With initial early-adopter enthusiasm on the wane, it’s being reported that Nissan is preparing a budget version of its LEAF electric car.
Automotive News reports that the move is seen is a bid to bolster falling Leaf sales. The car is available in Europe, the USA and Japan.
Although the company declined to comment, insiders say that the cheaper Leaf will form part of a 2013 facelift. The cost-cutting will home in on cost reduction and affordability; some componentry previously bought in will be manufactured in-house and others could be redesigned and rationalised.
Besides the wearing off of EV fever, another factor in the decline could be that the more numerous hybrids are seen as being more practical – not to mention cheaper – than EVs.
The LEAF’s South African debut is not yet confirmed. Two months ago, Nissan SA managing director Mike Whitfield that talks were ongoing with key South African stakeholders on the rollout of the car.