(3BL Media/Justmeans) -Â Making sales projections for brand new technology can be difficult, to say the least. Sometimes products catch on quickly and never look back. Other times they take awhile before becoming viral. Think about the iPhone and the iPad, for example.
So itâs no big surprise that the Renault/Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn was a bit over optimistic when he first proclaimed in 2012 that sales of their all-electric Leaf would hit 1.5 million in four years. Sales started out slower than expected, so he pushed back the deadline to 2020, a full four years later. Range anxiety and recharging time have generally been considered the carâs biggest hurdles. Now, as sales of the car are heating up, it looks as if he was being far too conservative.
Leaf sales continue to grow. In fact, as of February, they have set new records each month for the past twelve months. Thatâs not an industry-wide move, either. Chevy Volt sales have actually been falling off. Leaf is outselling Volt in the US so far this year. In fact, Leaf holds the #1 spot this year, follwed by the Tesla. Granted, the numbers are still small: 1425 Leafs vs. 1210 Volts in a month, but the trend is worth noting. Over 100,000 Nissan units have now been sold worldwide. Still, we are well short of President Obamaâs prediction of one million electric vehicles on US roads by 2015.
Increasing pressure on carmakers to reduce fleet fuel consumption averages, thanks to new Federal emission standards, is helping. The clean car trend is beginning to spread around the world, too. Emerging markets in Asia and South America could become hot spots for electric vehicle sales.
This paper by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, describes standards alsready in place in the US, Canada, the EU, Japan, Korea, and Australia, and argues for the need for a unified international standard, which would make life far easier for manfacturers. Mexico, India, Indonesia, and Thailand are said to be in the process of developing standards that should soon be ready.