Nissan Becomes Picky Seller


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.

Ford Partners for Full EV Infrastructure


Ford Motor Co. will be unveiling its electric car model, the Focus and a passenger van, the electric Transit to the market. Aside from these innovative designs, the car company is expanding beyond the vehicle to provide a full service complement to its vehicles.

The automaker has partnered with three of the biggest companies in consumer electronics to provide its car customers a full service package. Firstly, the company has created a home recharging unit. The recharger is made out of 60 percent post-consumer recycled materials.

“We view this as a part of the vehicle,” said Mike Tinskey, manager of vehicle electrification and infrastructure for Ford, during a Jan. 11 interview at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

With the carmaker’s partnership with Leviton Manufacturing Co. Inc. of Melville, N.Y., the company behind the home recharger,  aside from the home installed unit, there is a portable charger also available to Ford clients. The plastics used in the unit would be created by Sabic Innovative Plastics US LLC, called the Valox iQ. The unit would be made from PET bottles and a Sabic patented resin to provide the proper housing for both the home installed and the portable recharger.

The portable recharger uses a 110-watt connection while the home recharger runs on 240 watts. The car can be fully recharged within three hours. Furthermore, the home recharger can be easily installed and disassembled, allowing easy transport for homeowners.

The home charger unit is not hard wired into the home’s electrical circuit breaker but instead is just plugged into a normal 240-volt outlet. The home charging system, together with its standard installation service, is expected to retail just below $1,500, which is 30% cheaper than other brands in the market. Also included in the package would be a ten-year hardware warranty.

Retailing the chargers and the installation is Best Buy Co. Inc. As part of their agreement, Best Buy would have an in-store support system, called the “Geek Squad” to provide installation and after-sales services for charges purchased nationwide. The service would be available in all Best Buy stores and there is also an on-call diagnostics service to provide advice on issues of the charger as well as a repair call center to send technicians to the charger’s location.

The first home charging units would be available to the public in April, in time for the commercial offering of the Transit. The larger part of the service complement would be for the Ford Focus, as they are available in 19 key market areas.