Thursday, September 18, 2014

Nissan Doing the "Shimmy Shimmy Shake!"

With the recent rumor that Nissan was talking to LG Chem about a battery deal combined with a several members of the top executive team leaving the company, it has left many people concerned over the future of the Nissan EV lineup.  The massive battery plant in Smyrna, TN has been open less than a year and already its future seems in doubt??

Add to that another disappointment when Nissan dropped several hints that a longer range LEAF would not be coming until 2017 after so many had figured 2015/2016 and we all have to wonder has Nissan come to a realization that they have bitten off more than they can chew?

As a member of the LEAF Advisory Board, I was able to meet Billy Hayes and Andy Palmer and witness first hand their faith, enthusiasm and commitment to making the LEAF the car that people wanted to buy.  It was this experience that further bolstered my conviction that I had made the right decision in 2010 and 2013 to go LEAF.

But as mentioned before, the LEAF was not a "purchase-ready" car for me just yet. My driving needs being beyond the norm made a long term commitment to a specific LEAF a bad idea. So, for the 2nd time in my life, I leased my 2nd LEAF.  But Nissan seemed to be listening. They changed their warranty to add a battery capacity clause. They then addressed issues many with longer commutes had when they started offering enhanced new pack replacements at the great price of $5499 after exchange admitting this price was being offered at a loss.

All of this while looking like proactive moves on Nissan's part to help the early LEAF adopters could also be looked at as losing faith with its battery partner NEC.   Since Nissan's partner Renault has gone with LG Chem batteries, CEO Carlos Ghosn, should have some inside knowledge concerning the technology behind the two battery options. So does this mean that Nissan is dropping NEC in favor of a better battery?

Since Nissan had denied all of this, we can only speculate and I choose to speculate on the brighter possibilities (as if that was a surprise)

Besides, it would be more than a bit difficult for me to think that Nissan is just going to let both battery plants in England and the US be left idle.  I personally think that Nissan is simply making moves based on long term success and realizing that multiple battery suppliers especially ones based in different countries is simply insurance against any possible hiccup in the supply chain.  This allows them two battery suppliers and does this create confusion or better yet, a clearer path towards adding more EVs to its lineup?

Up till now, we had all assumed that the coming infiniti would have Nissan/NEC batteries in them and the optimal capacities of Nissan's 3 plants in Japan, England and the US would imply that there is capacity to let that happen. But as I predicted, LEAF sales are starting to take off and I predict monthly sales approaching 4,000 units by the end of the year.  A longer range LEAF along with the resulting downward pricing pressure on the current range LEAFs will be the factor that will finally move EVs into the mainstream.  That is just around the corner, so lining up vendors now is simply business as usual.

But all of this does not explain the big shakeup at the top. But Palmer leaving Nissan to be a CEO can easily be seen as a promotion. After all, why work under someone when you could be at the top? Aston-Martin is a much smaller company but it is also located in his hometown. Had to be a big consideration for him.

Either way, many in the online community are viewing these latest actions as a precursor to bad news. I think its Nissan reacting to escalating sales of the LEAF.  Post your thoughts below!

1 comment:

  1. I gone through your blog. Nice to read. Useful information. Thanks for sharing.
    See my blog about Solar Batteries manufacturers in India.

    Solar Batteries manufacturers in India