2012 Nissan Leaf
Electric cars may be the future, but in the present they're still a risk.
Nissan knows this more than most, and at a conference reporting its Q2 2012 financial results, chief operating officer Toshiyuki Shiga says that Nissan would still like to penetrate the market more.
However, he also expressed disappointment and frustration at media focus on tepid electric car sales.
For over a year now the Leaf has been outsold in the U.S. by its closest rival, the Chevrolet Volt, and worldwide the company has sold only 42,700 units.
Almost half of that total, 19,000 units, has been in Nissan's domestic market, Japan.
In the conference video, Toshiyuki-san explains that Nissan is still learning from the program.
"We are learning... why customers hesitate to buy an EV, and what are the issues they face after they buy one, and how satisfied customers are once they get into an electric vehicle."
Nissan wants the data it learns from Leaf drivers to improve the EV experience overall--using driving patterns to determine the most useful locations for quick chargers for example, and wants to pass that data on to companies that install quick chargers.
Shiga says that people may have different opinions on whether the Leaf is selling at the right pace or whether sales are too slow, but Nissan "would like to penetrate the market more."
"The entire company is united to promote the sales... please don't forget that we have this passion and a sense of mission to work on EVs."
Note: This article is revised from an earlier version of the story, to take account of more accurate sources.