With a target goal of selling 1.5 million electric vehicles by 2016, Nissan isn’t even 2% of the way to that goal. It won’t help that Nissan jacked up the price of the little EV by over $2,000 in the middle of the year, meaning that any price cut would have to be fairly deep to really impact the market. But, if Nissan can get the price of the LEAF to under $30,000 without the Federal tax credit, they will sell every single one they can build. Better technology and cheaper batteries can go a long way towards improving the price. Right now the LEAF’s price starts at $35,200, requiring an almost 20% price cut to get below the $30,000 mark.
In addition to a price drop, Nissan will also be improving the range and performance of the EV as well. 100 miles of real world range in a variety of conditions is an important milestone, one that I hope Nissan is reaching for. If you can guarantee a person 100 miles of driving in any condition, that will relieve a lot of drivers (including me) of their range anxiety. And it wouldn’t hurt if the LEAF got a horsepower and performance boost as well. But range really needs to be the factory, and I will probably hold out for a rear-wheel drive EV anyways.
Before the new LEAF hits market though, Infiniti will be launching it’s own luxury version of the little EV, and it will probably be a pre-cursor to many of the LEAF’s improvements. Wireless charging is sure to be part of the Infinti package, and Nissan will definitely offer it as an option on the LEAF. A vehicle-to-home power system will be another option sure to intrigue buyers of both cars.
But Nissan has a long way to go to meet it’s ambitious goals, and the LEAF still has a long way to go as a vehicle for many people to even consider one. It will be interesting to watch how this story plays out.