Nissan Leaf, EV pioneer and gross sales dud, is reportedly on the chopping block

The Nissan Leaf, a pioneer electrical automobile and one of many least expensive EVs at the moment available on the market, is nearing the tip of its life span. Based on a report in Automotive Information, Nissan doesn’t plan on introducing a next-generation model of the Leaf and should even discontinue the nameplate altogether.

Manufacturing of the present model of the Leaf is about to wind down by mid-decade, the outlet stories, citing three nameless sources. A spokesperson for Nissan declined to take a position on the Leaf’s future however did say that the corporate has famous a “renewed” curiosity within the Leaf amid excessive demand for EVs.

“We’re seeing renewed curiosity in LEAF with the elevated demand for EVs and its general worth proposition,” Nissan spokesperson Stephen Oldham stated in an electronic mail to The Verge. “Since its launch, LEAF has persistently delivered robust buyer satisfaction and new consumers to Nissan.”

If Nissan follows via on its plan to discontinue the Leaf, it might be the most recent pint-sized automobile to fall sufferer to American automotive consumers’ insatiable urge for food for big, towering, climate-killing vans and SUVs. The Leaf is at the moment the one electrical automotive Nissan sells within the US, however later this yr, it can launch the Ariya, a brand new electrical crossover SUV with as much as 300 miles of vary.

Notably, the Ariya is dearer than the Leaf, beginning at round $47,000, as in comparison with the 2022 Leaf, which began at $27,400. However regardless of the enticing worth level, the Leaf by no means actually achieved full liftoff. First launched in 2010, Nissan has solely offered round 170,000 Leaf EVs within the US over the past decade. Examine that to the full variety of Tesla automobiles offered within the US in simply 2022 — 564,743 — and you can begin to see the headwinds going through Nissan. (The automaker stated in 2020 that 500,000 Leafs have been offered globally for the reason that launch in 2010.)

The automaker not too long ago revealed its plan to spend 2 trillion yen (round $17.6 billion USD) over the following 5 years to speed up the rollout of electrical automobiles. That plan will embrace 23 new electrified fashions by 2030, 15 of which might be totally electrical. The corporate is focusing on a 50 p.c electrification combine for its Nissan and Infiniti manufacturers by the tip of the last decade. Within the US, Nissan plans to take issues a bit of slower, solely focusing on 40 p.c of its gross sales to be EVs by 2040.

Based mostly on a number of the ideas highlighted by Nissan, the Leaf might be changed by a compact SUV that the automaker is asking the Chill-Out. Nissan hasn’t launched any specs or particulars about it, however the Chill-Out appears to be the closest to manufacturing of all the corporate’s ideas. It appears just like the Ariya however makes use of the corporate’s smaller CMF-EV platform, which suggests it can in all probability be barely cheaper than the $47,000 Ariya.

No matter its future, the Leaf will definitely go down in historical past as the primary profitable mass-market EV within the US. Tesla usually receives all of the credit score for serving to kick off the race to electrification, and Elon Musk’s firm actually deserves some credit score for pushing the remainder of the auto business in that course. However Nissan’s function in spurring the shift to zero tailpipe emissions is plain.

Replace July 14th, 4:08PM ET: Up to date to incorporate an announcement from a Nissan spokesperson.

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