Nissan may delay Leaf production for the U.S. image

The devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March may force Nissan to delay start of US production of its Leaf EV which had been scheduled to begin at the end of next year.

According to Hideaki Watanabe, vice president in charge of Nissan’s global Zero Emission Vehicle business unit, the company has already thrown off many timetables following the quake as Nissan focused on restoring its manufactured output.

Yet no one knows how long the delay can exceed, but next year, the company is planning to build its new electric car in Smyrna, Tenn.

From September 2012, the company will start producing batteries for the Leaf in Smyrna and production of cars will start from December. Besides, Nissan will get assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy loan to support advanced technology vehicle production.

Since the launch of Leaf last year, Nissan has only sold 7,554 units, whereas, around 5,000 have been delivered to the customers of Japan and under 2,100 cars were delivered to the U.S.

All the carmakers are rolling out advanced technology vehicles and so does Nissan, who is trying to collect a huge amount of data from its Leaf cars regarding driving experience.

By Sunita Mandal