Published on November 11th, 2017 | by Nicolas Zart0
What The New 2018 Nissan LEAF Means For You (CleanTechnica Interview)
November 11th, 2017 by Nicolas Zart
Recently, I conducted an interview with Daniele Schillaci, Nissan’s EVP of Global Sales & Marketing, for CleanTechnica. Danielle reveals a little more about the new 2018 Nissan LEAF and its different design.
Nicolas Zart (me): The original LEAF design was bold and in many ways made it stand out. We can see that the new design is more in line with the current trends and cues of Nissan. Can you tell us more about it?
Daniele Schillaci: The first Nissan LEAF was the first mass-market EV. It played a very key role in the democratization of EVs. It is the most advanced car in the world with the widest reach and the greatest availability.
Back then, there was no industry template to follow and no expectations from our customers. However, since then we have seen customers’ tastes and expectations change. We’ve seen EV consumers shift from wanting vehicles that were atypical in design to more traditional styles. The new 2018 Nissan LEAF remains at the forefront of EV design. As Alfonso Albaisa, our global head of design said when we premiered the new Nissan LEAF, it leads the “emotional geometry” DNA of all of our vehicles … and serves as an ambassador for Nissan Intelligent Mobility design.
Nissan is the number one selling EV company in the world. Can you tell our readers why that fact is still fairly unknown to many, while other companies spend a lot on marketing and vague future plans? Can you also give us the most current numbers on sold LEAFs?
There’s a fine line between being proud of your accomplishments and overhyping reality. But you are correct, the Nissan LEAF is the best-selling EV in the world. It is sold in 49 markets globally. As I said, it was key to democratizing EVs. We could not be prouder of its success and the difference it has made in the lives of our customers.
You are also right in what you say about the way other companies talk about their EV plans. Unlike some of our competitors, Nissan has 84 years of experience designing and building cars. We know what it takes to produce cars on a massive scale. This scale and experience gives us an important competitive advantage in the EV market.
As you know, we recently introduced the new 2018 Nissan LEAF. It is simply amazing. It is the icon of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, which is our vision to move people to a better world. I am very confident that it will take Nissan’s leadership in mass-market EVs to the next level. The early customer response has been very strong. In just one month, we have already sold more than half of what we sold last year.
Nissan also innovated by opening its CHAdeMO chargers to its LEAF drivers and facilitating charging. It also took a bite out of the tired and overused “range anxiety.” How do you see the current CHAdeMO and CCS “war,” and do you see both standards getting along in the future? Also, is Nissan going to move to the CCS route or continue with CHAdeMO?
Nissan is committed to bringing more EVs into the mainstream. As the pioneer of electric vehicles, we welcome other OEMs joining with us to grow the market, and we are committed to ensuring full inter-operability between different plug types.
Nissan is proud to support CHAdeMO, which users and network operators consistently tell us is the easier-to-use standard. Currently there are 16,000 Quick Chargers all over the world with the CHAdeMO standard.
We also support EVs for all, so we are actively supporting the development of charging networks which offer multiple charging plugs for different users. The majority outside of Japan use dual standards.
The Nissan LEAF occupies a great market segment appealing to first-time buyers, budget-conscious buyers, and EV lovers. How do you see the new LEAF changing that considering its increased range?
We are confident that the new 2018 Nissan LEAF will appeal to all EV customers because of the exciting EV drive that it provides. It is packed with game-changing technologies that provide customers with the benefits of having more than just an EV.
With the new LEAF, customers can experience autonomous driving for single lanes on the highway. They can also experience e-Pedal, which allows them to start, decelerate and hold the car with just one pedal, even on a hill. So we believe that the technology in the new LEAF will appeal to many different types of customers. The increased range definitely makes the new LEAF more attractive to single-car households, and, like the previous generation, it is a terrific option for those who wish to own a second car. In the U.S., for example, the average household still owns more than one car.
Lastly, this might be outside the scope of this interview, but Mitsubishi was also an early EV player with its i-MiEV. How do you see collaboration with that company going forward? Will Mitsubishi concentrate on a certain market segment while Renault and Nissan focus on another? How will this influence Renault since they have a solid presence in Europe and Nissan around the globe as far as EVs?
Mitsubishi is a distinct brand in the Alliance, just like Renault is a separate brand from Nissan. As discussed in the recently revealed Alliance 2022 plan, there will be more collaboration between all the brands in the Alliance. But as to sharing EV technology, yes there will be collaboration. But I cannot comment on specific plans for future technologies at this time.
Photo by Kyle Field, CleanTechnica