to provide prospective Leaf owners a place to get their vehicles recharged while away from home.

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is spending $200 million to test the Leaf out in five regions in the US where it has developed a nascent charging infrastructure that includes “quick-charge” stations. Those regions are located in California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, and as mentioned, Tennessee.

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Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at

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  1. All of those spots for charging stations make sense except for TN. Can’t see a lot of people in TN going for new EV technology at this point, even if Nissan has it’s HQ there.

  2. @wwddd – you touched on it. I’m sure it’s all about Nissan’s HQ.

  3. Why, yessiree, bob. They start sendin’ them electric cars down here, next thing ya know, they’ll be wantin’ us Tennessee folks to wear shoes.
    Quite frankly, as a Tennessean and former college professor, I resent the above implications about the suitabilty of our state as a testing site for electric cars–and I don’t side with my fellow Tennesseans often.

  4. GM expects 50000 and Nissan expects 20000? That seems reversed, doesn’t it? You would think Nissan would be getting more orders for their EV.

  5. Bill Dorian:

    I didn’t infer from the other comments that anyone was knocking the intellect of the good people of Tennessee. I inferred that the other commenters were just noting that the state seems more culturally conservative than those other places, which might limit the amount of people willing to buy an electric car “fresh out of the gate” so to speak.

    It’s not like an EV is familiar to most motorists at this point. Most motorists in the the country are not even familiar with a hybrid, and there are no EV’s to be familiar with, unless you count golf carts.

  6. @Bill Dorian – stereotypes of Tennesseeans honestly didn’t even enter my mind when I wrote my comment above. I wasn’t even commenting on any cultural issues – Tennessee is not the first place that comes to mind when it comes to evaluating an EV because major urban centers like LA, NY, DC, SF tend to get tapped for EV evaluations at this point because EVs are clearly more suited to urban environments than more spread-out distances that are likely more common in Tennessee. Seriously, nothing against Tennessee at all…honestly I was a little taken aback by your reaction to my comment and the one above.

  7. The top priority for Nissan EV production, scheduled to commence for the 2011 model year, is for vehicles slated to be used in government fleets and some commercial fleets.

    Nissan has hinted that such a vehicle is likely to be a van of sorts, modeled after the Renault Kangoo, which will be coming on line in Europe at about the same time. The electric Kangoo will be showcased as the official courtesy vehicle for the 2012 London Olympics.

    The allocation of vehicles for such fleet use and the feasibility for battery production with NEC may well be a limiting factor of how many LEAFS are initially produced in Tennessee.

    Nissan/ NEC have projected annual combined Li-Ion battery unit output at 50,000 units by 2012 to increase to 250,000 by as early as 2015.

    I agree with Chris that Nissan may have greater interest in culling data from initial EV use and performance in markets with higher levels of traffic congestion since a greater proportion of ultimate sales will occur in such markets.

    Anyone from Nashville, Chattanooga, or Knoxville should count their blessings that they don’t have SF or Phoenix traffic to contend with.

  8. Sorry gentlemen,
    As a liberal living in an ultral-conservative state, I’ve just become overly sensitive to references that Tennesseans are all rural ‘hillbillies.’ I live in Nashville, and my son lives in Phoenix, so I know we don’t have the congestion they do at rush hour. But metropolitan Nashville (Nissan’s headquarters) is still an urban area with abundant (and quite irritating) city congestion.

    Because of its proximity to headquarters, I assume Nissan is also thinking Nashville would be a very economical urban testing ground for their EV. While Nashville isn’t as big as Chicago, LA, or Phoenix (we have less than a million), the downtown area is probably just about as congested.

    Again, sorry for being overly sensitive. But Tennessee is not just farmland or mountains. Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, or Memphis are quite the nasty little cities that would be excellent sites to test out the feasilbility of electric motoring. Happy trails. 🙂

  9. You have to wonder how many Nissan will sell in the first three years, because initial demand will be satisfied in the first year with the early adopters, and then what? Big drop-off or a slow steady increase in demand?

  10. I can’t wait for it to show up. I want one.

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