Photo: Flickr, CC
Only Available in 7 States So Far, So It's Just the Beginning...Since it was introduced in 2008, Tesla has sold about 1,650 electric Roadsters in 30 countries. Since it was introduced in a handful of U.S. states about 6 months ago (Arizona, California, Hawaii, Tennessee, Texas, Oregon and Washington, with additional markets launching later this year), the Nissan LEAF electric car has sold over 4,000 units. If that's not a success, I don't know what is. Now of course, the Roadster and LEAF are very different beasts; the Tesla is faster, has a longer range and is more expensive. And without Tesla kicking the hornet's nest in 2006, the LEAF, Volt, Focus Electric, etc, might never have seen the light of day... But to make a difference, this technology must at some point transition to the mainstream, and nothing guarantees that the innovator will be the one bringing it there.
Photo: Michael Graham RichardScaling Up
That's why the LEAF is important. Nissan, once production is fully ramped up, will be able to make over 150,000 EV per year and sell them at prices that most people can afford (especially if you count the fuel savings and tax credits). And like all maturing technology, every few years a new generation will come out that is cheaper and better than the last, meaning even more affordable EVs with longer ranges, access to more fast charging stations, etc.
One that scale, it's starting to make a difference. Of course it can't be the only change we make, and walking or biking is still much better for the environment. But as long as there are cars, and I doubt they're going away soon, they might as well be EVs that are powered by electricity that gets cleaner every year as we improve the grid.
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