Nissan Expects 20,000 Advance Orders for Leaf Electric Vehicles
By Brendan Moore
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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