With the multi-award winning Nissan LEAF entering European production in 2013, Nissan has today announced the measures that it will take to prepare the market for this step up in production volumes.The plans focus on improving the environment for electric vehicles and, during fiscal year 2012, will see the Nissan LEAF sold in more markets, by more dealers, with a radically improved quick charging network.
With all of these important actions on the horizon, Paul Willcox, Nissan's Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing in Europe, is looking forward to the coming year, commenting: "This is a big year for the Nissan LEAF in Europe and we are committed to creating an environment for electric mobility to thrive across the continent. 2011 was a huge year for us and with all of these significant and tangible improvements to infrastructure, dealer network, incentives, and production we are looking forward to significant growth in the lead up to European Production."
Market and Dealer Expansion
In 2012, Nissan will radically increase the number of dealers selling the LEAF in Europe, making it accessible to many consumers for the first time. Today the Nissan LEAF is on sale in 14 markets across Europe, with a total of 110 dealers. By the end of March 2013, that will have dramatically increased by almost ten times, with over 1000 dealers actively marketing the Nissan LEAF - all Nissan dealers will be equipped with charging points thus expanding the charging infrastructure for LEAF drivers. By 2013, the Nissan LEAF will be available for sale in 24 European markets.
Customer evaluation vehicles
In advance of this there will be a significant increase in LEAF's available at dealers with over 700 dealers in Europe offering customers a chance to experience LEAF by the end of April 2012. The scheme will continue to develop during the next 12 months, adding to the number of demonstration and courtesy vehicles available to customers within Europe.
30 Minute Quick Charger Cost Reduction and Deployment
In 2011, Nissan made a significant engineering breakthrough in launching its own quick charger into Europe, which is available at around 50% of the cost of conventional units (below 10,000 Euros). This Direct Current (DC) Quick charger charges the Nissan LEAF, or any other ChadeMo compliant vehicle, to 80% capacity in just 30 minutes.
It is also 'AC ready' to support the arrival of EVs from Alliance partner Renault designed to 43kW AC quick charge standards. The Renault-Nissan Alliance is promoting infrastructure deployment based on AC-DC Mix Quick Charger strategy.
The cost reduction radically changes the economics of installing DC Quick charging points at key locations across Europe, and opens up new possibilities for Nissan LEAF owners. To push this network expansion further and jump-start the full scale commercial deployment in 2012 Nissan is giving 400 DC Quick chargers for free to cities and regions in Europe. These free units will give thousands of customers the opportunity to experience the convenience of charging quickly while significantly expanding the range of their vehicle.
This initiative follows an agreement between Nissan and five of Europe's leading utility and EV infrastructure supply companies to speed up the provision of the latest quick chargers developed by Nissan. Nissan expects thousands of ChadeMo quick charging points to be installed across Europe by the end of 2012, and tens of thousands of by end of 2015.
Nissan LEAF Marketing Campaign
March 2012 will see an innovative online focussed campaign centred around the Nissan LEAF, 100 days to convert the maximum number of people to 100% electric driving taking the car to a whole new audience and introducing them to its unique benefits. Alongside this online campaign will be a new brand advertising campaign, which will have the Nissan LEAF as the ultimate demonstration of Nissan's innovation, putting the car on television for the first time in many markets.
Battery Production in the UK
During the first half of 2012 battery production will start at Nissan's record-breaking Sunderland plant. This important milestone will be the first step towards the European production of the Nissan LEAF. The production of batteries in the UK significantly increases the flexibility of the supply chain and protects it from shifts in exchange rates.
All of these actions will lay the foundations for the introduction of the European-built Nissan LEAF at the Sunderland plant in the UK. Building the car in the UK will reduce lead times, increase supply, mitigate currency fluctuations and reduce the carbon footprint of bringing the car to the customer.
"Second Life" for Electric Vehicle Batteries
As the electric vehicle market expands questions are often raised about what happens to batteries after they have been removed from vehicles. Nissan is working with its alliance partner Renault to identify suitable partners for trial of "Second Life" uses for battery packs. Electric vehicle battery packs are expected to be in strong demand for use in the storage of electricity from sustainable sources, where peak production and peak demand are sometimes not aligned. They can also be used for back-up electricity in areas of unreliable grid electricity or for grid load balancing. It is expected that after any second life usage, the batteries would still be recycled due to the intrinsic value and recyclability of the materials used inside. Further details on Nissan's "Second Life" battery programme will be announced in the next 12 months.