SalisburySam wrote: ↑
Mon Sep 23, 2019 11:43 am
Nissan rode the profitability curve of its early-mover advantage in the EV space rather than reinvesting in massive improvements, and now that others have caught up and moved beyond, there appears to be no corporate will to truly compete. Many of us on this forum bemoan that fact, thinking about what could have been if the 2019 LEAF had been delivered back in 2014 or even 2015 instead of the ones that were delivered with, to me, minor upgrades at best.
I've been watching EVs with interest but only recently bought one (a Leaf being our first). You've been with Nissan and have owned an EV for longer than I have, and I respect that. I just felt the need to speak a bit to defend Nissan.
It's true that they're not pursuing EVs aggressively, but compared to the rest of the automotive world I think they deserve a ton of praise. Looking at it by company, starting with other Japanese automakers, Nissan is really the only game in town for EVs:
Toyota stubbornly went the way of hydrogen fuel cell technology instead of electric vehicles, and their plug-in Prius (which was offered on and off over its generations) never really competed fully with the Chevrolet Volt on electric range. Even now, the Prius Prime is closer to half the range of the Chevrolet Volt than not. They've now announced that they're going to bump up their plans for electrification of their fleet, but their forecast is still for the mid-2020's to have vehicles out.
Honda now has an electric vehicle, but the driving range is about the same as the original Leaf. (Of note, their website for their EV compares it directly to the Leaf.)
Mitsubishi also had an all-electric vehicle around the same time as the original Leaf in the form of the really odd-looking Miev (and I say that even comparing it to the original Leaf), also around the same total range, but that was discontinued. Rumor is that Mitsubishi might get back into the EV game with a more serious offering soon.
Suzuki isn't a major player in the US market; it seems their electric vehicles will be focused toward India. They don't have any yet.
How about other car companies?
Ford has an all-electric truck in the works but is otherwise missing on the EV scene; if I remember right they had one plugin hybrid.
Chevrolet gets major points with the Volt and Bolt. I can't fault them there, other than being slow with the Bolt.
VW is now seemingly taking electrification more seriously, after being totally absent (and perhaps prompted by getting caught with the diesel emissions scandal).
BMW has the i3, which is in the same class as the original Leaf. I guess they get some creativity points for having a unique solution for their long-range version: having a gas engine that acted purely as a portable generator. Not really what people want for an electric vehicle though...
Mercedes has some big plans but again doesn't have anything now.
For the Korean car makers, Kia and Hyundai both have one option, which is now what I'd consider around the level of the current Leaf.
Tesla puts all of these companies to shame, of course. From the start they had the range, power, and design. They've only been advancing from there.
Meanwhile Nissan had the Leaf, and while it took them a while to make it a more serious contender, they've kept at it. Sure, they're lacking an actively cooled battery, but for range and power they've got it. Tesla absolutely puts them to shame, too, but compared to the other established auto makers Nissan has been doing an admirable job. In addition to the Leaf they have their electric-powered utility van (currently not sold in the US), based off of the Leaf's drivetrain and battery. And now we have rumors of a Rogue or Rogue-like EV that would have a range more in line with Teslas.
I've read various analyses of why most auto-makers are so slow with electrification, and there are some good explanations. It would explain why Tesla is able to do what they do, too. I'm disappointed in the major automakers, and while there is some disappointment for Nissan too, I also want to give credit where it's due. Sure, if you exclude Tesla then the bar is set pretty darn low, but I'd say that Nissan passed over it with some clearance. Hopefully they'll pick up the pace.