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Nissan outlines EV expansion plans for Europe

With the Nissan LEAF entering European production in 2013, Nissan outlined the measures that it will take to prepare the market for this step up in production volumes.The plans focus on improving the environment for electric vehicles and, during fiscal year 2012, will see the Nissan LEAF sold in more markets, by more dealers, with a significantly improved quick charging network.

This is a big year for the Nissan LEAF in Europe and we are committed to creating an environment for electric mobility to thrive across the continent. 2011 was a huge year for us and with all of these significant and tangible improvements to infrastructure, dealer network, incentives, and production we are looking forward to significant growth in the lead up to European Production.

—Paul Willcox, Nissan’s Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing in Europe

  • Market and Dealer Expansion. In 2012, Nissan will increase the number of dealers selling the LEAF in Europe by almost 10 times, making it accessible to many consumers for the first time. Today the Nissan LEAF is on sale in 14 markets across Europe, with a total of 110 dealers. By the end of March 2013, Nissan will have more than 1000 dealers actively marketing the Nissan LEAF. All Nissan dealers will be equipped with charging points thus expanding the charging infrastructure for LEAF drivers. By 2013, the Nissan LEAF will be available for sale in 24 European markets.

  • Customer evaluation vehicles. In advance of this there will be a significant increase in LEAFs available at dealers with more than 700 dealers in Europe offering customers a chance to experience LEAF by the end of April 2012. The scheme will continue to develop during the next 12 months, adding to the number of demonstration and courtesy vehicles available to customers within Europe.

  • 30 Minute Quick Charger Cost Reduction and Deployment. In 2011, Nissan launched its own quick charger into Europe, which is available at around 50% of the cost of conventional units (below €10,000). (Earlier post.) This Direct Current (DC) Quick charger charges the Nissan LEAF, or any other ChadeMo compliant vehicle, to 80% capacity in just 30 minutes.

    It is also AC-ready to support the arrival of EVs from Alliance partner Renault designed to 43kW AC quick charge standards. The Renault-Nissan Alliance is promoting infrastructure deployment based on AC-DC Mix Quick Charger strategy.

    The cost reduction changes the economics of installing DC Quick charging points at key locations across Europe, and opens up new possibilities for Nissan LEAF owners. To push this network expansion further and jump-start the full scale commercial deployment in 2012 Nissan is giving 400 DC Quick chargers for free to cities and regions in Europe. These free units will give thousands of customers the opportunity to experience the convenience of charging quickly while significantly expanding the range of their vehicle.

    This initiative follows an agreement between Nissan and five of Europe’s leading utility and EV infrastructure supply companies to speed up the provision of the latest quick chargers developed by Nissan. Nissan expects thousands of ChadeMo quick charging points to be installed across Europe by the end of 2012, and tens of thousands of by end of 2015.

  • Nissan LEAF Marketing Campaign. March 2012 will see an innovative online focused campaign centered around the Nissan LEAF: 100 days to convert the maximum number of people to 100% electric driving taking the car to a whole new audience and introducing them to its unique benefits. Alongside this online campaign will be a new brand advertising campaign, which will have the Nissan LEAF as the ultimate demonstration of Nissan’s innovation, putting the car on television for the first time in many markets.

  • Battery Production in the UK. During the first half of 2012 battery production will start at Nissan’s Sunderland plant. This important milestone will be the first step towards the European production of the Nissan LEAF. The production of batteries in the UK significantly increases the flexibility of the supply chain and protects it from shifts in exchange rates.

  • Vehicle Production. All of these actions will lay the foundations for the introduction of the European-built Nissan LEAF at the Sunderland plant in the UK. Building the car in the UK will reduce lead times, increase supply, mitigate currency fluctuations and reduce the carbon footprint of bringing the car to the customer.

  • “Second Life” for Electric Vehicle Batteries. As the electric vehicle market expands questions are often raised about what happens to batteries after they have been removed from vehicles. Nissan is working with its alliance partner Renault to identify suitable partners for trial of “Second Life” uses for battery packs. Electric vehicle battery packs are expected to be in strong demand for use in the storage of electricity from sustainable sources, where peak production and peak demand are sometimes not aligned. They can also be used for back-up electricity in areas of unreliable grid electricity or for grid load balancing. It is expected that after any second life usage, the batteries would still be recycled due to the intrinsic value and recyclability of the materials used inside. Further details on Nissan’s “Second Life” battery program will be announced in the next 12 months.


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It is new that Nissan will start battery production in the UK in Q1 2012. Last time I read about it, it was scheduled for 2013 so Nissan have hurried up by one year. Nissan’s battery pack production capacity is then 50k units in the UK and 90k units in Japan and with 200k units of capacity added in the US sometime in 2013. That is a lot of Leafs and other Renault EVs coming to market fairly soon.


Of all the actions listed, the quick charger roll out is the most important. The last thing people want is having to meticulously plan their journeys. They just want to hop knowing that when the battery gets low, they can pull in to any gas station along the highway for a quick charge.

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You are right. The speed of fast charger deployment in Europe is most important. With tens of thousands of 50kW expected to be deployed in EU by 2015 all of Europe will be well covered. In Denmark a Danish supermarket chain has already decided to install 27 fasts chargers at supermarkets along the key Danish highways. They will be operational in just a few months from now and before summertime. That will enable Danes to drive EVs anywhere in Denmark as we are a small country (42,000 square kilometers) when not considering the 2 million square kilometers in Greenland.

Nissan is also developing fast charging electric forklift trucks. I mention it because every large supermarket has such a truck for materials handling. There is a synergy between installing a fast charger in the supermarket’s parking area that can also function to charge the supermarket’s forklift. Today they use lead acid batteries and if an employee forget to plug it in to charge overnight (which happens occasionally) it means it can’t be used the next day when it is needed. That problem is solved with a fast charger in every large supermarket so I think we will see tens of thousands of fast chargers by 2015 in Europe and elsewhere.


This is first half of 2012, not Q1.
It seems likely to me that most of the production is earmarked for Renault, whose battery factory in Flins is delayed.

Today they started bookings on the Renault Zoe in the UK.
Starting price including VAT £13,650 after subsidy.
Range 125 miles on the NEDC cycle.
For comparison the Leaf is 109 miles on the NEDC, so on the EPA cycle the ZOE should do around 14% better than the Leaf for a range of 83 miles as against 73 miles for the Leaf.

Go Renault!

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If you follow the source link (I nearly always do) you will see it is Q1 2012 meaning production may already have started.

I also noted the launch of the Renault Zoe and that it has better range than the Leaf and a lower price tag. It is really interesting and perhaps as important as the launch of the Prius C/Yaris Hybris and the VW Up. Certainly, affordable and more environmentally driving is becoming a reality for many more than only those that can afford the Leaf or a Prius.


To me, the 40 Kwh charging, whether AC or DC is sufficient for most needs. I park, the car communicates with the charger, I get 40 miles worth of charge in 15 minutes, I am done with my latte and on my way.

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