In the battle of hyped EVs, it appears that Nissan‘s Leaf is so far winning, at least on the sales front. Despite a slow start to production and difficulties in acquiring cars for US consumers, the Leaf appears to be taking off. So far this year, 3,708 of the lithium ion powered cars have been delivered, versus some 2,745 Chevy Volts during the same period.
As Japanese automakers get back on track and resume normal production levels, following the March 11 Earthquake and Tsunami, Nissan hopes to shift around 12,000 Leafs by the end of the year. Al Castignetti, Nissan Nice President for US sales, said, “we’ve been telling you we’d grow every month, and now you’re seeing more normalized production flow.”
GM has said it plans to sell around 12,000 volts by the end of 2011.
Nevertheless, despite growing demand, overall sales are still small and for most consumers, the vehicles remain relatively expensive purchases – the Leaf selling for $33,000, the Volt $41,000, though government incentives ease sticker shock somewhat.
Analysts including George Peterson of consulting firm AutoPacific, based in Tustin, California, say that while electric vehicle sales are growing, don’t expect them to have a significant impact on overall car sales anytime soon. “From a sales standpoint, Nissan and Chevrolet have been very cautious, wanting to make sure these vehicles are as bulletproof as possible, taking time to thoroughly inspect and check everything.”
He went on to say that sales of such rechargeable vehicles might rise to around 3 percent of total volume but “we’re not going to see hundreds of thousands of these on the road.”