Specifications for the U.S.-built 2013 Nissan Leaf EV are still unavailable, but its official unveiling during the Detroit Auto Show on January 15 is drawing very near.
Along with that, the car’s yet undisclosed on-sale date is also approaching, expected to be early this year. But that date might end up shuffling down the calendar page before it’s announced if a recent report from InsideEVs suggesting the automaker’s Smyrna, Ten. plant is still unprepared for production is correct.
The portion of Nissan’s operation that makes the batteries for the EV is already running but that report suggests Nissan has yet to start domestic production of the 2013 Leaf. The plant is supposed to be capable of manufacturing abou 150,000 Leafs per year, which is roughly 15 times the number that sold in 2012.
Audi seems to be pulling the plug on its electric car bets with the A2 electric car getting the axe and the R8 e-Tron production reportedly curtailed to a handful of units.
Similarly, Toyota’s Scion iQ EV will be sold only as a fleet vehicle in California with only 90 units slated to be built for car sharing programs. Finally, Fiat grudgingly unveiled its 500e during the LA Auto Show about a month ago, which it won’t even bother selling in Italy.
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Meanwhile, Nissan is struggling to come anywhere close to the 20,000-unit goal CEO Carlos Ghosn previously estimated. Nissan reported today that it’s total Leaf safes for 2012 were 9,819 units, or a disappointing 1.5 percent gain over last year. Given that, it’s hard to understand what purpose a plant capable of building 150,000 units would serve unless the brand really still expects electric cars to take off.
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