Last fall, we learned that the first year of U.S. production of the Nissan Leaf electric cars, built in Smyrna, Tennessee, had only 15 percent North American content.

This year, the numbers are somewhat better--and they bring the Leaf closer to the domestic-content percentage of other plug-in electric vehicles built in the U.S., including the Chevrolet Volt and Ford Focus Electric.

MORE: U.S.-Made 2013 Nissan Leaf Has Only 15 Percent Local Content; Here's Why

Per Nissan's official listings of American Automobile Labeling Act (AALA) content--as compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)--the 2014 Leaf has 35 percent North American content, along with 40 percent from Japan and 25 percent from other countries.

American Automobile Labeling Act sticker on a new 2014 Nissan Leaf [photo: Brian Henderson]

American Automobile Labeling Act sticker on a new 2014 Nissan Leaf [photo: Brian Henderson]

The local content numbers for other North American-assembled plug-in electric cars are:

  • 2014 Chevrolet Volt: 45 percent N American, 19 percent Korea, 17 percent Japan, 19 percent other
  • Ford Focus Electric:40 percent N American (2013 listing)
  • Tesla Model S: 55 percent N American (2013 listing)

Some brief confusion arose earlier this month, when reader Brian Henderson noticed a pair of 2014 Nissan Leafs at his local dealer--one with the old 15-percent listing, the other with the new 35-percent number.

After investigating, Nissan's Brian Brockman wrote:

After looking into the two 2014 Leaf vehicles with different AALA information, it sounds like the vehicle with the 2013 data was simply labeled in error.

There is no difference in the content between the two vehicles. All model-year 2014 Leaf vehicles should have the new data.

So that one looks like a simple goof on someone's part.

Nissan says it is continually working to localize more content, where it makes sense. As domestically produced electric-car production rises, that percentage may grow.

How much difference does the percentage of North American content make when evaluating plug-in electric cars?

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.


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