Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Andy Palmer, Nissan EVP, On Growing EV Line-up

Andy Palmer, Executive Vice President of Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. expects Leaf sales to grow when the Smyrna, Tennessee plant starts making the electric vehicle helping to overcome the dollar-yen currency challenge. That was one of the reasons Palmer gave in explaining why last year's Leaf sales of 9,000 missed the projection of 25,000. Another factor was Japan's March 2011 earthquake and tsunami which impacted manufacturing. Learning how to mass produce batteries was another issue. With a $4 billion investment in developing the Leaf, the expectations are high.

The NV200 compact cargo van, Infiniti LE and a "city car" will be added to the Nissan EV line-up. Palmer said the Infiniti LE (Luxury Electric) has the underpinnings of a Leaf but taking the hatchback to a sedan was a challenge. The LE is expected to go on sale  in 2014 as part of Nissan-Infinti's 51 launches in the next 5 years.

I spoke to Andy Palmer after he participated on the concluding panel - The Global Campaign for Consumer EV Adoption - at EVS26, the 4-day International Electric Vehicle Symposium that ended in Los Angeles Wednesday.