By Colin Bird on January 23, 2011
We’ve already reported on some of the initial supply constraints Nissan is having with its Leaf, and the delays will continue for the next few months to come, according to a company spokesman.
Initial production has been slowed so that the automaker can “get it absolutely perfect and make sure there’s no perception the car isn’t ready for market,” Nissan’s chief U.S. spokesman, David Reuter, told the TheDetroitBureau.com. According to Reuter, the Leaf will be up to full production by April.
Some 20,000 reservations have been placed for the EV in the U.S., and some customers are becoming disgruntled about the wait, which we reported on earlier. The automaker is not only working with an all-new platform but with a new electric-only powertrain. Nissan wants to make sure that each lithium-ion battery pack that comes out of production meets automotive quality — a standard that more rigorous than the battery in your laptop or cell phone.
The Leaf is available in California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona and Tennessee. Despite the supply constraints, Texas will begin its Leaf rollout Tuesday with Hawaii following closely behind, Nissan spokeswoman Katherine Zachary said.
Nissan says it’s still on track for a nationwide launch of the Leaf by 2012. The reservation list is currently closed, but the automaker says it will reopen in the first half of this year. To meet initial demand, the timetable for adding more markets will shift (presumably back) toward the second half of 2011, according to a Nissan press release. North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, South Carolina, Alabama and Washington, D.C., are supposed to get the EV this spring. There are no specific details about the shift in timing for these markets.
Nissan has managed to sell the Leaf only in the “hundreds” so far, Reuter said. By comparison, GM has produced 1,582 of its Chevrolet Volt competitor in the time since it went into production in December until Jan. 22. Chevrolet planned to build only 10,000 Volts through the end of this year, but CEO Dan Akerson recently confirmed the automaker is now shooting for 25,000 or more in the first year, according to TheDetroitBureau.com.
Nissan Confirms Slow Launch of Leaf Battery Car (The Detroit Bureau)