Saturday, May 21, 2016

Nissan + Mitsubishi = Synergy!

Recently Nissan announced they will purchase a large chunk of Mitsubishi which should generate some excitement in the EV World.

The subject of "What else, Nissan?" has crossed my mind several times, especially now 5+ years into the EV game. Its been way past time for a line expansion but its not happened nor has anything been announced.

The infiniti LE was a brief detour that resulted in a dead end, at least for now.  Guessing better battery tech would be required for the higher end tastes infiniti courts.

The e-NV200 is in Europe for a year now but still not a single word of it coming to the United States, so what gives?

Can it possibly be that after 5+ years and 3 battery plants, they are still struggling with meeting demand?

Not sure I can accept any of those reasons.  Depressed sales could be one reason but its easy to boost those. Put in more batteries!  The newer packs have definitely improved in reliability, longevity and heat tolerance. Granted, not there yet but progress is being made.

Now Nissan did bump the pack to 30 kwh but forced everyone to upgrade trim levels. Monumental mistake and hoping they have realized that by now. The popularity of the S trim with QC should have been enough hint that the low end market is still looking for a car to buy!  Put a 30 kwh (or larger) on the S trim for 2017 and start chanting now because a sales revival will happen!

But bringing Mitsubishi into the fold opens up new avenues. The MiEV is a smaller, cheaper EV that has been out a bit longer than anyone except the T Roadster.  But its initial pricing was too high for a car with shorter range and an overall impression of "entry level" to catch on.

But a small, very dedicated group of MiEVers are very happy with the purchase and with Nissan battery resources and guidance, the line could be reborn with a super cheap EV option.

The Outlander plug in has been delayed and some feel its due to a battery shortage. This is something Nissan and its worldwide manufacturing capacity can really address and it enters a market that is all but empty.

Now understanding the super cheap EV market is not that easy when you have to filter it thru the din created by the "I want 200 miles of range starting $35,000-$38,500" hoard, but rest assured we are here and wanting!

I am happy that so many can afford Tesla's, Bolts, and BMW's but I am not one of them.  $35,000 (to start mind you) is nowhere near my "cheap" category.  So give me an EV in the upper 20's that gives me 125-150 miles and I will be happy.  I have said it many times in the past and I will continue to say it; The 100 mile EV market will be here for several years to come.

A recent online discussion talked about "affordability" and one commenter stated that Tesla and GM's mid $30,000 price point was not that far removed from what we are paying now. That maybe true (its not) but that surely does not imply that is what we want to pay, because its not. The other point was that the link provided also mentioned that many cars will be sold in the low to mid 20's. Sure they were smaller cars or "student" cars some PC people like to call them but call it what you will, it is still a huge market.

All of this doesn't even address the used car market which (if only counting sales from licensed dealers) is more than three times larger than the new car market. All of this points to the fact that cars are too expensive and people are making compromises.  The EV industry has a golden opportunity to flood EVs into the lower price ranges and add in a perk for free charging for a few years and it becomes much easier to attract the lower income market.

But "cheapening" the LEAF line might be a deterrent that Nissan does not want to risk. They have spent billions to develop the line and the battery pack decision for the 2016 S trim might be an indication of that.  Its easy to understand not wanting to rush an infiniti to market because of the higher expectations of the brand so using the Mitsubishi nameplate for the low end market simply makes sense.

**Public Charging Rant Warning**

What would you rather have?

a 100 mile EV (100 miles on the freeway at 65 mph) and 50 DC Fast Chargers ideally placed in your region


a 200 mile EV with your current charging infrastructure?

Well, you already know my answer and I leave you with this; a gasoline car with a 1000 mile range is useless without a public refueling infrastructure.


  1. I would love to see more EV’s on the road. Our future points that way and hopefully it leads us in that direction soon. The experience you’ve had with your EV is shows the reliability – and the need – for this technology to happen now. It will be great once we get there.

    Newton @ Fiesta Nissan Santa Fe

  2. Amen to that! And yes various private and governmental bodies are moving in the right direction but all too slowly. Most programs are aimed at enticing private businesses to host charging sites but too many obstacles prevent that from happening mostly due to things like demand fees, etc. Its those obstacles that need to be removed!