Thought of the Day: Has Nissan Dropped The Ball On Electric Vehicles?

Welcome to Thought of the Day! Join Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield as she poses a thought of the day inspired by recent news events.

Today as the Nissan LEAF starts to look very long in the tooth, we’re asking if Nissan has dropped the ball on electric vehicles — and more importantly, when are we going to see the next-generation Nissan LEAF break cover?

We know Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn is going to give a keynote at CES 2017, so does that mean we’ll see a big announcement from Renault-Nissan at that time? Or will we see the next-gen Nissan LEAF before then (and a subsequent picking up of the dropped ball?)

Watch the video above, and leave your thoughts in the Comments below.

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  • BrianKeez

    Unless Nissan has a good looking, 240 mile range EV available very soon, yes they dropped the ball.

    • Martin Lacey

      Really?

      They will still be ahead of all other manufacturers apart from Tesla and GM. Zoom out and compare them with FCA group, VWA group, Ford, Toyota and Honda i.e. the rest of the Market… they’re miles ahead!

    • 240 miles is an interesting number. So… Tesla has dropped the ball with the Model 3? Can you really say that with a straight face? 😉

      • BrianKeez

        Yes, 240 miles of range and /or look good. I say this as a 2011 LEAF driver with 92k miles. I’m 100% behind Nissan and their Zero emissions efforts. They KNOW how to sell EV’s and that’s fantastic! However, I thought that Nissan would have had at least a styling update by now. The capacity bump is nice, for now, but here comes the BOLT! If Nissan has any kind of competitor to the Bolt, Nissan will outsell them.

        I agree with Albemerle, Nissan does keep things close to the vest until they have a near production ready product. My fingers are crossed…… or I’ll buy my first GM vehicle.

        • I agree with all you said (2012 Leaf SL with 30,000 miles here), but you missed my point. The Model 3 has less than 240 miles of range but seems to have garnered great anticipation in the marketplace. So I suspect the expectations on a majority of potential EV buyers is 200 rather than 240 miles of range, of course.

          A quibble, really. “More” miles is always better

          • BrianKeez

            Tesla is waaay cooler, so if they don’t match the range, it will still sell. Yeah, awd…. forget what I said about buying a GM car. 😉

          • Chris O

            We don’t know yet what range Model 3 will have once it’s production ready. Maybe Bolt’s unexpectedly high range will prompt Tesla to up the ante a bit so GM won’t appear to have anything on it. Not that GM would actually have anything on Tesla, even with a lower range Model 3 since the high output charging infrastructure for Bolt does not exist, nor is the car advertised to be capable of more than the current 50KW standard. Range can be lower if quick charging that’s actually quick is an option.

            Also no doubt various ranges will eventually become available for Model 3, who knows even a 300 mile version?

          • ” Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the base Model 3, which is expected to start at $35,000 before incentives, will have a range of over 215 miles on a single charge ” — http://electrek.co/2016/04/26/tesla-model-3-battery-pack-cost-kwh/amp/

          • Chris O

            Yes, but that was before Bolt specs were unveiled….

            It’s going to be interesting to see if Tesla will let that challenge stand.

          • Interesting indeed, but Tesla is setting the EV agenda at the moment. Having read way more reports, news articles, and blogs on EVs, I have NEVER read one where 240 miles of range was identified as a minimum range. Almost without exception, the criteria for mass market success is proposed as 200 miles of range.

            I don’t see Tesla going all reactive just because Chevy finally introduced a decent all-electric car.

            Here’s my prediction, worth every penny you paid for it. After 30k miles, my Leaf has averaged 4.0 miles per kWh. I believe the Model 3 will be significantly more efficient than my Leaf, and will achieve 4.3 miles per kWh in its base (lightest) configuration. Toss in a 50 kWh battery, and you get 215 miles of range (ahem) at a price $2500 less than the Bolt – and likely with better profit margins. Toss in the Supercharger network, full self-driving potential, and Tesla’s sterling brand reputation, and that’s a market winner.

            Three is a magic number in marketing, giving the Customer a feeling of choice but not overwhelming them with options. I believe Tesla will reserve 80 kWh and above for their luxury Model S brand, leaving 3 options for the Model 3 – 50 kWh with 215 miles of range, 60 kWh with 240 miles of range, and 75 kWh with 280 miles of range (efficiency drops with heavier batteries, of course).

            So your presumed “Bolt Killer” will IMHO be the mid-trim Model 3, not the base model. And I believe the Bolt will sell 30,000 in their first year and the Model 3 250,000, counting all trims.

            You read it here first. 😀

          • Chris O

            Well, I do believe that pretty much sums it up.

            In addition: I do wonder what will remain of demand for Bolt once Model 3 is fully available. GM needs to get serious about proper quick charge support and even supported by fully developed 150KW charging infrastructure I think Bolt just can’t be expected to sell for Model 3 money in reasonable numbers.

  • lee culloty

    Last year in my home town there were zero EVs. Now I can’t make a journey without spotting at least two Nissan Leaf cars. They seem to be getting more popular here in Worcestershire. But in order to get the wider population to adopt EVs you need address their concerns regarding range. Their next model should at least double the range available on a single charge. If are able to bring a 200ml+ range car to market early next year, I’d say they are running with the ball.

  • Albemarle

    Nissan is a company that generally develops new models in secret and then presents them when ready to introduce. So I wouldn’t be surprised if they brought a 200 mile+ car out around June. I find it interesting that so many EV advocates seem to feel that if a car company is 6 weeks, let alone 6 years behind another, they will get no market share. This is patently untrue. Nissan can turn up in 2020 with a new car, and depending on it’s attributes, carve a market for itself. They don’t just have the next 6 months or all is lost. Look at the number of popular CUVs from companies that were behind the early producers by 10 years!

    GM doing all this public stuff with the Bolt is quite unusual. It is done by companies when they have an unusual or enthusiast based product being developed. Regular models are handled in traditional ways. Also, I am sure GM which is quite aggressive a company, wants to rain on Tesla’s parade.

    It’s unusual to be able to capture a market segment like Toyota has with hybrids. They are slowly losing that advantage. EVs will be the same. Most major corporations are getting into EVs and the market will be distributed amongst them.

    The real issue is that consumers want a choice of affordable long range vehicles now.

  • Richard Glover

    Nissan dropped the ball back in 2013. They made a big thing of their 100 improvements over the gen 1 before the launch of the 2013 model and then it was let’s let the marketing boys put the brakes on because it pretty obvious our competitors are not showing any enthusiasm for following our lead.
    We have had the sight of a 60 kWh battery, a great looking concept car and a deal of rhetoric since then.
    Yes they have moved forward but the spark has gone.

    • Martin Lacey

      Carlos Ghosn is a keynote speaker at CES 2017 on 5th – 8th January. I’m guessing he’s not there just for PR. Expect some kind of announcement!

      • Matt Beard

        It will be autonomous driving that he talks about. I would be willing to bet he doesn’t launch a new EV or a 60kWh Leaf.

        • Martin Lacey

          Only time will tell. I know enough to know I don’t know enough to take your bet.

  • CDspeed

    Not only are they slow with the Leaf, but they haven’t exactly used their experience to build a diverse electric model range. Or god forbid, turn an existing ICE powered model, into a dedicated electric car there by dumping one ICE from their regular lineup. For example debuting the 2018 Maxima as an electric car only.

  • Joe Viocoe

    Looking at global sales… No.

  • bathbun

    The moment Nissan made the leaf a unique model, with that odd rear end, they lost me as a customer. Much better in my opinion, if they had produced an electric version of the popular NOTE. That way it would have had regular body updates and probably improved margins. I believe the two cars are made on the same production line.. I hope the next version looks more conventional with a longer range battery.

  • Jeff Songster

    I think if Nissan offers most of their products with EV drive trains that can go anywhere from 125 to 250 miles on a charge and keeps including the highest powered on board chargers available… 9.6kW would be a nice option with 6.6 being only for 30kW base mode… Offer the eNV200 in 7 passenger and cargo editions through the Nissan Dealers if the Light Commercial Vehicles folks won’t take it… It also makes sense that the new cars should start appearing ASAT… As Soon As Tesla finalizes their design and range… worry less about BOLT as it is supply constrained somewhat… 30 to 60k per year… If Nissan releases a car that has a more useful hatchback design than Model III in a good body… with at least as much range and every DCQC available… jplug with CCS and a CHAdeMO also… they could have a winner. BOLT is going to need a 1 year rev to include DCQC on all models and a faster onboard charger option before it hits the big time!

  • Fred

    If you would all be patient for juuuust a couple of months… They are holding the ball firmly in their grip! Wait and see!

    • Matt Beard

      And hydrogen is coming very soon…. and the next MacBook will be impossibly good, and the next version of Windows will have NO bugs, and we all get our very own unicorn. Promises are worth nothing with nothing to back them up.

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