Recently the Prius, the nation’s best-selling hybrid electric vehicle, has been caught up in the maelstrom of shocking publicity that has battered Toyota’s reputation for quality vehicles. Has this poisoned the well for a new generation of hybrids and Electric Vehicles that will enter the marketplace late this year?
Carlos Tavares, chairman of Nissan North America Inc. does not believe the Prius problems have created a barrier for the entry of new EVs.
“The time is right for electric vehicles,” Tavares says. He says the 2011 Nissan Leaf will now be leased with the battery included for a single monthly payment.
Nissan’s Leaf is a true all-electric car — not a hybrid — and doesn’t have an internal combustion engine to extend the vehicle’s range. Cruising range for the Leaf is claimed to be 100 miles before the battery pack needs to be recharged.
Tavares has high hopes for the Leaf in North America, noting EVs are less complicated than conventional cars.
“We feel good about electric cars, because they are simpler (mechanically) than conventional cars,” he says. Consumers will recognize that aspect, Tavares suggests, and welcome an opportunity to drive an EV.
The combined operating cost of the Leaf will be similar to what it costs to lease and drive a Honda Civic, Tavares suggests. “We’re confident we’re going to make this car affordable.”
However, he is unwilling to forecast how many Leafs will be purchased in the first 12 months after the car becomes available.t. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.