Nissan was one of the first traditional auto manufacturers to see the value in EVs. While the Leaf hasn’t been without criticism, it’s helped them learn a lot about manufacturing EVs profitably. Now they’ve found a path towards full electrification while the competition is struggling to get their first EVs on the road. As a first step, Nissan is going to be offering electric options for ALL new models in Japan starting this year.
Nissan set to go fully electric
As reported by Nikkei, Nissan is planning to offer electric options of all new and redesigned models in Japan. While the Nissan Leaf has struggled in the US market, EV sales have been very strong in Japan. Their electric and hybrid options accounted for a quarter of Japanese sales in 2018. With this move, they aim to make over half of their new cars sold in Japan electric.
They plan to roll out an electric version of their Dayz minicar in 2021. They’re also going to offer hybrid variants of the Note subcompact, Kicks SUV, and X-Trail SUV. And the cherry on top will be an electric SUV they plan to release to the Japanese market later this year.
This move is Nissan’s first step towards full electrification worldwide. Japan is a good test market for EVs. The density of the small island nation brings the advantage of EV charging availability. There are no massive rural areas like the midwest in the US that can be difficult to bring chargers to. And the countries national public transit infrastructure means road trips aren’t really necessary.
These factors combine to mean that Japanese consumers really don’t have to deal with range anxiety. As charging infrastructure expands this will eventually be the reality for most consumers worldwide. So Japanese sales now should give Nissan a good indicator of how their EVs will do worldwide in a few years.
The increased volume of EV manufacturing should help Nissan drive costs down. They should be able to get cheaper batteries as economies of scale kick in. Securing these supply chains is what Nissan needs to become competitive in the global EV market. By 2022 they plan to generate 50% of sales in Europe from EVs.
This expansion of electric offerings in the Japanese market is just the first step. I expect to see many of these offerings coming overseas in the next few years. It seems like Nissan might be more serious about EVs than any other traditional auto manufacturer. I just hope that they’ve learned from the Leaf and that these new offerings are competitive.
The Leaf has never been super impressive, but they’ve had over a decade to learn. I hope we can see the fruits of their labor in this new electric SUV on the way. The concept Nissan Ariya got me excited, let’s see if they can translate that into a production model.
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