Nissan has announced that it has sold 20,000 units of its electric car LEAF worldwide and is on track to sell 10,000 units in the United States by the end of this year. Of the total number, about 60% were sold in the US. This compares to about 5,000 copies of the Chevy Volt.
Nissan also began sales of its new quick charger in Japan. The new charging system is nearly half the size and price than the current version. The base variant has been priced at $7,689, inclusive of taxes. Moreover, customers can apply through a government incentive system for charging units to be reimbursed for approximately half the cost (without tax) of a unit, bringing down the actual cost of the unit to $4092. Complying with the CHAdeMO protocol, the new unit is not only compatible with Nissan EVs, but also with EVs manufactured by other carmakers such as Mitsubishi, PSA and Fiat.
In another development, Nissan also introduced a hybrid drive system developed in-house consisting of a 2.5L 4 cylinder engine with a compact lithium-ion battery pack to replace the existing 3.5L V6 engine. The system also has a twin-screw supercharger on top. The automaker claims that the new engine will deliver the same power as the 3.5L V6 of about 260 hp and 250 pound-feet of torque. The vehicle is expected to deliver a fuel economy improvement of up to 10% when it gets installed with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Nissan has announced that the new Altima due to arrive in 2013 in North America will be powered with this supercharged 2.5L engine.