Nissan Motors, in its recent move, may actually turn down potential purchasers of its all-electric Leaf hatchback. The purchasers may need to “qualify” to purchase the Aus$51,500 plus on-road costs all electric vehicle from the Japanese automaker.
The company would assess the purchaser as to the home charging set up, the distance of the daily commute and other items that the company says would only ensure that the Leaf would meet the buyer’s needs and expectations.
According to Nissan Australia Sales and Fleet General Manager, Mr. Ian Moreillon, “We want to qualify you that the car is suitable for you. We don’t want people driving it and then find it doesn’t fit their requirements.”
The first public orders would be received by February 2012 and the Leaf would be much more expensive than the Mitsubishi MiEV, tagged at Aus$48,800 but cheaper than the Holden Volt, which is tagged at Aus$60,000.
The lowest priced EV currently in the Australian market is the Renault Fluence ZE (Zero Emissions) sedan that currently sells for less than Aus$40,000. This basement price though does not include the battery array, which the company would offer to its purchasers through a leasing agreement. Renault is Nissan’s sister company.
Comparatively, the Leaf’s price includes the battery array but there is no charging dock that is included for the home. This is one of the recommendations of the company to potential purchasers of the electric vehicle. The company further added that the set-up costs for the home charging unit would depend on the home wiring configuration, within Aus$1,200 for a home with modern wiring. For greater complexities or older homes, the cost can run up to a couple of thousand of dollars.
He adds, “You don’t just buy a Nissan Leaf, get it delivered, take it home and then ask what you’re going to do about charging it. We want to have charging equipment integrated into the process — how we do that is what we’re still discussing. So when a customer does take their car home, the charger is there on the wall ready to go.”
Nissan is also concentrating on upcoming fast charge networks that would become commonplace in shopping centers and business car parks. These chargers are able to recharge up to 80 percent of the capacity in just thirty minutes. On the other hand, its sister company, Renault would be focusing on an entirely different EV infrastructure set up featuring battery swap stations.
Nissan maintains that the Leaf is the highest selling electric car in the history of the car industry with more than 20,000 cars sold worldwide in just its first year.