Nissan LEAF Sales US December 2014 – LEAF Is First Plug-In Vehicle Over 30,000 Sold In U.S. In One Year

1 year ago by Jay Cole 41

Nissan Crushed The Yearly Sales Record For Plug-In Vehicles Sold In America For 2014

Nissan Crushed The Yearly Sales Record For Plug-In Vehicles Sold In America For 2014

“In 2014, Nissan sold more than 30,000 LEAF vehicles in the U.S., the first time any plug-in vehicle has reached that milestone in a single year.”

That’s the BIG headline in terms of Nissan LEAF sales for 2014.

Adding to its lead for most plug-in vehicles sold in one calendar year in any one country, the Nissan LEAF sold a further 3,102 cars in the United States this month.  That number represents Nissan 3rd best single month result to date, August of this year was the all-time high at 3,186

Despite High Demand For The LEAF In The US, Nissan Still Doesn't Offer The NISMO-Spec LEAF In America

Despite High Demand For The LEAF In The US, Nissan Still Doesn’t Offer The NISMO-Spec LEAF In America

Decembers result is a 22.7% improvement over last year’s 2,529 EVs sold, meaning that Nissan has set a new monthly record for LEAF sales in 23 consecutive months.

Overall 30,200 LEAFs have been sold, a 33.6% bump over the 22,610 sold in 2013.

And while 2014 was a very good year for Nissan both in the US and worldwide, CEO Carlos Ghosn feels they can do a lot better.  The Nissan-Renault boss says that by now selling more than 200,000 EVs cumulatively the company has costs under control and that he thinks it’s time to push“.   Sounds good to us.

Heading into December, Nissan had expanded its plug-in market share in the US to 25.4% in 2014 and 25.1% all-time, the highest it has been since 2011, despite the fact that 22 different EVs are now being offered in America.

Nissan Crested A Year High For Market Share In November  (*does not include Tesla Roadster, Fisker Karma, and small non-retail offerings)

Nissan Crested A Year High For Market Share In November – December data added when total EV sales are known (*does not include Tesla Roadster, Fisker Karma, and small non-retail offerings)

Nissan e-NV200

Nissan e-NV200

Another big month of sales (and possibly Nissan looking ahead to a notoriously poor January selling environment) affected inventories in a way we have not seen all year.

For the first time in 2014 Nissan’s Smryna, TN plant fought a losing battle against national inventories that had been slowly climbing all year, falling by about 1,000 units on average (according to our numbers for the month).  Nissan entered 2015 with just over 4,000 units.

Looking ahead we know January and February are (and will be)notoriously slow months for EV sales, but the rumor mill of late has been suggesting that Nissan may formally introduce the e-NV200 all-electric van (based on the LEAF platform) for the US at this year’s NAIAS in Detroit.  We will be there live Monday, January 12th to find out if true.

Update (Jan 5th, 10:45 pm):  We got a little excited about the e-NV200 rumors, so we spoke to Nissan directly about the whole coming to NAIAS/America thing and they said they have no plans to bring it to the show, but are still considering a US launch of the product and have set up more than few test co-operatives with US businesses.

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41 responses to "Nissan LEAF Sales US December 2014 – LEAF Is First Plug-In Vehicle Over 30,000 Sold In U.S. In One Year"

  1. shawn marshall says:

    reminds me of all the guys who vehemently insisted that BEVs were a no go. They were nasty people. Am glad for Leaf success myself. Let’s hope for a battery breakthrough this year.

    1. Jelloslug says:

      These are the same people that said that hybrids were a fluke also.

    2. no comment says:

      let’s be realistic about this: 30,000 solid in a year – that’s 2 weeks’ worth of sales for toyota camry. EV technology is still in its early stages and it is not clear what ultimate direction the market will take it so it is much too early to start declaring “winners” and “losers”. i personally think that as long as the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S are considered market leaders, the electric vehicle market will remain a niche market. BEVs are just not practical as general purpose automobiles; fuel cells address some of the limitations of BEVs but FCVs are simply not ready for prime time; right now the EREV concept offers the best prospects for general market acceptance.

      i think that the Chevrolet marketing director is right; trying to sell EVs for fuel savings is not the best strategy, at least not in the US. the premium driving characteristics of electric vehicles is a much better selling point. using EV technology, you can get the kind of smooth driving characteristics in a medium priced car that were previously only available in luxury cars.

      the real value of Tesla, as i see it, is in driving long term market awareness of the possibilities of the technology. elon musk runs Tesla more like a technology incubator than a company that is really expected to be a going concern. for example, the battery swap and “snake” EVSE are very good technology solutions but the economics behind these ideas is terrible. the “cost no object” approach doesn’t translate into volume sales and Tesla prices its cars far to low to allow it to benefit from the economics of limited production auto makers that price their cars at several times the cost of the most expensive Model S.

    3. Joel S says:

      I have the Leaf – after GA state rebate, the lease is $150 a month, less than gas costs for my old Lexus. Never going back to gasoline. And when I get 250 miles on a single charge, I will get rid of the Sequoia too. This will not take decades as some say here. It’s basic economics: gasine distribution is expensive and inefficient compared to electricity distribution, that’s all.

  2. Ash09 says:

    Hmm, this also means there are less than 100k EV’s Nissan can sell in the US before that federal tax credit expires.

    1. Assaf says:

      No, I believe the cap is 200k units per automaker, so they still have 130k left…

      1. protomech says:

        Correct. The credit begins expiring the quarter after the quarter in which they first pass 200k vehicles sold.

        For example, suppose Nissan sells US EV 200k on Feb 1 2017 (Q1). Time enough for LEAF 2.0.

        The $7500 federal tax credit will remain in place through June 30 2017 (Q2).

        For vehicles purchased after July 1 2017 (Q3), the federal tax credit will be reduced to 50% ($3750).

        For vehicles purchased after Jan 1 2018 (Q1), the federal tax credit will be reduced to 25% ($1875).

        For vehicles purchased after July 1 2018 (Q3), the federal tax credit is eliminated.

        Even once Nissan reaches 200k in sales, there’s still 1.0 – 1.99 quarters of full tax credit sales (you can bet Nissan will be pushing to make this 1.99 quarters if they can) and 2 quarters of significant tax credits available.

        Nissan surely has a pretty good timeline for when they expect to reach the 200k sales point, and I would expect them to plan price cuts into the vehicles price point as the credit is phased out.

        1. RedLeafBlueLeaf says:

          Thanks, and exactly right. The theory is that by the time they reach 200k cars they should have been able to reduce the cost of each car by $5.5k (as there is about a $2k-per-car operating margin markup from manufacturer through dealer) from when they first started, thus able to price them competitively. This did work out appropriately for hybrids as when Toyota hit the 60k limit they were able to adjust prices such that the loss of the tax credits did not hurt sales.

          Nissan has already said that they are making an operating profit on LEAFs, but of course haven’t yet paid off the R&D investment.

  3. Lou says:

    30K is a drop in the bucket of the market out there. Offering additional battery options is huge. I can’t imagine the LEAF being able to sell on a truly wide scale until we are seeing 125-150 mile batteries. In my own case, I deferred on purchasing a LEAF simply becuase of the size of the battery. With degradation, which we know will happen, and cold weather affecting it so much, I could not risk a car that 5 years from now won’t allow me to comfortably make my commute and still have a nice balance left when I get home. However, the batteries are getting better, this will be a thing of the past before long. It will also lead to Nissan introducing more models than just the LEAF, such as their van and an even a larger sedan. Bring it on.

    Lou

    1. Alonso Perez says:

      Yeah it’s a drop in the bucket. But it wasn’t that long ago when they were struggling to sell 10K in a year. 30K is an important achievement.

  4. LuStuccc says:

    Growth should be exponential, if only Nissan agreed to put more range in it.
    25% is good, but nowhere near what would be done if ICE car companies had a real will to sell BEVs

    1. Bonaire says:

      That’s the problem. People expect growth to be “exponential”. For what reason? Consider your favorite music. Do all your friends like that exact same music? How about clothing? If the answer is yes, go to the mall and compare what you and your friends like versus everyone else. Then go to a place you normally don’t go – compare there.

      If you are an EV “fan” you want exponential growth. But if someone is not an EV fan, they may hate or distrust the technology, the company making the product(s) and so on. Generally – humanity will switch to EVs when … humanity switches to EVs. Currently it is at the hobby-level and a very niche market.

      Chevy sold something like 55,000 Silverado pickup trucks. In December 2014. That is one brand/model. It is going to take decades to make any real impact in the move to electrified vehicle sales. Unless we give away huge incentives – such as 50% government point-of-sale rebates. It is pretty close to that value in incentives in Norway.

      1. Dan Hue says:

        This is just a guess on my part, but I think that major car companies are not ready quite yet to offer really affordable EVs. One issue is the technology, of course, but beyond that, they have to be concerned about the long term impact on their bottom line. What if unforeseen issues arise in the medium to long term? That could prove costly to handle. Or vice-versa, what if the cars prove so reliable that people stop buying new ones? The whole business could be upended. Tesla does not have to worry much about any of these things, but an OEMs with much at stake should. At the volume they sell, cars like the Volt or LEAF are perfect to gain experience and gather data.

        1. Ocean Railroader says:

          Tesla’s latest battery and range upgrade for the Tesla Roadster is the first time I have seen a major car company offer a major upgrade to a existing car model. Such as with most cars you buy the car and you can replace parts to keep the car running but you can’t really make the existing car better in terms of gas millage and features. But with Tesla’s new upgrade to the roadster you can replace the 220 mile range batteries with 350 mile range batteries.

          I really hope Nissan does something like this like offer a market product to upgrade the range in existing Nissan leafs by at least 40% in that I think it will sell fairly well.

  5. Robert says:

    Adding the e-NV200 should naturally expand sales in their EV product line. Would it be sold at only the same dealers, or at other, new players?

    It would make a good vehicle for adding screens to the sides as a roving ad platform! Maybe at the back, too!

    1. John F says:

      The more they expand the Chademo charging network, the more sense the eNV200 will make for cabs and local delivery vans. Since there will also be over 300,000 Leafs across the USA some time in 2015, there are plenty of reasons to grow the DC fast charging network.

      1. Ocean Railroader says:

        The slow growth of the DC fast charger network was very disappointing during 2014. I watched the network for the last eight months and it remained largely the same size in terms of territory you could drive though with EV’s. What this means is the spot’s with the DC fast chargers got denser and denser but in terms of new ground you could drive on between cities it didn’t grow that much.

        I might view Tesla as a rich man’s car as of now but I’m shocked at how very aggressive they are when it comes to adding supercharger stations.

    2. RedLeafBlueLeaf says:

      I’d love to see the e-NV200 in the US – there are rumors of a 2015 appearance at a trade show this quarter.

      But I suspect that if it does happen it will be cargo only. The crash test results probably would be very poor for a passenger van. In addition, the e-NV200 still has the same battery size as the LEAF which means less range given the additional vehicle weight and wind resistance, making it less useful than we’d like for a minivan.

  6. Grumpy says:

    I find it a little odd that Nissan hasn’t introduced a revised battery yet. GM and Tesla (with the Roadster) are improving range with minor chemistry tweaks. If Nissan had offered an improvement similar to the Volt’s you could probably get close to 100 miles on a charge with careful driving.

    I will bet that the NV-200 gets a revised battery if it is released. I don’t see many businesses buying the idea of a utility van with only a 70ish mile range.

    1. kdawg says:

      They did just introduce their battery with “lizard” technology…

      1. Brian_S says:

        Yes, there are multiple ways to improve batteries. The 2015 MY “lizard” battery with better life cycles/temp endurance is one piece (and why I bought a 2015 MY in November). The biggest focus of Nissan seems to have been cost reductions for the battery. That’s how I was able to buy a S trim with quick charging for $25k + tax – rebates.

        That said I look forward to a larger format and longer range vehicle for my next electric in a few years. So far Nissan and Telsa are the only companies that want to seriously compete in the BEV space.

    2. Jelloslug says:

      The Leaf is on it’s 3rd battery since it was released.

      1. RedLeafBlueLeaf says:

        Right, Nissan has improved the battery at least once, maybe twice, but they’ve kept it very quiet. We can only speculate, but probably until the class action lawsuit from 2011 and 2012 LEAF owners is settled they don’t want to admit that the initial battery was known from the start to be inferior. There was a “leak” published here and at other EV sites a few months ago from Nissan corporate that this was known to be the case.

        Something changed in 2013. We know this because if you get one of the new “lizard” batteries for an older LEAF you’ll need an adaptive harness for 2011 and 2012 but not for later model years. What changed? We don’t really know. The fact that the EPA used different tests for the 2011 and 2013 means that the difference in range numbers (73 miles versus 84) can’t be relied upon as an apples-to-apples comparison. However, most anecdotal reports from 2013-4 users – especially those who also had a 2011-2 LEAF – indicate that the newer LEAFs had slightly more range and that the battery degrades at a significantly slower pace.

        Was 2015 another battery upgrade? Or did they actually quietly introduce the lizard battery in earlier LEAFs? Nissan won’t tell us.

        But it’s clear that the 2015 LEAF has a better battery and slightly more range.

        1. I remember tales of overheated battery in mid west leafs. Losing range because of heat. So far my volt with the climate control on the battery has held up. At 40k on a 2011 it still hits 40 plus miles in good conditions. As far as total life, will see. I would like to see some real improvements in battery tech. Good luck and happy humming.

        2. JuliaZ says:

          So far, my 2015 Leaf SL has given ~94 miles a charge with the climate control mostly off. I know that’s more than I’ll get in a year’s time (unless I become a hypermiler) but I am thrilled to say the least.

          A 150-mile range would let us replace both cars with BEV.

  7. Graham says:

    Got a leaf great news
    To take the Leaf to the next level Nissan needs a 200 mile car.
    Also a new design that looks as good as their top petrol cars.
    I like Tesla and the ability to upgrade battery tech with your car.
    Nissan wont do this would prefer you to buy a new leaf with a better battery.
    This is why will wait for the mass market Tesla.

    1. David Murray says:

      So far all Leafs can still upgrade to the latest battery technology, even the 2011 models can use the new Lizard 2015 batteries.

      It remains to be seen how long that trend will continue, though.

      1. Ocean Railroader says:

        It might not be out of the question that Nissan might be offer battery and range upgrades to their existing older leafs. Such all Nissan has to do is come out with a battery that is the same size and type as the lizard battery but with higher range. I think it could be a real money maker for Nissan if you could swap out your older batteries in your car for batteries that are 40% more powerful in range for $5000 to $3000.

        1. Scott Franco says:

          A friend of mine got a battery upgrade on his leased Leaf.

          It came with a free Leaf chassis as a bonus….

    2. Alonso Perez says:

      Actually a 120 EPA mile car would be quite excellent for this class of car at the current cost. It would make possible all sorts of trips where it now falls short without charging, especially in largish urban areas.

      Nissan would also do well to introduce a 200 mile car, but that would be more expensive, at least through the next few years.

      1. Scott Franco says:

        120 miles, or more likely 150 miles, would bridge the large gaps in the charger network in California. Of course, another solution would be to put more fast chargers in California. Enable DCFC in plugshare at look at California to see what I mean. Now look at Washington and Oregon, two states which have a fraction of the EV sales we have.

  8. Alex says:

    Ghosn is a boss.

  9. Scott Franco says:

    I was at my leaf dealership (premier nissan san jose), and was amazed to see about 50 or more leafs lined up on the lot side by side.

    I’d have posted a picture here but I have no idea how, pasting to the edit window does nothing.

    So at least in san jose, they are expecting a lot of new leaf sales.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Hey Scott,

      Just drop the page URL in with the rest of the comment and the ‘magic fairies’ will convert it to show…I know I’d like to see a shot of 50 LEAFs lined up at a dealer, (=

      1. Scott Franco says:

        Yes BUT that means I have to park the foto at a web site somewheres. Arrrrgggg.

        Tell you what I am gonna do. I’ll send you the photos.

        1. Jay Cole says:

          No, we just rejig the code…as it isn’t embedding isn’t enabled without login in the comments – and we don’t want to have people going through the hassle of having to log in, or wait for Discus (or others) to boot up.

          PS/EDIT (pic below added): Thanks for the pics Scott…we’ll use them I’m sure in the future too!

          1. Scott Franco says:

            And there were another 20 in front.

            1. Scott Franco says:

              I counted from the foto. There are 3 rows of 15 cars, or 45 in the back of the dealership, so about 65 total including the cars in front. Anyone want to estimate what the dealer turnover is on those cars (months)?

              1. Jay Cole says:

                Well if its inline with the national numbers, it would be about 33.4 selling days.

                /seems like a lot of cars to move from one dealership, lol

              2. JuliaZ says:

                We just leased a 2015 Leaf SL from Nissan of the Eastside in Bellevue, WA. You can’t take a good photo of all their inventory because they have two satellite lots, but 12/29/14 they had 76 Leafs in inventory. They sold 95 units in November, and had already beaten that for December on Christmas Day. They are the #1 Leaf dealer in the country, and it shows… every salesperson was well-versed in that car’s features and there were two other Leaf deals being written up the same night as ours. 🙂

    2. RedLeafBlueLeaf says:

      That’s nothing new. A few bay area dealers have had up to 100 in stock at various times for the past 2 years. All good – that’s why you see so many LEAFs in the bay area.