LEAF electric car overshadows Chevy Volt sales

LEAF Nissan and Chevy Volt are two options for electric car launched simultaneously in the U.S. market. Automobile magazine has been interested in knowing which of them has attracted more attention and it seems that the electric car Nissan LEAF is gaining an advantage. 3875 Nissan electric cars sold since the beginning of LEAF, while 2745 has sold Chevrolet Volt.

One might think that the combination of electric motor + gasoline engine that provides the Volt is the most interesting for the present times, a time when the infrastructure needed to recharge the electric cars ‘full electric’ continues to unfold slowly, but maybe the $8,000 costs more is another factor to consider. LEAF costs $32,780 (before taxes and subsidies) against the $41,000 it costs Volt.

In June, Nissan sold 1,708 Leaf units in the U.S., easily overshadowing Chevrolet’s Volt, which tallied 561 unit sales. In May, Nissan sold 1,142 Leaf units while Chevrolet sold 481 Volts.

Nissan’s Leaf is a fully electric vehicle and is capable of driving for about 160 km on a single charge. The Volt, by contrast, is a hybrid that lasts about 64 km on a single electric charge before its gas engine kicks in. Nissan has said its Smyrna, Tenn., plant will be able to build 150,000 Leafs annually after production of the electric car starts there next year. GM has officially said its Detroit-Hamtramck plant will build 60,000 Volts next year, but CEO Dan Akerson has said he hopes GM eventually will build more than 100,000 a year.

These figures reflect only the first six months of sales, but to encourage other manufacturers to make their own electric cars soon, especially considering that Nissan’s figures include the halt in production caused by the tsunami in Japan in March past. Nissan expects to have between 10,000 and 12,000 electric vehicles circulating at the end of the year.

By José Santamarta, www.evwind.es