300,000th Nissan Leaf electric car delivered as new version kicks off


First 2018 Nissan Leaf produced at assembly plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, Dec 2017

First 2018 Nissan Leaf produced at assembly plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, Dec 2017

Nissan, the first automaker in the world to launch a mass-priced electric car, has a reason to celebrate this week.

The automaker said on Monday it delivered the 300,000th example of its electric hatchback, the Nissan Leaf—though it did not detail whether it was one of the new second-generation cars or a remaining first-generation model.

The achievement solidifies the Leaf's position as the world's best-selling electric vehicle globally.

DON'T MISS: Five Years After Launch, 200,000th Nissan Leaf Electric Car Sale Coming Up

"These numbers prove that the Nissan Leaf remains the most advanced car in the world, with the widest reach and the greatest availability," said Nissan executive vice president Daniele Schillaci in a press release.

However, while the Leaf had virtually no competition when it launched in December 2010, Nissan's second-generation electric car will need to fight off challengers from all corners to stay ahead.

Tesla said it had delivered 250,000 vehicles globally at the end of the third quarter last year, a number that's expected to grow rapidly once the company works through what Tesla CEO Elon Musk described as "production hell" for its less-expensive Model 3.

2018 Nissan Leaf

2018 Nissan Leaf

In Europe, Nissan's sibling Renault has seen success with its smaller Zoe, also a fully electric five-door hatchback. The two companies collectively passed the 250,000-unit electric-car sales hurdle in 2015.

Meanwhile, Germany's BMW has been busy electrifying nearly every vehicle in its lineup, though it's unlikely to challenge Nissan any time soon when it comes to pure EV sales volume.

As other makers have eclipsed the Nissan Leaf with models featuring longer range and more amenities, Nissan's second-generation model should be the shot in the arm the car needs to stay ahead.

READ MORE: Tesla has now sold 250,000 electric cars, more than GM (but fewer than Nissan)

When deliveries of the new Leaf begin this month in the United States, it will be rated at 150 miles or more of range for the first time in its existence thanks to a new 40 kilowatt-hour battery pack.

Late this year, Nissan will launch a 60-kwh Leaf with more than 200 miles of range to compete better with the 238-mile Chevrolet Bolt EV and the low-end 220-mile Tesla Model 3.

Nissan has said it hopes the second-generation model will double sales of the Leaf, which in the U.S. peaked at 30,000 cars a year in 2014 and have since been lower.

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