For most of us who follow the LEAF in the United States, we just assumed Nissan-Renault's original stated goal of "selling 500,000 plug-in electric vehicles by 2015" from back when they first introduced the 73 mile EV would have to fall at some point.
41,000 LEAFs Sold Worldwide Through September
Who knew the number would go up?
But that is the case, as Hideaki Watanabe, Managing Director of Zero Emission Vehicles expressed the new goal at the Paris Motor Show this past week while promoting Renault's next best hope, the Zoe.
"Zoe is coming out. This is going to be a big momentum as well (for the compnay). Renault-Nissan Alliance has very strong, two cars (ZoeLEAF) coming out to the road. Attractive. So EV market is going to expand. We are committed to sell a cumulative 1.5 million cars by 2016."
(Video of Hideaki talking about the Zoe/LEAF and this goal below)
One thing you can say for sure, is that Nissan and Renault don't aim low. But is this a reasonable expectation? Is it possible for them to even come close when examinging their worldwide numbers to date? Just looking at US sales of the LEAF, with only 14,905 in the books, would give certainly give the impression the Alliance is out to lunch with their numbers.
Expanding the net (and our gaze) a little wider makes it still plenty doubtful, but theoretically possible. Worldwide, the Nissan LEAF passed 41,000 this past September, and Renault is selling a lot of EVs these days in Europe.
2013 Nissan e-NV200 - Passenger Edition
Looking at Reanult, the Fluence ZE is the laggard of the group (thanks to Better Place's inability to sell cars) with 1,537 sold through August, while the Kangoo ZE utility van seems to be finding a market since it when on sale at the start of the year with 3,667 units.
Then we come to the Twizy, Renault's mini-city car, and although just introduced, Europeans seems to love it (and why not at around $11,000 USD), 7,460 sold between March and August. It already is the best selling plug-in this year in Europe. Renault will sell 60,000 of these next year easily.
That gives us 53,664 (+Renault's September sales-yet to be announced) EVs actually sold by the pair, much better than looking at just the US 15,000 figure, but still a long way from 1.5 million in 4.5 years.
Generation Next - 2013 Renault Zoe
The wild cards (or cars if you will) is the Zoe for Renault, and the (expected) pricing cuts for the LEAF as it starts production away from Japan in the next few months in both Sunderland (UK) and Smyrna, TN (US).
The Zoe at about $24,000 US dollars in Europe with $100 battery lease has a deep pre-order reservation list, and is seen to be the silver bullet. The Zoe has a expected range of 130 miles (NEDC) and comes with Renault's own Chameleon Charging system (allowing for a variable charge to be accepted, depending on the EVSE equipment-up to 43 kW).
2014 Infiniti LE
Our year end sales estimate for Renault looks to be around 25,000 plug-ins, and Nissan around 55,000, giving the alliance 80,000 total units sold That leaves about 1.4 million more to go over the next four years.
Clearly sales are accelerating at Nissan-Renault, and they will make good on their original promise to sell 500,000 by 2015, but 1.5 million still seems a bit shaky. A million seems doable, and that is not too shabby in the end.