Nissan LEAF Sales For March 2014 Continue To Soar, 2nd Best Month All Time

APR 1 2014 BY JAY COLE 29

Nissan LEAF Sales Across The Country (and yes, including New Jersey) Continue to Be Strong

Nissan LEAF Sales Across The Country (and yes, including New Jersey) Continue to Be Strong

Heading into March Nissan had bested year-over-year result a record 12 months in a row.  However, many of those ‘beats’ were due to some really spotty inventory levels in early 2013 and/or a much more expensive/Japanese-made version of the car.

Nonetheless, you can make that 13 months in a row that LEAF sales have improved as the company edged some very tough comparables from March of 2013, while recording their 2nd best month to date.

March of 2013 Marked The New Standard For EV Sales In The US - It Now Makes Those Year-Over-Year Comps A Lot Harder To Best

March is the first month where a real ‘apples-to-apples’ comparison can be made as the 2014 US-made LEAF from $28,980 was up against its former self (2013 MY) from $28,800.

For March 2,507 LEAFs were sold, which was a 12% improvement over the 2013 LEAF’s debut last year when 2,236 were sold.

“LEAF is continuing to see strong performance as our buyers become evangelists for the vehicle,” said Toby Perry, Nissan’s director of EV Sales and Marketing.  “We’ve also seen an increase in showroom traffic as we enhanced our marketing presence in March.”

Nissan LEAF

With Another Strong Month The Nissan LEAF Retains Its Title As “Best Selling Plug-In” In America For 2014

March’s result is also the company’s 2nd best showing of all-time, surpassed only slightly by December’s 2,529 LEAFs sold.

Overall for the year, 5,184 LEAFs have been sold, a 46.5% improvement of 2013 when 3,539 were moved.

Even though new production levels are online, national inventory levels fell slightly in March as Nissan followed though on Toby Perry’s (Director of EV Sales and Marketing at Nissan) prediction of  “adjusting our mix to match popular models to the right markets.”

Nissan also had a note to us about the strengthen of some specific markets in the US.

“The top 10 traditionally well performing markets remain strong and consistent with players like Washington D.C., Raleigh-Durham, Salt Lake City, and Boston coming on strong. Texas also is showing growth especially in Austin, Houston and Dallas-Ft. Worth. “

Editor’s note: Data on a raw-volume basis, unadjusted for 26 selling days in March 2014 versus 27 selling days in March 2013.  Also on a unrelated note, GM sales for the Volt/ELR/Spark EV have been delayed “due to a computer systems issue that impacted dealer sales reporting”

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29 Comments on "Nissan LEAF Sales For March 2014 Continue To Soar, 2nd Best Month All Time"

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Nice, thanks for reporting as always. Looking forward to the other results!

what would happen with Leaf sales, when the 125-150 miles epa range comes out. 5k per month?

oww and thanks as always for your quick reporting! Always a joy, the first day of the month:-)

My prediction is that we will not see the 150 mile Leaf until they are demand limited for the 84 mile version. They can’t yet build enough batteries to hit that limit. Once they ramp up battery production, and have more supply than they can sell 24kWh at a time, then they will start offering them 40-48kWh at a time.

But isn’t Nissan self-limiting in a way? They could ramp up production further but they won’t do it until they know the demand is there.

Depends on whether you believe them when they say they are limited by suppliers. If you take their statement at face value, then they cannot ramp up battery production faster than they currently are.

It sounds like this current bump is going to be a step change to about 2700-3000 / month. Whether that’s due to supply or just feeling out demand we cannot know for certain. I suspect they will continue to push production capacity for their batteries, given that they have already teased a 150mile version. But I also doubt they will release said version until they hit a demand ceiling for the current one.

Why not come out with a 30-32 KWh model first, then? If they have any brains, they should envision a multi-tiered offering of ranges. Do the 30-32, and once that stabilizes get a 40+ one out.

A model that gets them over the EPA 100 mile psych barrier, will be huge news anyways given the Leaf’s expanding market penetration. 30 KWh should land them just over 100 miles, and 32 KWh close to 110 miles (even accounting for the added weight).

Also, that will prevent their older models from being instantly obsolete and completely devalued. So they can two-tier 24 and 30-32, then switch to two-tiering 30-32 with whatever comes next.

But what am I doing, armchair-QBing some Japanese car company run by one of the savviest businessmen on the planet. The good news are: no lull in this flagship BEV’s advance.

I still think you’re missing my point. If they are truly battery limited (as they claim to be), it doesn’t make sense to offer ANY larger battery options. Even going to a 30-32kWh battery would require more cells per car, thus selling fewer cars overall.

I personally hope that they are battery production limited, and are working hard to overcome that limitation.

If they are demand limited, and even more so with a bigger battery, the solution is easy: Raise the price!

Even better – offer two models – base and extended-range version at a premium.

I’m just guessing.. but I suspect the option of too many different battery sizes creates a problem for Nissan.

With Tesla, they can do this because they are using thousands of 18650 cells and many of those cells are running in parallel. So you can add or remove cells without changing the voltage of the overall battery pack.

Nissan, on the other hand, uses 48 modules in the Leaf. You can’t just add or remove modules, because it would drastically change the voltage of the pack, requiring a total redesign of the power electronics.

So, for each different size of battery, they would have to manufacturer different Amp-hour sizes for the modules. And sure, they can do that, but with such low selling volume it means the modules would be very expensive to setup to manufacture. Economies of scale are what is needed to drive the cost down. Splitting off to several sizes of modules would defeat that.

I guess I had assumed that all of the modules were not connected in series, but digging a little that appears to be incorrect. It is true with 48 modules in parallel, they would have to either double the battery or redesign the modules to get something like a 32kWh battery.

It seems that Nissan didn’t expect people to want more range than they were given (although I can’t imagine why that would be true). Maybe the Leaf 2.0 will have redesigned modules to support multiple battery options.

One thing I noticed is that each module has two cells in series in parallel with another two. If they put all four in series, in theory they could put out the same voltage with 24 modules, and then put those sets of modules in parallel. This would give them multiples of 12kWh, all with the same modules.

Hey Brian:

Just some details on the Solar. Getting a 9kw (or there abouts) system. Did the 60hz work all myself, in agreement with all the contractors. I have them bidding amoungst themselves for the lowest price. But the cost of going solar is much, much less than I thought. Solar Panels and ancillary items are going way down in price. So now is the time to really go Solar. Thanks for showing me your system. Mine will be more oldfashioned than yours, no web access (saves $400), absolutely no ‘bells and whistles’. 2- 4kw basement mounted transformerless inverters, no string optimizers or micro-inverters (I don’t have any shading issues).

Bill,

I’d caution you against the whole house inverters. They often fail after 5 years (and I believe are only warrantied for 5?), whereas the microinverters are guaranteed for 25 years, like the solar panels themselves.

The microinverters can actually do a fair amount of good in the winter too, when some panels may be snow covered but not others.

It’s ultimately your choice of course, but I’d give this some thought. Brian and I both have microinverters (I live a few miles from him) and we’ve seen the benefits they bring first hand.

For reference, I also have zero shade at my house, but in the winter I can have a row of panels clear and the rest snow covered. That can add up, and the warranty difference is very significant too.

The Snow is an issue, but I decided to go with O’Connell Electric as the contractor (they have no effective presence in Buffalo, bu I understand they have a pretty large one in Syracuse , and they won because they are charging me a ‘basic system price’ of only $28,200, which was around 8000 less than Astrum, etc). With Nyserda and fed and state credit, the cost to me ultimately is LOW. They are 4000 (2) Sunny Boys, warranted for ten years, and they’re going in a cool basement year round so, even though inverter service is ‘challenging’ for active electronics, I’m assuming that since these things are german they will be o.k. This was also the only proposal that gave me just what I wanted and nothing about what I didnt. The microinverters are an enigma. I know they have 25 year warranties like the solar panels, but many companies say they start dying in under 3 years, and once up on the roof, I’d assume they’re a pain to get to. There is a high temperature (like a car engine compartment in the summer) that they’re exposed to, which is not the case with a basement mounted inverter.… Read more »

150 mile would certainly change many peoples perception. For me, it would mean being able to head to the next major town and back without worry of recharge.

I think it could raise demand for the Nissan Leaf to 4000 to 6000 a month in that 150 miles is fairly useful in more Rural Suburban areas compared to 80 miles which gets a lot of people nervous.

I think it could easily go well over that. 150 miles against 80 or so is such a difference that the potential amount of interested people is sure to be more than double, I think.

Interesting question.. Also if Nissan is offering a 150 mile and 80 mile Leaf, I suspect the high end version would actually spur more sales of the low-end version too. it would get people to the dealership to look at and consider a Leaf. Then many people would drive one and realize they really don’t need the 150 miles, and settle for the cheaper model. And the simple fact of seeing more Leafs on the road would give more consumers interest and confidence in the car. Its likely they won’t know which version they are seeing on the roads. I’m not even sure us experts will be able to tell them apart visually. I guess we’ll see when they come out.

I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been stumping for some time for Nissan to offer at least two battery pack sizes, with a guarantee when you buy or lease that you can upgrade from the smaller to the larger for a fixed price anytime within, say, the first 6 or 12 months. That would get a lot of people into Leafs with the smaller range, and a lot (most?) would realize based on real-world experience that they don’t really need the upgrade. But if they do, they have the option.

The more Leafs on the road, the less time I have to spend stopping strangers in parking lots and offering to tell them about mine. That’s a joke. Really.

150 miles, not too much more than what it is selling for now, and maybe a little damn advertising, and I think 5k/mo is doable. I get so frustrated when I see that Nissan commercial where the guy shows us 5 models and talks about how “innovative” Nissan is, but doesn’t even mention their most innovative car.

Frankly, I’m (very pleasantly) surprised that Leaf beat out March 2013. Back then, there was a ton of pent-up demand for the upcoming 2013 model. The 2013 numbers even bear that out – the March surge was not bested until August.

March was the first time that I saw someone drive a fully electric sliver Nissan Leaf to the place that I work at. This was the first time that I had seen a fully electric car at the place that I work at.

I noticed you used the less fugly “aero” optioned Leaf image for the article… Too bad it’s not standard.

Just a thought, but there are zero Leaf dealers in Alaska. We all had to bring ours up from down south.

In fact, a friend was laughed out of the Anchorage Nissan dealership when he went in to ask about the Leaf after driving mine.

What is the status of the Georgia $5000 tax credit? I still predict a good year for the LEAF, even if that passes. If it does pass it will be a setback but they have other markets to go after. The time period where the bill is in limbo should actual be very good for sales there!

Ironically on the last day the Georgia senate did business this year, legislators decided that besides removing the rebate, they would start a new program that would see a $2,500 rebate put in it’s place.

And THEN they decided to include PHEVs in that (and cap the program at $10 million).

However, all that messing around would have caused them to miss supper, so they all just went home…for the year.

As it stands, the $5,000 rebate lives on for 2014. /no joke (story here)

The Netherlands had a very good LEAF month too. Norway was as usual. World wide this might end up a bumper month for Nissan.

Indeed! 138 leafs out of 29.500 cars in total in March. That’s nearly 0,5%, pretty ok

each leaf module is a 4 cell stack 2s2p
think each cell is around 33ah or so
since they need to add acapacity and keep voltage the same using the same cells….
they go to either a 2s3p module, or a 2s4p
2s3p give a 50% increase in capacity (36kwh pack) 2s4p gives 100% increase in capacity(48kwh)
pack voltage remains the same, capacity increases, BMS will need to take on the monitoring and balancing of the additional cells
costs kept low because no new cell size is needed. current modules get thicker and heavier. not really a big deal for Nissan considering all they have done with the Leaf.
its a common technic for increasinp pack capacity.