Nissan LEAF Sales Soar

Despite Negative Rhetoric, Sales of Electric Cars Soar

Written by Brian Hicks
Posted November 22, 2011

One argument we often hear against the integration of electric cars is that no one wants them.

Of course, there isn't a shred of data to support such a claim.

Still, with so few electric vehicles on our nation's roads and highways right now, it's easy to see how some folks could get caught up in that kind of negative hype.

But the truth is, this first round of electric vehicle sales is proving to be quite successful. Especially considering that this is really the first year that we've had the opportunity to even purchase a mass-produced electric vehicle delivered by a major auto manufacturer.

Take the all-electric Nissan LEAF, for example.

So far, Nissan has sold about 8,500 LEAFs in the U.S.

How does that number stack up against previous disruptive vehicle technologies?

Well, when Toyota first launched the Prius Hybrid in 1997, the Japanese automaker sold only 3,000 units.

So in its first year, Nissan has sold about 5,500 more units of an all-electric vehicle. Not too shabby. Especially considering that the LEAF carries with it the burden of range anxiety. Something that Prius owners have never had to deal with.

Over the years, the Prius did turn out to be a major winner for Toyota. Just one year after the Prius first hit showrooms, total sales hit 20,000. And today – well, total Prius sales numbers are in excess of 3 million, with about half of those sales generated in the U.S.

Now Nissan has clearly taken an early lead in electric vehicle development, much in the same way Toyota took (and maintains) the lead in conventional hybrid vehicles. In fact, the company announced last month that it has set a goal of selling 1.5 million electric vehicles by 2016. That's only about four years away. And I have no doubt that this very aggressive goal will be met.

To date, global sales of the Nissan LEAF are in excess of 17,000.

And there are plenty of folks still on the waiting list to get one, too.