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Over the last couple of days a number of observers have suggested that Nissan is looking to move away from the pure electric car market in favour of the hybrid market which has perhaps more sales potential in the short term. This has obviously caused major confusion within the electric car market amid concerns that we could be moving back towards a boom and bust scenario for the industry. So is Nissan committed to the electric car?
The Nissan Leaf
While the headlines would maybe suggest that Nissan is looking to backtrack a little on a full-blown assault of the electric vehicle market, with indications that the hybrid market will come into play, this is not necessarily correct. The company has already confirmed that it is looking to triple the number of quick charging stations in the US over the next 18 months, expand the European recharging network and also look to increase sales of the Nissan Leaf itself.
There is no doubt that this particular vehicle will be the battering ram that the company uses to gain control of the electric vehicle market and also to encourage third parties to introduce charging stations. Whether the idea of tripling the number of charging stations across America within 18 months is viable remains to be seen as it is most certainly an ambitious target.
Keeping the momentum going
The Toyota Prius and the Nissan Leaf are two of the most recognisable vehicles in the EV market today. They have most certainly caught the attention of the public, they are often within the reach of the general consumer and governments around the world have been offering large financial incentives to take up such vehicles. The ongoing worldwide recession does not help the situation and has perhaps taken some of the wind out of the sails of the electric vehicle market, but this is only a short-term problem.
As we have mentioned on numerous occasions, the large car manufacturers have invested billions upon billions of dollars into the electric vehicle market and they will want a return at some point. Many have now passed the point of no return and will ultimately need to invest more in the short to medium term to reach market penetration levels required for payback. Nissan may well be hedging its bets by also mentioning the hybrid market but if you take a look at the situation from a distance this makes perfect business sense.
Turning consumers on to electric vehicles
Despite the fact that there has been significant progress in allaying some of the fears that consumers have about electric vehicles, there is still much work to be done. Journey capacity and charging services are two of the major issues in the minds of the general public although they are being addressed by the likes of Nissan, etc. There is perhaps a need to further publicise the benefits of electric vehicles, both in terms of the environment and cost, which should catch the attention of more people.
It is also inevitable that the general cost of electric vehicles will fall in the years to come as critical mass is reached and the cost of new technology falls. This will also be a major turning point for the industry and one which cannot come quick enough for the likes of Nissan.
Despite the fact that Nissan has been discussing hybrid vehicles over the last few weeks there is no doubt that the company is still committed to the electric vehicle market. It makes perfect business sense to hedge your bets in the short to medium term, via the hybrid market, while the electric vehicle market continues to grow and blossom. The Nissan Leaf and the Toyota Prius have certainly caught the headlines over the last few years and while not all of the publicity has been positive there is no doubt it is making a difference.