September 15, 2011

THEY'LL BOTH BE LAPPED:

Chevy Volt vs. Nissan Leaf: Who's winning?: Both of the green autos have been on the market for almost a year now, but only one will stay on the road. (Alex Taylor III, 9/15/11, )

Americans love a rivalry, whether it is Dunkin' Donuts vs. Starbucks, or the Yankees vs. the Red Sox. So it is not surprising that the simultaneous launch of the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf late last year built anticipation for a grand face-off. Here, after all, were two highly touted new cars, each using electric propulsion in a different way, that would compete for sales to early adopters while piling up environmental bragging rights. Car guys everywhere are betting on the outcome. So who's ahead? So far Nissan has sold 4,806 units of the all-electric Leaf in the U.S., while GM (GM) has moved only 2,870 Volts, which use batteries assisted by a small gasoline engine. Interesting perhaps, except that such early sales figures are virtually meaningless. The sales winner won't be clear until production ramps up. GM intends to assemble 16,000 Volts in 2011 and 50,000 in 2012. Nissan can currently build 50,000 Leafs annually in Japan. Beginning in 2013, it will have the capacity to build 150,000 more at a new plant in Tennessee. [...]

Who's ahead today? It's Volt, because the gas engine means it never leaves drivers stranded. But Volt's technology is expensive, and more efficient batteries eventually will make it obsolete. In the long run the Leaf gets the checkered flag. "Pure electric cars are the future, without a doubt," says Edmunds.com senior analyst Jessica Caldwell, "and Leaf is a pure electric car."


Posted by at September 15, 2011 6:50 AM
  

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