Wednesday, October 10, 2012
As we approach the eve of the ribbon cutting for the new Nissan LEAF assembly plant in Smyna, TN many people are beginning to think Nissan has a screw loose.
The plant will have the capacity to churn out 150,000 LEAFs annually and right next to it, a battery plant will put out 200,000 high energy packs as well all at a cost of nearly 2 Billion dollars and all to bolster what? the under 10,000 cars sold per year?
What is it that Nissan knows that no one else seems to know? Well, actually what Nissan knows, EVERY current LEAF owner also knows and that is driving electric is addicting, economical, convenient and VERY VERY cool!
Electric vehicles will be mainstream some day. Nissan knows that, current LEAF owners know and soon the general public will know it and they have boosted their projection of 500,000 EVs sold worldwide by 2015 (a number most dont think they will achive no where near half of ) to an astounding 1.5 MILLION by 2016!!
As I stated earlier, in my EV-evangelically designed pursuits of an audience, I have also been loosely tracking the concerns of people and #1 after public charging support is the cost. Great confusion over the Federal Tax credit and also that many Senior Citizens simply dont have the tax liability but their transportation needs are almost perfectly suited to the LEAF's "neighborly" range ( i refuse to use the word "limited" because it is simply not!) And Nissan is listening!
They are soon to release two new EVs in a much lower price point, one for Europe and the "S" brand LEAF which takes some of the bling and drops the price to a rumored $31,000! Now, do the math. for anyone who is interested in a lease/purchase (my recommendation) the LEAF after the $7500 fed tax credit (taken instantly if leasing) and the WA State sales tax waiver (another $2800 benefit) the price now is the same as any other standard $21,000 car.
But that is only the beginning. As we all know even modest driving needs show that in 3 years time driving 12,000 miles a year, the LEAF will be less than $1000 in electricity and NO trips to the gas station verses a standard car getting 30 mpg @ $4 gas (if we are to be so lucky!) costing nearly $5,000. This drives TCO of the LEAF into the econo-box price range in less than 3 years.
Problem is; people dont really see that. But they will as more and more of their neighbors and co-workers start driving the LEAFs and "put up" with that $30 bump in their monthly electric bill verses others paying $100-$200 a month for gas. Keep in mind, we have not even mentioned maintenance costs
Either way; Nissan is doing it right and sooner or later, we will all agree. As for me? nearly 23,000 miles for less than $600 in gas. During the same time period, my Prius went slightly farther (due to 4 very long trips over 500 miles) but cost over $2000 in gas and that is for a car that gets 50 MPG!