We initially planned to produce 10,000 this fiscal year, and we can meet (this target) by the end of March.
Sakai insists that the Leaf’s production has not been interrupted, and that the Oppama plant would produce 3,000 units in February before ramping up to its capacity production of about 4,000 units by March. Leaf production at Nissan’s Smyrna, TN plant will begin late next year, and will produce as many as 150k units per year (and 200k battery packs per year), while Nissan’s Sunderland, UK plant will be producing another 50k Leafs and 60k battery packs annually starting in 2013. All told, Nissan will have about 250k units of Leaf production when the Sunderland plant reaches full volume, which puts it on track to a commanding lead in global EV production… now it just needs the market to start demanding that many cars. Meanwhile, a minor issue with the Leaf’s ownership experience has raised its head and deserves a little attention.
In his NYT review of the Leaf, Jerry Garret writes
After charging overnight in my garage on a conventional 110-volt household circuit, the Leaf’s meter never showed more than 88 miles of possible range; once, it promised as little as 66 miles. Nissan specifies a 21-hour recharge time using house current…
…The most readily available source of replenishment for the battery — and kindest to the battery pack — is a standard household plug. But fully recharging a Leaf that way takes a painfully long 21 hours, according to the specifications provided by Nissan…
…Like the batteries in a laptop computer, which use similar chemistry, the Leaf’s lithium-ion cells will lose some capacity over time. Nissan calculates that the Leaf’s battery pack, which carries an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty, will lose 20 percent (30 percent, if fast-charging is used often) of its power over the next decade of use.
Twenty-one hours is a long time to fully charge up a car on battery-friendly 110v power, and yet taking that time to charge is the key to saving some ten percent of the battery’s life after ten years? You’ll want to plug that number into your cost-of-ownership spreadsheet… or better yet, if you must have an EV, just lease the damn thing. That way you won’t have to worry about battery degradation at all, and you’ll be free to fast-charge your Leaf to your heart’s content.