Editor’s Note: This is part two of an exclusive sit down I had with Hideaki Watanabe, Nissan’s Division Manager of their Global Zero Emission Business Unit, at last week’s U.S. debut of the LEAF in Los Angeles. Part one is devoted to battery swapping, part three to the quietness and safety of EVs, and part four to the different zero emissions directions of Renault and Nissan within their alliance.
As the Nissan LEAF nears its release to the consumer market, the topic of whether or not the battery will be leased or purchased with the car has come to the forefront. In many ways, Nissan has had an on-again, off-again relationship with the topic—leading to confusion among the media and potential customers about what, exactly, Nissan is planning.
In truth, Nissan hasn’t done the best job of presenting a clear picture of the topic. So I was surprised when, at last week’s U.S. LEAF unveiling, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn made the most definitive statement I’d heard on the subject to date: “The battery will not be sold, it will be leased, and the lease will be calculated in such a way that for the average U.S. citizen—which today drives between twelve thousand and fifteen thousand miles per year—the cost of the lease of the battery plus the cost of electricity is lower than the cost of gasoline.”
As expected, many in the media latched on to this statement as the final say on whether or not the LEAF battery will be leased, but based on Nissan’s past experience with this topic, I had a hunch that wasn’t really the full story. So I asked Hideaki Watanabe, Nissan’s Division Manager of their Global Zero Emission Business Unit, to elaborate.