Nissan LEAF Sales Fall In January 2015 For First Time In 2 Years In US

FEB 3 2015 BY JAY COLE 25

Nissan LEAF & Prince Charles Meet Up In January

Nissan LEAF & Prince Charles Meet Up In January

As the calendar flips over to 2015, we should take a moment to reflect on 2014…and it was all LEAF, all the time.

Nissan LEAF Sales Were Also Steady In Japan In 2014

Nissan LEAF Sales Were Also Steady In Japan In 2014

Despite some 22 production electric vehicles on sale in the United States, the Nissan LEAF continued to steadfastly hold onto its 25% market share throughout the year.

In fact every month for the LEAF in 2014 was a record month, besting the previous years by a considerable margin.  And the year before…good for 23 months in a row.

Unfortunately, that streak came to an end in 2015, as just 1,070 units were sold, which was off by about 15% from 2014 when Nissan moved 1,252 cars.

Nissan put a brave face on the numbers by explaining the difference between the selling environment in December vs January.

“We saw a significant increase in demand in December from Nissan LEAF customers looking to take advantage of federal and state incentives at the end of the tax year, which pulled some sales ahead. We’re confident that EV sales will continue to rise over time due to increasing emission regulations and other reasons for purchase of EVs such as lower operating costs, reducing dependence on foreign energy sources, environmental concerns and a great driving experience.” – Brendan Jones, director, Nissan Electric Vehicle Sales and Infrastructure

Last year, Nissan sold 30,200 EVs, the first plug-in vehicle to sell in such an amount in any year, in any country, surpassing the old record set by the Chevrolet Volt – which sold 23,461 back in 2012.

Nissan's Decision To Up Production Capacity Of The LEAF In Smyrna, TN Turned Out To Be A Good Call

Nissan’s Decision To Up Production Capacity Of The LEAF In Smyrna, TN In 2014 Turned Out To Be A Good Call

In 2 Months Time, There Will 1,100 Of These DC Fast Chargers Nationwide In America

In 2 Months Time, There Will 1,100 DC Fast Chargers Nationwide In America (and yes, that is a NISMO LEAF you can’t actually buy in the US)

The question now is, can the Nissan LEAF restart their consecutive monthly record clock, or is this a sign of things to come?

If January is indeed just a blip, how high can the LEAF go?  Will demand stay strong for the Nissan?  Can it hold off the new 2016 Chevrolet Volt set to go on sale in the second half of the year?

It is hard to say, but with an estimated 145,000-155,000 plug-ins being forecasted to be sold in the US market in 2015, if Nissan retains their 25% market share rating, that would work out to be 36,000 to 39,000 new sales.

Also of interest – Nissan held a 26% overall market share of the European plug-in market as well in 2014, add in partner Renault, and the “Alliance” controlled 46% of the market.

Production:  A “perk” if you will of the seasonal slowdown in January and February for electric car sales has been to finally allowed national inventories of the LEAF to grow past the 5,000 unit level for…well, pretty much the first time ever.

Infrastructure:  Nissan noted in January that it expects to see over 1,100 DC fast charging units in America by the end of March this year, with another 600 being added in the 12 months following.



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25 Comments on "Nissan LEAF Sales Fall In January 2015 For First Time In 2 Years In US"

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Considering the historical drop in sales for January, I don’t consider 1,070 vehicles sold to be a bad number. In fact, I figured anything over 1,000 would be considered good. I mean, look at 2013 when only 650 were sold. And 2012 was about the same too.

Nissan and GM have both announced replacements of their current models in this sector. The Leaf and the Volt. Both will be better vehicles than the present offerings. So I see sales slowing down a bit or levelling off while buyers have cheap gas at the moment in North America and wait for the new models. I will purchase a 300klm range electric as soon as it hits the showrooms.

But it has nothing to do with a 30%+ drop in the price of gasoline.

Hmm..80 mile Leaf today or 160 mile Leaf 8 months from today? Or 200 mile Bolt a year from now?

Gas price does not cross the mind of an EV buyer.

You are not going to be able to buy a 160 mile Leaf in October 2015. Nor are you going to be able to buy a Bolt in February 2016. Frankly, I’d be surprised if you can buy either before 2017.

I do wonder, though, if the announcements at NAIAS will make people wait a little bit longer to make the jump. At least until the 2016 Volt arrives (the only truly known quantity – save for MSRP). When it does arrive, the Leaf will be clobbered in sales unless Nissan seriously ups their game.

Nelson – While it might be a couple of years before we see the Bolt & Gen 2 Leaf, I also believe that the slow down in sales is based on buyers waiting for Gen 2 EVs. Dave

Low gas prices! The general public has a short memory. While EV sales were down in January, sales of trucks and SUV’s were way up over last year. As people rush to buy larger vehicles that use more cheap fuel, demand for petroleum will increase causeing prices to increase as well.

That’ll bite them in the a$$ in a year or two when prices go up again.

More accurately, the people who traded their SUVs for a Mazda 5 when a tank of gas soared over $100, are now breathing a sigh of relief and saying “Oh, *finally* I can go back to driving a big SUV again!”

It seems that a lot of people (Americans especially) don’t *like* driving small cars, even if they currently are. And the moment they have the option to not drive them, they do.

Of course, Mitsubishi has the answer to this problem, but they refuse to sell that car in America.

I think what’s also slowing down new car sales is that the used leafs are now at $10,000 dollars for a 2011 leaf and $11,000 for a 2012 leaf. Such as I would much rather spend $10,000 on a 80 mile leaf then $28,000 on a 80 mile range leaf.

I do however think the 150 mile to 250 range leaf would quickly make up for the 80 mile range leaf’s tanking sales.

By this point, most 2011’s on the road are 60-mile Leafs at best, unless they’ve hit the battery-warranty ‘4 bars lost’ threshold and got a new replacement battery. Their range is also less resilient to extreme weather than the newer models.

That said, I totally agree with your other message: Nissan is about 1 model year overdue in bumping up its range. The time for sitting on its BEV segment lead is over. At the very least, they should start offering 30+ KWh battery options with the same form factor, for 2016 model year as well as used replacements.

Where the hell did this boneheaded idea come from? 60 mile Leafs *at best*?

Please. Two weeks ago, I drove my 2012 Leaf the 100 km from my house to Squamish, BC for the first DCQC on my way to Whistler. Highway driving the whole way, and there was still over 20km left on the ol’ guess-o-meter. It was -2 in Squamish when I arrived, with sloppy wet roads lowering my efficiency a bit. We’ve got over 37,000 km on the odometer and 95% SOH.

So I’m a little fuzzy on where your offhand guesstimation comes from, besides a desire to slag my car as a lemon on an internet forum.

I’m guessing this impression comes from reading There are many vocal owners who have lost significant capacity. But I’m guessing that there is a much larger group of owners who have NOT lost significant range, such as you and me. We just aren’t as vocal.

My 2012 Leaf has lost maybe 10% of its range when new. This would bring it from 80 miles to 72. That’s a far cry from 60 (25% loss). PLUS I am running on cheapo tires – they are NOT LRR – so I’m taking a hit just from that.

Not that it matters much. A 60 mile Leaf is almost as useful to me as an 80 mile Leaf. I rarely take trips longer than 60 miles and less than 80 miles. Most of my days are either less than 30 miles or more than 100.

I am also one of those owners who at best get 60 miles on a full charge. We have a 2011 Leaf with 2 bars missing at only 8900 miles. I get 60 miles down to the last 2 bars on the SOC meter. In the winter like now we get 40 miles if we keep the heater turned OFF.

If you lived in a warmer climate you would see way more capacity loss.

Yeah, that doesn’t help. And to flip it around, people are understandably hesitant to put down $28,000 on a car that’s likely only worth $10,000 in 2-3 years from now.

I don’t expect the 150 mile Leaf to arrive for another two years, but if we have the same 80 mile Leaf in the meantime, sales will struggle just to keep pace.

I really hope that Nissan provides a bump to the 2016 model. Even just to an honest 100 miles (EPA). If they don’t, they will be clobbered by the Volt 2.0.

Vehicles are NOT investments. I cannot understand why people obsess over the resale value of a car. Cars are a financial loss, by default. They are a siphon out of your wallet – the only difference is that an EV uses a garden hose while a regular ICE uses a 3′ sewer line.

The only return on investment from a car is the usefulness you get out of it while it is not too burdensome to maintain (under 200k miles).

Agreed. Cars are not investments. They are a loss. However, resale absolutely matters when you consider Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). With such huge depreciation, it’s unlikely that an EV will have a lower TCO than an ICEV over a 3-5 year term.

I traded in a Civic for my Leaf in 2012. Unless I keep the Leaf for a decade (possibly longer), it will not be able to match the TCO of just keeping the Civic. At 35MPG, fuel was not that expensive. Plus I drive less than 10,000 miles/year. Other maintenance does not add up to even $1,000/year. I did it anyway because I wanted to drive an EV, and had a little extra money to afford to do so. Others will not be willing to make that leap.

Yeah.. but I’d much rather have a 2013+ Leaf due to the variety of improvements to the car. Also, as Assaf pointed out, most of the 2011/2012 Leafs are doing about 60 miles instead of 80.


Both low gas prices and the companies offering significantly improved models in the near future are going to suppress sales of the Leaf and the Volt, at least for the next few months.

However, it looks like the “double the range” Leaf won’t be appearing in 2015, and I have my doubts about 2016.

Fortunately for PEV sales (but unfortunately for the U.S. economy), gas prices are predicted to soar upwards again over the course of this year. The combination of more compelling (by which I mean, longer range and faster charging) PEVs, coupled with the continually spiking prices for gasoline, should drive more and more buyers towards plug-in EVs.

The only question is just when that will happen in large enough numbers to start the exponential growth that marks the norm for a disruptive tech revolution. I think we won’t see that until 2017 at the earliest, and maybe not until the Tesla Model ≡ debuts (2018 or 2019?); here’s hoping I’m wrong!

I too am hoping for a last year of the original LEAF upgrade to add some range to the battery by updating the chemistry and density again. Would make replacement packs even more useful in older cars.

My wife wants a KIA Soul because of the larger pack and slightly increased range. And the heated and cooled seats. So… hopefully Nissan will roll out the final LEAF year soon with some nice polish. And how about a bunch of new colors too… just for variety sake.

Love our LEAF! 17000 miles and counting!

The nissan leaf is a jewel of technology and usefulness TODAY. The only reason sales have not gone up is because 95% of people are uninformed. Gas is back to 1999 prices, and the general sheep population believe the news reports that we just have “too much” oil. My leaf and ev friends, we know about peak oil, and are like Noah building the ark. In a few years when oil prices go to 6 to 8$, our leafs will be on the top stolen car list!!

The leaf is losing value fast, and because of the electronics it will expensive and hard to find someone to repair it, many Nissan Dealers will not sell or service the Leaf. Its just a toy for the rich to play with for a few years and then toss in the junk pile. many peolpe hoping to save money on this car are now find out the truth its not reliable and end the end will cost the same or more than a gas car to operate.

From the beginning i had nothing but trouble from the Leaf i purchased in oct 2014. i made the mistake of buying vs leasing, when you buy you can complained all you want to but no results. Sales people told us we could use generators to recharge car but we found out later in fine print not to use generators. Limited range when using ac or heat and the car was in south carolina. The temp drop to 35 degrees and we could only get 40 miles using heat, and the 3600 watt charger was a joke. We got ripped off.min charge time was at least 7 hours.