Ten years ago, the first copies of the Nissan Leaf were delivered to Canadian consumers.
At the time, the infrastructure network for recharging electric vehicles was virtually nonexistent, and the Leaf’s range was nothing like that of the current model.
Indeed, the first Leaf was equipped with a 24 kWh battery, which allowed an estimated range of around 133 kilometers. By way of comparison, the Leaf 2021 entry-level can travel up to 243 kilometers while the Leaf Plus, equipped with a 62 kWh battery, has a range of 363 kilometers.
In just a decade, the portrait of electric vehicles has changed dramatically. And if we trust all the promises made by car manufacturers, it’s just the beginning!
To discuss this, the journalist from Car guide Gabriel Gélinas spoke with François Lefèvre, Director of Strategic Planning at Nissan Canada who was at the heart of the launch of the first Nissan Leaf in Canada.
“An electric shock”
François Lefèvre still remembers the first time he was able to drive an electric vehicle. It was in 2010, when the first Leaf was still in development. “It was like a shock, an electric shock! He jokes. “We get into that car and there is instant torque, there is no vibration or engine noise, it’s really fun and it’s very comfortable”, analyzes the one who instantly fell in. love with electric vehicles.
Of course, customer requests have demanded improvements over the years, especially in relation to battery life. The Leaf has changed its battery five times in the past 10 years. Some consumers are still clamoring for greater range, better charging time and more affordable prices. That said, the improvement in the situation between 2011 and 2021 is undeniable.
When will an electric car be offered at the same price as a comparable gasoline model? “It’s in the next decade,” says François Lefèvre, who explains that this is part of Nissan’s overall strategy.
Until then, automakers rely heavily on financial incentives put in place by governments. Remember that in Quebec, the purchase of an electric vehicle can be subsidized up to $ 13,000 at present. “The incentives are important, but there is also work to be done on the infrastructure network,” says François Lefèvre.
The massive introduction of electric vehicles has not yet arrived, but everything suggests that it is only a matter of time. And while some manufacturers are slow to develop electric models worthy of interest, Nissan can claim mission accomplished with the Leaf.
The model has become a great commercial success, with production now exceeding 500,000 units. “Now we have the Leaf in 59 markets and we have saved more than 2.5 billion kilograms of CO2,” says François Lefèvre.
Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my [email protected] 1-800-268-7116