In 2010, the Nissan LEAF (or “Leading, Environmentally friendly, Affordable, Family car”) began rolling off the assembly line in Japan and hitting dealership around the world. This made Nissan one of the first international auto manufacturers to sell a mass-produced affordable electric vehicle.
- The Nissan LEAF first hit dealerships in 2010, making it one of the first EVs from a major manufacturer.
- The original LEAF had a range of under 100-miles, but the current LEAF is rated 226 miles, with an optional, larger battery.
- In March, 2019, the LEAF surpassed 400,000 units sold with its market still expanding.
At the time, electric cars were seen as a niche product by most, and LEAF customers were mostly “early adopters.” Over the years, the success of the LEAF has helped push greater electric car adoption, proving that there is demand for affordable EVs for the general public. The LEAF had a starting price of around $32,000, but with federal tax rebates, the consumer cost was only $25,000, about average for a new car at the time.
In March of 2019, the LEAF became the first electric car in history to surpass 400,000 units sold. The LEAF was not only the best-selling electric vehicle in Europe in 2018, but in Norway it was the top-selling car of any kind. The Nissan LEAF is available in more than 50 markets globally, with six new markets to be added in Latin America in the first half of this year and seven more in Asia and Oceania by the end of the year.
There is no doubt these strong numbers can be partially attributed to Nissan’s robust network of sales outlets and global presence – one that luxury carmakers and many other smaller manufacturers simply don’t have. However, it is also important to recognize the combination of affordability and useful features that have also made the car so popular.
When Nissan introduced the LEAF in 2010, it had less than a 100-miles of range, making it impractical for most drivers. Fast forward to today and the LEAF has a maximum range of 226 miles, when equipped with the larger battery. This steady and significant improvement helps ensure that electric vehicles are realistic options for many more drivers than before.
As battery life and charging technology continues to improve, it will only further solidify the use of electric vehicles in urban settings, and for pioneers of electric vehicles like Nissan, that can only boost potential sales.