Nissan seeks to drive electric car Leaf into India

Nissan Motor Corp has said it wants to bring in its best-selling electric car Leaf to India and is open to collaboration with local manufacturers to provide charging infrastructure for electric cars — a key roadblock in the development of this segment.

“We are actively looking at the Leaf for India….I think there is a lot of potential for that car here,” said Andy Palmer, chief planning officer, Nissan Motor Corp. “There is no doubt electric cars are the future. The product is there what we need is infrastructure. Charging is a big challenge. We are open to collaboration with local manufacturers on that.”

At present, utility vehicle major Mahindra and Mahindra is the only electric car maker in India, thanks to its acquisition of Reva nearly four years ago.

Nissan uses the franchise model to charge electric cars in Europe while in the US, the infrastructure is largely created by the government. In India, it wants to emulate the Japan ese model where the company has a collaboration with domestic car makers —  Toyota, Honda and Mitsubishi.

“That is the fasest and easiest way of setting up charging stations,” said Palmer, refusing to specify if he has already contacted Mahindra. The latter is also said to have been open to collaborations in the electric vehicle space.

“We are open to collaboration with any company that has a vision for electric vehicles in India,” said Pawan Goenka, executive director and president, automotive, M&M.

Lack of subsidies and government support have stunted the growth for electric and hybrid  vehicles in India. Mahindra’s e2o has not found many takers due to its steep price while Toyota’s hybrid cars — Prius and Camry — have met the same fate.