Nissan LEAF Is World’s # 1 Selling EV, But #2 Might Surprise You

FEB 20 2019 BY MARK KANE 93

Nissan LEAF needs to double or triple sales to prolong its leadership

The Nissan LEAF is (and will remain for quite some time) the best-selling plug-in electric car with more than 360,000 units worldwide, according to data released by Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg.

The second best-selling model globally is Tesla Model S with more than 240,000, followed by another BEV – the BAIC EC-Series – with over 170,000 sales. The results are similar, although the numbers are slightly different, compared to EV Sales Blog report.

For U.S Electric Car Sales Click Here

Global plug-in car stock

Because the Model S ins a premium model, with average prices probably more than two times higher than in the case of the LEAF, we could assume that the Model S is top-selling plug-in car by revenue, as well as by deployed battery capacity.

Global plug-in car registrations

There is a big chance that in 2020, first place in cumulative rank will be taken by the Tesla Model 3, but a lot depends on the pace of growth compared to the LEAF, which adds more than 80,000 units per year.

data source: Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg via

Categories: Nissan, Sales, Tesla

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93 Comments on "Nissan LEAF Is World’s # 1 Selling EV, But #2 Might Surprise You"

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Well, they are both most readily available EVs in the world.

So, availability has a high correlation with sales…

“So, availability has a high correlation with sales…“

That statement makes little or no sense. You can have crappy EV’s that are available but do not sell, thus no covariance (or correlation) between availability and sales.

In logic, that is known as post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy or commonly known as correlation is not causation or causality.


Why do you think the redesigned Leaf is not selling well in today’s market?

It’s not selling well in the United States market. It is selling very well everywhere else. Just an observation.

everywhere else where Model 3 is not available or availability just started

It should be Nissans best selling car. Best Nissan ever made. There is a lot of fake news and trolls online about the LEAFs having battery problems. The LEAFs have 2 problems, trolls and a lack of owner education. If LEAF owners took care of their cars like Tesla owners do they would last forever.

Lack of liquid thermal battery temperature management results in 20% to 40% capacity loss PER YEAR in hot climates like Phoenix, AZ. Why do you think the Leaf has THE worst depreciation rate of any car on the market?

Annnnnnnnnnnnnd that didn’t take long to prove Dudamus’ point. LOL

Not sure what you mean?

And for the leaf in moderate temperature? you see you guys still point about extreme hot temperature as if the whole world has it.

If you fast charge the leaf constantly, even in moderate temps, you still have issues.
However, I have suggested to others to buy the leaf if they live north of Colorado Springs. Why? Because it is moderate temps.

That has not been a problem for us in ambient temps up to 96F. We stop at 80% charge as recommended by the manufacturer.

I know it gets really hot where I live and we do not have any problems with our LEAFs. Just do not let any EV sit at 100% charge in the heat. There are some excellent discussions about that by the battery university. Keep in mind that Active cooling systems are designed to mitigate the high temperatures associated with recharging cars, they do nothing to cool the batteries from ambient temperatures.

the battery and the fact that the MAJORITY of leafs in America were leased, not sold.

Not sure why anyone would lease a car that will last forever if they know how to care for it. Its like burning money.

We took our 40kWh LEAF for a out of town trip last weekend, it did not get hot at all. Excellent cars. The rapidgate videos are a hoax. As a matter of act I think your a hoax too. You should not spread lies about the LEAF like that. The car has excellent service even in hot climates where I live and in Phoenix too. IF you own any EV do not let it sit at 100% charge all the time. It saddens me to see lots of owners do that, they do not read the instruction, then they have a low miles Tesla or LEAF or BMW with massive degradation.

Go ahead and call me a troll. Nissan has several problems:
-Stagnation – Very slow to upgrade the LEAF
-Range – up until recently, the range has been too limited
-Chademo in the USA – Stop being stubborn and add CCS for the USA
-Design – Meh…and the newer design seems worse than old one IMHO.

Great things about Nissan LEAF:
-Wide availability – Especially worldwide
-Affordable price!

Familes all over the world will love the LEAFs for generations. Great cars and they will lst forever if you take care of them and know how to use them. Best cars Datsun or Nissan has ever made.

wow. How were you modded up at all.
All of the old leafs have air cooled batteries, which are disasters in Az, NM, TX, CA, etc.
And no, it is not a troll to speak up about it.
In addition, nissan leased the heck out of these, so, they are cheap to own now.

BTW, I have an uncle-in-law that helped develop these battery systems in Detroit. The air cooling was forced on the leaf, it was not what they wanted. However up north, it worked FINE. But even the engineers KNEW that it was going to be having issues down south (but apparently, they did not know that it would go this badly).

MY battery is just fine, how many LEAFs have you owned? I have 4 and I live in a hot climate with about 160,000 total miles on 4 cars. Great cars and every one still charges to 110% to 120% of its rated capacity.

California does not have weather extremes and rarely gets above 90 deg except for perhaps 1 month staying at 75 deg plus or minus 10 deg all year round. Yet, there is a plethora of owners reporting severe battery degradation in the forums and facebook groups. Plus, Nissan recently stopped subsidizing battery pack replacements that cost 9k or more.

That is true. I wish owners would take better care of their cars. If your car degrades before the warranty is up Nissan will replace the battery for free. Excellent service. Great warranties too.

Perhaps because we are very aware the LEAF+ is just around the corner.

leaf+ should actually do something that the leaf did not do: sell well.

Not quite Jason.
Every vehicle built gets sold (with very few exceptions).
So availabiliy does equate to sales. Maybe not profitable sales but they get sold one way or another.

The first step is to understand how the auto industry manages production; it’s the same in almost all industrial manufacturing. The key metric of production is days sales of inventory. Production responds to demand. When the Prius was at the height of its popularity, days inventory was down to effectively zero. When the Bolt discounting started (straight after introduction) it was because buyers were not demanding cars and the inventory was not being depleted. GM can “see” through its franchise reports, almost daily sales performance and inventory. As the days inventory increased, GM slowed production.
Note that Tesla did the same thing with the S (and X) where it was reducing inventory, reducing production, laying off staff, and reducing options and colors to try to balance (reduce) production to pace demand.

This is a rather ridiculous way to put it.
Yes, “every vehicle built gets sold”… but not at original MSRP. Stating that availability equates to sales (but maybe not profitable sales) is playing word games, as increasing availability to the point that sales are unprofitable is something to be avoided.

It’s like saying that every person who has seen a doctor has (eventually) gotten sick anyway, therefore receiving healthcare has a high correlation with contracting illness.

Points for the Latin. It snows in Minnesota every time my mother calls. If she stops calling, maybe it will stop snowing? Truth is, she calls because it snows and she likes to poke at me because she no longer lives in a cold, dark state.

Jason, you’re quite right of course — and “ModernMarvelFan” is hopefully yet to study Statistics at a high school level.
Production and availability are driven by demand. Chev would have built another half million Bolts in 2018 if there were not already abundant days’ supply of the things already in “lot rot.”

post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, also; they are not making many…because they cannot sell many.

That is Great ! However., Model 3 Will Surpass That before the production yr. is out … How Many Years did it take Nissan To Reach That Number ??? …….. 🙂

You may ask “How many years did it take Nissan to reach that number”, or you may ask “For how many years, without interruption, was Nissan was mass producing affordable, globally available and practical BEV’s, while continuously improving them – while many others weren’t, and many still aren’t”.

It depends on whether you respect Nissan contribution to the rEVolution or not.

I Definitely respect Nissan For that ! It’s a Nice Little Car . But I Think Tesla Was The One That Gave all Car Builders The Nudge that They Needed to Get it Going ..

Arguably the Prius did more for the profile of eco-motoring than any other car to date. It sure as hell wasn’t a silicon valley supercar for 1%ers.

They slow walked the development.
They should be much further ahead than where they are.
So they get low marks from me.

Must be some alternate world where Nissan kept continuously improving the Leaf. Here in this world, they let that languish for years and years, with almost no improvements at all except slight improvements to the wholly inadequate battery chemistry.

If Nissan had continually improved the Leaf, Tesla wouldn’t now be outselling them in the BEV market.

What planet are you on?

One? They’ve always been at the top of the list of EVs ranked by global cumulative lifetime sales, year after year, mostly because they were the first mass produced EV… before them, there’s the EV1 and the Roadster, but neither of those were really mass produced…

Not sure about even older electric vehicles from the early 1900s…

I don’t think it will be in 2019. More likely 2020. The table shows approx a 215,000 difference as of end of 2018. Elon’s statements in the last investor call said continuing to ramp in the US so that by end of 2019 the output from Fremont is 7000 per week Now last night he had twitter diarrhea again making bigger claims which apparently the new general council thought that was pretty dumb because he quit today just two months in. So I’m sticking with investor call info where China production won’t materially impact 2019, current production around 5000 per week, and 7000 by year end. Taking an average for the year of 6000 (less than that now, more than that later) time 52 (I’m betting they’ll have more predictable shutdown times/maintenance this year too which is a solid 2 weeks but nonetheless I’ll use 52) gets you about 312, 000 M3 out the door this year. That eats up the gap and surpasses by 97,000…BUT you have to include Leaf sales in 2019. In 2018 without long range version, the Leaf sold there were 87,000 Leaf sales. So that’s the 2019 floor. In Q4 2-18 however there were 23,000-ish… Read more »

I think you’re spot on. The new Leaf is already showing strong demand. I doubt we’ll see 2020-2025 as a market dominated by Tesla or any one maker because there will be competitive products from Hyundai, Kia, Honda, GM, Ford, etc., and soon enough even Toyota will have to quit their nonsense fuel-cell and hybrid emphasis (still making PHEV like the Corolla) and shifting to BEVs like the C-HR CUV in 2020.

Agree with your numbers. Although Tesla may already have passed the 6k/week number and may be closer to the 8k/week by the end of the year.

Poor M3 Fanboys. The car was three years late, finally catching up with 2 months of sales from those there years of waiting, and they think they can catch up.

What ?
Three years late ? (Snort!)

Obviously, they will catch up by 2020 at the latest. As the article states, the exact time depends on both companies but the current production rates project 2020.

they will produce over 400,000 M3s this year.
I suspect that will suffice.

They just laid off another 10,000 employees at Tesla, or was it 10%. I’m afraid it is not selling well. No service and poor quality. Two Teslas caught on fire in the States last week. One occupant burned alive. IF you own a X or S you should be giving Tesla heck for selling you a car they knew was defective and dangerous. If its not the notoriously fast battery degradation its the inextinguishable flames. Tesla needs to replace all those 18650 based battery packs with the safe long lasting gigafactory batteries.

Just wait till the LEAF+ comes out.

The figures reported by the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg are quite handy but innacurate. Nissan reported over 380,000 Leafs sold by the end of 2018. Adding up Tesla’s quarterly reports the total is over 260,000, and so on. Check the figures publish by InsideEVs and you will confirm they don’t add up. This Center is not a reliable source.

Nissan reported a total of nearly 390000 Nissan Leafs sold by the end of January 2019. They are expected to pass 400000 units in late February to March this year. There are some indications rumors on that European orders have increased due to the e-plus Leaf by about 20% in total. It’s possible Nissan will sell well over 100000 Leafs this calendar year, taking their total sales to over 500000 by years end.

The Mission IS NOT a competition. Why cannot all these dumb pharks get that simple thought through their thick skulls?

Right! I’d like to see dozens EVs selling over 100k each globally per year!

~300 000 VINS already issued for Model 3.

That list will shuffle a lot in the next year or two…..

Inside EV’s has written a misleading headline. Nissan Leaf is not the World’s #1 selling EV, the Tesla Model 3 is – the word ‘selling’ implies current state. But it does own the crown for the highest number sold to date, which is nothing to sneer at.

“Lost In Translation!”
Yes, “Selling” = Current, while “Sold” = Past!

So… Leaf = “Most Sold EV”, but, as things will show, once Tesla gets High Volume Model 3 European Shipments sorted out, that it is the #1 Selling EV, Currently!

Sorry the Nissan LEAF is the best selling EV of all time, like in history. That is what counts, not two months of a sales surge. Now that all of the luxury market BEVs are coming online, 2019 will become the year that Tesla begins its ride to be just another BEV.

Yeah, critics have been saying that for more than 6 years now. It actually might turn out to be true and if the other manufacturers manage to steal Tesla’s lunch, it will be Mission Accomplished. That said, I think Elon’s cookies are safe for still some time.

Then the Model Y comes on-line, then the Tesla Pick-up, next the truck SUV version………Lot’s of runway for Tesla

Most likely Nissan Leaf will retain its leadership even if it sells 100,000 units with the help of short and long range models.
But last month their sales are very low in Japan despite launch of long range model. Probably because the bad management is trying to subdue the model. Even in Europe and US its sales are not that great.

For Model-3 the target will be to overtake Model-S. They can also catch up with BAIC EC-Series if its sales did not skyrocket.

The Model 3 should surpass Model S cumulative sales by 50,000 or more easily by the end of the year. Its only competition going into 2020 will be the Leaf.

That would be nice, but this is an article about the Nissan LEAF which is also a great car, great family car.

I suspect a lot of X and S owners are switchimg to the 3 for a better battery and battery degradation warranty. Two Teslas caught on fire in the States last week. One occupant burned alive. IF you own a X or S you should be giving Tesla heck for selling you a car they knew was defective and dangerous. If its not the notoriously fast battery degradation its the inextinguishable flames. Tesla needs to replace all those 18650 based battery packs with the safe long lasting gigafactory batteries.

Probably Tesla Model-3 will overtake Toyota Prius PHEV in 2-3 months to get into #6 place. I think from March, every month will get interesting.

Carlos Ghosn’s new lawyer (Razor) fires up the case accusing both Japan and Nissan.

Leaf vs Tesla 3. Per one commentor, lets say the Leaf gets to 500,000 by the end of the year. Bloomberg’s Tesla 3 tracker had 203,000 Model 3 constructed – 55,000 more by end of February compared to end of last December (2 months). They also have a current production at over 8000 units/week the last two weeks. If that holds, its another 350,000 units by years end. And that assumes the China plant doesn’t produce any units this year. So somewhere above 530,000 model 3’s by the end of December.

2018 was a transition year for the Leaf (new model with 151 mile range) sales could be much better in 2019. Nissan has the capacity to produce 250,000 Leafs a year, so they are demand constrained. lets call it a tie sometime in December 2019.

Social media has the sales for Model 3’s in China (of US made models being sent) coming in faster than the current production rate of 8000/week.

Model Y will slow the sales of the Model 3 in 2020……but Model 3 should still outpace the Leaf moving forward. I also expect Nissan will launch some other EVs (larger) that will also dampen the demand for the leaf.

Lets hope they all sell a million zero emission cars.

Model 3 will outrun everybody in just 2 years (2018 – 2019)

“All I know is my gut tells me maybe.” Hehe! Exciting times ahead!

Lets hope they are still in business then.

The trolls are rampant in this site. Not good. Not good at all.

Yes, there has been a bit of influx of trolls. I can’t post anything without being downvoted.

But on the bright side, it shows that EVs have grown so much that they now have people fighting them.

“first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”….we are at stage 3! 😀

Yep you cannot even discuss the virtues of a family sedan without getting attacked by trolls spreading fake news. In some great factual news we took my wife’s 2018 SL LEAF on its first road trip over the weekend. It didn;’t heat up at all when we drove it. We quick charged twice to 80% and once to 89% and it didn;t heat up at all. I would suspect the rapidgate videos are a hoax. We could not see that at all. My son drove his 2016 30kWh LEAF 110 miles to the same location, he had about 30 miles left after driving 110 miles. Great car. He has about 31,000 miles on his LEAF now. We usually charge to 80% but we all charged to 100% before this road trip. The LEAF is the best family car Nissan has ever made. I wish this was my fist Datsun instead of a 1972 510. I used to think some of my gas cars were good cars — Camry, Corolla, Prius, CRV, etc. The LEAF is better built and more reliable. Just make sure the limited range suites your commute though, you need extra range for heat, AC, and extra errands.

Model 3 will easily be number one this year.

What about the Bolt. What a fabulous car.

Its a great family car too, but this supposed to be an article about the Nissan LEAF, but it seems it has been captured and attacked by trolls.

The takeaway appears to be that the largest producer of electric cars between 2017 – 2018 appears to be Tesla by a factor of almost three to one. Tesla produced almost 200,000 EVs while Nissan was around 80,000. That is a more significant fact than how many of a particular model is registered. The landscape will change over the next few years as the demand for expensive EVs is saturated. Average consumers either can not or will not stomach the higher acquisition cost of EVs and can’t or won’t look down the road to take into account lower EV operating costs (except, cough, for the LEAF I used to own, but that’s another story). Companies like BYD that can produces EVs with costs similar to traditional gasoline powered cars will have an opportunity if they can homologate their products to sell globally (which is not necessarily easy).

Don’t forget that Nissan is just one manufacturer in a company of three manufacturers. With Renault and the e-nv 200, total EV’s built would be around the 150,000 mark. Not taking anything away from Tesla, just trying to be a little factual.

Probable closer to 200,000+ if you count the models made by Mitsubishiu and Goendfeng? in China.

I am a loyal Nissan Leaf fan. I received the first of my three Leafs in 2011. I leased each one understanding that the technology and features would change very quickly. However, over the years, it became obvious to me that while Nissan bravely established a beachhead in the auto market and opened BEV sales to the world, something no one else did until Tesla, they have consistently dragged their feet in addressing the competition. Most notably, their response to the Chevy Bolt. Which, after two years, Nissan still has no resonse for with similar range. Also, their staunch rejection of battery thermal management upgrades. It feels like they have lost their interest in the direction that EVs are taking the auto industry. Globally, traditional auto makers seem to be unable to create a new business model that allows them to remain profitable durring this migration to EVs. Hence, their inept response to Tesla. Interestingly, their procrasstination will likely be the downfall of many.

P.S. I currently own a Model 3 Dual Motor and am waiting to turn in my last Leaf and move to a Kia e-Nero (when available in Oregon – probably a lease also).

That’s great. Nissan does a lot of testing before they sell a product. They will not rush a product to market. Nissan and their alliance probable sold over 200,000 EV and PHEVs last year. Great cars.

Where is the Bolt? Best range of them all!

There are several with longer ranges than the Bolt. My Model 3 has 310 miles of range. The Model 3 mid-range over 260…at a similar price point.

Why do so many people care about the range of the cars, how far did your gas cars go? Is this some sort of fallacy that people use to justify “not buying an EV”. Just make sure it goes twice as far as your daily commute. MY daily commute is 38 miles and my old Nissan LEAF is perfect.

Just a few months before the Tesla Model 3 rockets passed all of those.

They laid off another 10% of their employees last week.

Who cares? The Tesla model 3 will be tops all time later this year and for at least the next four years.

There could be problems for tesla. They laid off 10% of their employees last week. Two Teslas caught on fire in the States last week. One occupant burned alive. IF you own a X or S you should be giving Tesla heck for selling you a car they knew was defective and dangerous. If its not the notoriously fast battery degradation its the inextinguishable flames. Tesla needs to replace all those 18650 based battery packs with the safe long lasting gigafactory batteries. That could cost them a lot in sales and PR.

well, model 3 will almost certainly go to #1 this year.

Tesla expects around 400,000 M3s to be produced/sold for 2019.
Leaf is selling less than 80K / year, and dropping.
So, leaf should hit around 450K, while M3 will hit around 550K, by end of year.

Leaf sold around 90,000 last year and is increasing. Indications are well over 100,000 this year.

Who expects that?

I love my 18 leaf until the WINTER hit and I only get about 80 to 100 kms per charge in -15c or colder. Other than that.. LOVE THE CAR!

Wow that must be really cold. I lost about 15% at 26F in my 2012 LEAF. My wife looses a bit more in her 2018 LEAF. I small lap blanket can help make it more comfy. I recommend the Car Cozy 2 electric blanket, it only users 50watts and doesn’t eat into your battery range.