• 126
Is this a backhanded compliment?

After Nissan reported – again – that monthly sales of the first mass-produced U.S. electric vehicle continued to disappoint, our friends at Plug-in Cars realized something: the Nissan Leaf is kind of like the original Honda Insight.

Introduced to the U.S. in late 2010, the Leaf might be falling out of favor with the U.S. public because it's too ahead of its time and because it doesn't quite have the combination of attributes – i.e., range, cost, size – needed for car buyers to take the leap into EVs. This is pretty much how the first-gen Insight – the first hybrid sold in the U.S. – was received. Debuting in late 1999, that Insight was rated at 70 miles per gallon and was what Plug In Cars called a "wonderfully inventive first attempt at something new." The model also sold just 17,000 units before being discontinued in 2006. Originally, Honda had hoped to sell 6,500 units a year.

This week, Nissan announced that it sold 395 Leafs last month, down from 535 in June and down sharply from the 931 units sold a year earlier. It wasn't until the second-generation Toyota Prius arrived in 2004 that hybrid sales took off. The big question, if this analogy is correct, is whether or not we someday get a "Prius" from the all-electric world.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 126 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
      If Nissan's Leaf were equipped with a battery tech that provided greater range (200-300 miles per charge) and lower cost, then Leafs might sell in greater volume to a wider market IMHO. I've been in a Leaf, it's a neat design, a fun ride and well engineered. For those who can afford one, Leafs make a nice third car for around town commutes. However energy storage tech breakthroughs continue and auto manufacturers can't be expected to redesign products for every new innovation. One illustration: About two years the German news media began reporting development of a new ultra-high performance solid-state battery tech by Kolibri Power Systems, AG of Frankfurt. Experimentally, all-electric Audi A-2s equipped with the Kolibri solid-state battery packs are routinely driving 280-400 miles per charge. This is a highly compact tech that fits in the Audi's spare wheel well trunk space and doesn't intrude into the passenger compartment. It also apparently doesn't require an elaborate thermal cooling subsystem. The Kolibri tech's said to be less costly to manufacture than traditional LiO packs. Maybe, eventually, a similar advanced tech will become available here in the U.S. to make electric plug-in transportation more appealing to a wider group of consumers?
        SVX pearlie
        • 6 Months Ago
        200 miles? That's crazy. The 60-70 miles on the current car are plenty enough for well over 90% of all US daily commutes. The problem isn't the initial range, it's Nissan's failure to deliver on outlandish promises based on hyper-optimistic estimates. And Kolibri is interesting because they allow NO independent testing or review. I think it's all smoke and mirrors.
          Spec
          • 6 Months Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          60-70 miles *is* enough for well over 90% of all US daily commutes. That is just a fact. However, that doesn't mean people will buy the Leaf. Other facts are that you can buy a gas car for less than $15K and gasoline is only ~$3.50 per gallon. So the value proposition of the Leaf is not good enough. If you do a thought-experiment and consider $10/gallon gasoline, I'm sure many of those people will find the Leaf serves their needs just fine. Of course they'd rather have a gas car and cheap gas but if that is not available, a Leaf will look attractive. But in current market conditions . . . the EVs will continue to struggle.
          Marco Polo
          • 6 Months Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          SVX pearlie "60-70 miles on the current car are plenty enough for well over 90% of all US daily commutes." That's just the problem, the buying public doesn't agree with you ! No matter how you theorize about ' what people need' they will only buy ' what the they want ' ! And they don't want to buy short range commuter cars ! Now you can either accept that, or start campaigning to 'make' them agree with your opinion/ideology, by taxes, regulations, and other forms of official coercion. (all "for their own good" of course) But get prepared for the electoral backlash !
          SVX pearlie
          • 6 Months Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          Typical EVtard purist stupidity and shortsighteness, from both of you. 100 miles is not "short range". And neither is 60. If even 50% of those people who could switch to EV for some portion of their commutes did so, the impact would be tremendous. The last 10% is completely meaningless.
          Marco Polo
          • 6 Months Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          SVX pearlie "60-70 miles on the current car are plenty enough for well over 90% of all US daily commutes." That's just the problem, the buying public doesn't agree with you ! No matter how you theorize about ' what people need' they will only buy ' what the they want ' ! And they don't want to buy short range commuter cars ! Now you can either accept that, or start campaigning to 'make' them agree with your opinion/ideology, by taxes, regulations, and other forms of official coercion. (all "for their own good" of course) But get prepared for the electoral backlash !
          SVX pearlie
          • 6 Months Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          The problem with the Leaf is that it degrades from 60 miles to 40 miles. That is what is not acceptable with the Leaf. If it were 60+ or 70+ over 8 - 15 years, then it'd be fine.
          Anne
          • 6 Months Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          SVX, "The 60-70 miles on the current car are plenty enough for well over 90% of all US daily commutes. " What about the other 10%? Walk the rest of the journey? Take a bus? Do you think it is realistic to expect people will buy an expensive car that only serves 90% of their needs, while there are cheap cars that can serve 100%? You think like an innovator: "Cool, a new technology, can't wait to try it!" The general public is not like that. Ziv's reply to Steven says it all: "I will believe it a couple years after they have delivered a thousand BEV's." Given the recent news about capacity loss of LEAF batteries in AZ and NM, who could blame them?
          JP
          • 6 Months Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          There has been independent testing of the DMB Kolibri battery, including a small test fleet of vehicles. http://ephase.blogspot.com/2011/04/game-changing-battery.html
        Actionable Mango
        • 6 Months Ago
        A nice third car? Sheesh, some of you people have too much money.
          SVX pearlie
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          It wasn't that long ago that most households wanted one more car than drivers.
        Spec
        • 6 Months Ago
        If you require 300 miles then stick to gasoline. But you may come back when gas prices spike back up.
        Ziv
        • 6 Months Ago
        Steven, I think it was just a year ago that Nissan was saying that their mild thermal management system was all the Leaf needed, much like Kolibri is claiming that they don't need an 'elaborate' thermal management system. I will believe it a couple years after they have delivered a thousand BEV's. I would love to see a huge jump in battery tech, but I think we may need to be satisfied with incremental improvements for the time being. But 8% improvements in weight per kWh and in price per year sure are adding up in a hurry!
          Spec
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Ziv
          I remember thinking it was a risky move. And at first, it seemed to pay off in reduced cost & reduced complexity. But then with poor winter range and, worse, accelerated battery degradation in Arizona . . . well, the low-cost solution may have back-fired. The Leafs in temperate areas may be fine. But to handle a wide-variety of temps, it seems that EVs really need decent thermal management systems.
      BipDBo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Maybe it's the second coming of the Yugo.
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      At current sales volumes, it would be a decade before the $7500 tax-credit runs out, so that is not a factor right now. And the law could always be changed to allow more.
      Ryan
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm still waiting to see what they produce in TN. They do need to make some style changes and pick a white car as the standard color. They also really need to put apick-up truck body onto the battery technology that they have. Like I said in another comment section, they need to re-do their ad campaign showing where the Leaf can go around town. It is the perfect car to drive in 10 miles of traffic one way, and then drop off the kids, pick up groceries, stop by the post office, get something in the drive through, go to the gym, etc... And you can recharge it during the day, so it isn't always 'just' 90 miles (is there any real world data on real range yet?) It might not be 'perfect' for everyone, but it is for a lot of people's trips.
      Ziv
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Leaf is a cute little car, but expensive given its short legs. If it had 120 mile real world AER with some sort of TMS, the price would be reasonable. But given the shortcomings of the car, it should have an MSRP of around$29k, for a net price of $21.5k. I need a reminder, isn't there a California mandate/law that has encouraged the sub-100 mile AER? Ford/Nissan/Mitsubishi didn't choose this range window just because it is 70 miles to Grandmothers place and back... Admittedly, packing 120 miles of range into a compact car is probably going to take a 40 kWh pack, which weighs enough to make other choices even more difficult. At least it will, this year.
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ziv
        120-mile AER? That's a lot you know. If it had a true 70-mile AER, without degradation, then it'd be fine.
      Jimmy
      • 2 Years Ago
      C'mon, let's just call a spade a spade already. The car is ugly as sin. It's a good deal, it's great technology, but it's so ugly sometimes I wonder what he was thinking! Why not just make a cool stylish car like tesla, why have to give all of these incentives to buy not just to combat range anxiety but to combat how ugly it is. The insight failed because it was also ugly as hell. Just make a damn nice looking electric car, why, if a new car company, a damn start up can do it, why can't nissan or Chevy. Toyota finally decided to make a decent styled prius, this nissan leaf is as ugly as the old gen prius's, I hope they take off the rose colored glasses and realized the obvious problem with this car that's right under their nose. It looks awful for christ sakes! Like an alien had sex with a farm animal and this was the result.
        Rick
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jimmy
        LOL could not agree with you more, Leaf got beat with the ugly stick, a Micra would have been a more EV popular option with a better range. 41 EV sales in UK in May All brands all makes is totally piss poor, folk are more interested in cycling with 3,200,000 cycle sales last year. We don't do pig ugly expensive EVs, we prefer fantastic old skool ultra kool looking road/mountain bike with drop dead gorgeous PROPER zero emmision taboot. Maybe if cars were more like Tesla, and if maybe Fiat sold an Electric 500 that would make the perfect EV then maybe EVs would take off in the UK, my wife would buy one instanly. Pig ugly Leaf sales dropped -57% in the USA last month, whilst Fiat sales continue to boom in the USA every month helping the fantastic Chrysler recovery sales boom.
        ELECTRIC4ME
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jimmy
        I couldn't disagree you guys any more. I love the Leaf's looks and frequently get unsolicited comments about what a cool looking car it is! Yes, it's different, and some of you are just stuck in the past...
        Anne
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jimmy
        Car forum rule 1: If you can't find anything wrong with it, call it ugly.
          Actionable Mango
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Anne
          It's not just ugly, it's exceptionally ugly. It is one of the ugliest cars ever made. The car could be so great if they just made it nicer looking. Like someone said a few months ago, sheetmetal should cost the same whether it is pretty or ugly. I pointed out a Nissan Leaf to my 70-year old mom the other day. The only thing she said was, "why do they make electric cars so ugly?"
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Honda Insight was expensive when it came out and gas was still $1-$1.5 per gallon. It was slow, small, and expensive in a time where everyone wanted a big car with tons of power. It did not make sense at all when it came out! The Nissan Leaf came late to the game. During the gas price crisis, small companies were selling conversion EVs for $40k and beyond. Nissan missed this opportunity and released the Leaf after the price of gas had gone down and the mad rush to go electric had faded. A $32k EV with a 100 mile range and 8 year battery life is what was promised but they did not deliver that. That's the second big failure of the Leaf. So i'd like to argue on the contrary, the Leaf came too late, and on top of that, it's lackluster!
      PeterScott
      • 2 Years Ago
      @Marco, Quote: ** The reasons BEV will struggle to find mass-market acceptance ** on a world scale is the same today, as it was six years ago, namely ; ** 1) Lack of range. 2) Long charge up times 3) lack of speed 4) lack of convenience. You really left out the absolutely most important one: Price. If you look at place where it is allowed like France, the Twizy is outselling the LEAF by 5:1 margin. It has worse range, much worse speed, no side windows, much worse passenger space with 1+1 seating, much worse cargo hauling (so I would say overall much worse convenience. In short it is worse in just about every possible way, but price. You also have to consider that the need for any personal transportation system to match all the same capabilities of the current petrol cars is a generational one. Around the world younger generations are losing interest in cars at all. It is most striking in Japan where they dubbed the trend "kuruma banare" and it worries Japanese CEOs already. To think that personal transportation in 50 years or a 100 years is going to be functionally identical to today but just with different fuels, is unrealistic. The wold and it's circumstances change and while older generations may cling to the mindsets of the past, our replacements need not. The future of personal transport is likely more Twizy, than Mustang GT running on H2, or Algae Liquid fuels.
        Marcopolo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        Peter Scott Thank you for your reply. I'm not sure I agree with your vision for the future, but you may well be correct, or then again the Twizy may be just a fad. (When you have to resort to giving one away with an ICE purchase, it's a bit desperate.) But, you maybe correct. With the advent of 3 D manufacturing, the idea of simple disposable vehicles may be come a reality. ( Damn, I wish I could live another 60 years) In the meantime, I'm not convinced that the leaf or iMev would sell significantly better, if discounted by say, 20%. ! Obviously the 300 mile range signature series would sell really well at $ 30,000 ! (But that's not possible.) I don't think the iMev or leaf could achieve mass-market sales volume, even at a comparable price with a rival ICE. I have the advantage of living in a country with a similar auto-market to the US, and having the first production sedan EV released for sale in the world. Australia also has the largest LPG network, with the pump price at 40% of Gasoline. Even with locally made, government subsidized, LPG models of popular marques, LPG sales are still less than 15% of the fleet. Yet Prius and Lexus Hybrids sell strongly.
          PeterScott
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Marcopolo
          Tsk, tsk Marco. Trying to downplay my point by bringing in a new promotion that has absolutely no effect on the numbers I mentioned. The Point remains is that a Vehicle that is drastically worse in all the categories you prioritized, it outselling the superior model 5:1. Price is a huge factor. i-Miev is screwed because it is inferior to the LEAF in every way. Give it Twizy pricing and it would sell (at a massive loss), but at comparable pricing I am amazed they sell any at all. Of course EV's are NOT going to storm the market anytime soon. Look how slow the ramp was for the Prius and that wasn't really any kind of paradigm shift, just better gas mileage. Pure EVs are a huge (almost revolutionary) paradigm shift. Most people are locked their ways and will never conceive of making that kind of shift. It will be early adopters, out of box thinkers and younger generations who seriously consider EVs, so the progress will be slow. Middle market EV's like the LEAF may have a rough tightrope to walk. A compromise of trying to be good enough and cheap enough at the same time. Tesla took a really good approach of aiming at making a great EV and reduce the price as technology improves, but keep making great EVs. At the low end of the scale E-bikes/scooters are taking off like mad. But in the middle, that price/range compromise is still a very tough sell. More food for thougtht. Consider the Honda Insight of today, Well over a decade after the original. Hondas bread and butter hybrid for the masses. Sales comparison. YTD Insight: 4460 YTD LEAF: 3543 So more than a decade after the original 1999 Insight, the 2012 version aimed at a wider audience is barely eclipsing a brand new paradigm shifting vehicle aimed at a niche. If Nissan keeps improving the LEAF, I don't think it will be another Insight a decade from now, with sales little better than they are today.
          Marcopolo
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Marcopolo
          Peter Scott, The evidence that the Leaf sales would not dramatically increase if cheaper by 20% is obvious. Leaf has no rivals, (in it's class). Reducing price will stimulate the sales of any product which is already desired, but is more expensive than cheaper rivals. But Leaf has no mainstream market. It's one of those products who people like the idea of, but don't want to actually own ! Produce the Leaf in the US, correct it's defects, and lower the price by 20%, how much will that improve sales ? 50%, ? 100%,? 200 % ? It's still not enough to be a successful model. (remove the subsidy and see what happens). The Leaf needs to sell a minimum of 150,000 unit's (over 5 years) in the US alone, to justify it's existence. At 30,000 units sold, the $ 100,000 Tesla S is a success due to it's very high profit margin. Even with French government investment, Renault-Nissan will find it hard to continue to justify the continuing investment in a losing product. Sales in the US should be increasing, not decreasing. International sales should be increasing, not decreasing. When the Prius was first released, the concept of EV technology was new and difficult for the consumer to assess. Consumers are now far better educated and have voted to reject the EV's limitations, instead preferring the more versatile EREV (or other variations of Hybrids). configuration. Convenience, not price, is the most important factor.
          PeterScott
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Marcopolo
          Not sure I see that equally supporting evidence. We both agree that EVs won't storm the market (perhaps for different reasons). The main disagreement seems to be the effect of price. I believe that like every other product on earth, lower pricing leads to higher volume and I pointed out where a terrible EV by all of your criteria, is outselling the LEAF 5:1. There is one really big difference: Price. The evidence that supports your contention that price isn't an important factor?? If you posted it, I missed it.
          Marco Polo
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Marcopolo
          Peter Scott . As I said Peter, both of us hold an opinion, and with equally valid support evidence, have come to different conclusions. Only time will tell. The rise of effectiveness in Solar technology, is one more factor in favour of EV's but the biggest stumbling block is the inconvenience of the energy storage device. Remember, the original EV's, and Steam power auto's lost sales dramatically after the introduction of one innovation to ICE in 1913. The convenience provided by the introduction of the self-starter by Cadillac in the 1913 model, spelled the doom of the other technologies.
          PeterScott
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Marcopolo
          It looks more like you are labeling your opinion as obvious, than presenting any evidence. So in your opinion EVs are dead, because you can't fill them up a fuel station in minutes and can't drive 400 miles on a tank? That seems to be extremely shortsighted, inside the box thinking.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        Recently, I spoke with a genuine visionary, who really sees the future for pretty sure and he told me this: He saw (for sure) that today an individual (screen-named by PeterScott) will comment on ABG like that: "...The future of personal transport is likely more Twizy, than Mustang GT running on H2, or Algae Liquid fuels." He also told me that of course this is not right, because the future of personal transport naturally will be anti-gravitational silently levitating cars with teleportation engines powered by BATTERIES. He reassured me that in the future everything will be powered by BATTERIES and BATTERIES will power everything, including naturally the Sun as well, since currently our "older generation" Sun using the old school inferior hydrogen for things such as making life possible on Earth (and the likes). But my genuine visionary friend, who really sees the future for pretty sure told me that no worries, since we - despite the somewhat significant challenge - will ultimately replace our old school hydrogen addicted Sun with a nice young BATTERY electric Sun, which will be way superior to the current stupid Sun. And when we accomplish this ultimate challenge the BATTERY electric Sun will make every living being happy on this planet immediately and perpetually, thus, there will be no more suffering on Earth ever after. (Told me exactly this my genuine visionary friend, who really sees the future for pretty sure).
          • 2 Years Ago
          I like bikes too, but whatever happens to be actually the future Ford Future, this time I just simply wanted to make PeterScott's fussy argument about the future ridiculous, as he / it is. That was the sole purpose of my little "fairy tail" about the future. (As well as to give him something to down vote happily, which can provide him with a psychological reward of a fake sensation of superiority. And that is a very altruistic act).
          Ford Future
          • 2 Years Ago
          As someone who's lived in a city, with a bike, let me tell you it was one of the nicest experiences I've ever had. Ride to work, eat in the city, bike out to parks on bike paths. This is the future, for many Americans, as we've seen in Britain. Bike sales take off. EV's and Hybrids are for suburban drivers.
      • 2 Years Ago
      First of all, I truly hope Nissan is right, that once they start shipping Nissan LEAF's in September, that they can reduce the price back to its original level, and that sales resume their initial rates or higher. Since that prospect is public knowledge, it may be that potential LEAF buyers are merely waiting until September to buy, so that they get faster charging and a lower price. I am crossing my fingers. Everyone should read Clayton Christensen's "The Innovator's Dilemma" and "The Innovator's Solution" to understand how new technologies actually succeed in penetrating the marketplace. There are actually hundreds of millions of electric bicycles in China, and there sales are increasing steeply in Europe and North America. Electric scooters and motorcycles are also increasing steeply in sales, but no where near the level of bicycles, as yet, but much greater than four wheel electric vehicles (if we don't include wheelchairs). Among four wheel electric vehicles, the Renault Twizy quadricycle is outselling all other four wheel electric vehicles in the European countries where it is available. Meanwhile, at the luxury end, you have the Tesla Model S ramping towards success. As you can see, Clayton Christensen's research shows that new techs enter markets either through the low end with cheap offerings, or the high end, with premium offerings, and this shows in the above. The Nissan LEAF falls right in the pit in between - too expensive to compete with bicycles, scooters, motorcycles and quadricycles, and falling short of the thresholds of range and performance that premium buyers demand, which they can get in a Tesla Motors product. The Chevy Volt succeeds, because it is a "hybrid" in the general sense of the term - you gain the benefits of the new technology, while the incumbent technology remains, so that performance / utility doesn't suffer. Currently, the US allows electric bicycles, scooters and motorcycles on all roads where they meet speed / usage requirements. However, the US does NOT allow quadricycles (that exceed 15 - 25 mph), so we are denied an obvious path to the commercial success of four wheeled electric vehicles. The US needs to change these laws, because, if you allow people to ride two wheeled vehicles at any speed, then there is no legitimate excuse not to allow a four wheeled vehicle in the quadricycle class to travel at speeds up to 45 mph.
        PeterScott
        • 6 Months Ago
        Low speed scooters and ebikes ride on the side of the road like a bicycle, so cars can still get by. A quadracycle is mixing it up directly in traffic.
        Marcopolo
        • 6 Months Ago
        @ Jason Hendler Jason, I admire your passion for EV transport. "The US needs to change these laws, because, if you allow people to ride two wheeled vehicles at any speed, then there is no legitimate excuse not to allow a four wheeled vehicle in the quadricycle class to travel at speeds up to 45 mph " Here's the thing you might find hard to accept, and even ideologically offensive. But the simple truth is that if two-wheeled vehicles had never been invented until now, there is no way any government would make them legal ! Two wheeled motor vehicles are less than 4% of road use in most countries, yet they constitute about 39-45% of all road fatalities and serious injuries. This is a huge cost to the community, and a serious burden on the Heath Services. Quadra-cycles are anachronisms, from a long gone era. Adding slow dangerous little vehicles with no safety features, to the general traffic, is just a recipe for disaster. But the truth is no one wants to by one, or the G-whiz would still be in production.
        SVX pearlie
        • 6 Months Ago
        "nce they start shipping Nissan LEAF's in September" Smyrna doesn't come on line until December, so the earliest price impact will be January 2013. There will be no impact before then. Now, if you're talking about increased US deliveries from Oppama, Japan that's different.
          SVX pearlie
          • 6 Months Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          Whoever's downvoting, provide a link to the September date for Smyrna, or increased US availability. .Let's stick with facts and actual statements. And then let's see Nissan be measured against what they say.
      Rick
      • 2 Years Ago
      VW Bulli Camper Microvan EV with a practical quick charge 187 mile range with high capacity batteries, which is a highly practical 6 seater, with old skool styling will be the first practical EV to sell well when it arrives. Surfer dudes will buy them on mass, a boring ole Leaf is something a deaf ole 80 year old tight grannie millionaire widower will buy, that would zero street cred down at the boardwalk, who wants to drive a Leaf old ma Climpet grannymobile?
        Spec
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Rick
        Would you stop referring to a concept vehicle as a real product? There is no production plan, no price, no nothing. It is vaporware.
      PeterScott
      • 2 Years Ago
      I like the original Insight (better than the new one), but it was about $30K around here and I got the distinct impression Honda didn't really want to sell them, I don't think I saw an advert after the first year, and there reports the Aluminum fabrication was costing them a fortune, so the insight was something they had little interest in selling in numbers, but it was a two seat economy car for a high price, so you could never expect it would do well. I think Nissan still wants to sell LEAFs, but I can't remember seeing adverts for them either and a price hike really put a damper on things. Even the worse case Range would easily make this a second commuter car. But things get dicey for an only car. For that I would need a guaranteed 70 mile range to get me to local hiking, snowshoe trails even in the winter. So they are close but a small miss on that for me. Lately there have been rumbling about the battery warranty not covering range. I read one booklet but all I saw was they don't cover gradual loss of capacity. How gradual? Is this quantified? I think the Leaf is a good first effort. I hope they follow up with an even better second effort and not leave a gap like honda did before dropping a mediocre replacement.
      Ford Future
      • 2 Years Ago
      I wonder how many Honda really wants to sell. Sales force attempts to talk you into a Civic Hybrid, or a Civic. With the Japanese Yen/dollar ratio, they're being profit squeezed on every car imported from Japan. The Civic is manufactured in: East Liberty, Ohio. I bet they import the battery and electric motor, and install in Ohio, which explains the low sales of the Insight and the higher sales of the Civic Hybrid. Secondly, the Insight is one heck of a nice driver car, and it was the lowest priced hybrid you could buy. But, it's got competition from Toyota Prius C now with a larger electric motor. The Honda Fit Hybrid, with an incrementally improved hybrid system would sell well in the US, if Japan can drive down it's Yen. But, Japan, like the US, is considered a Safe place to park your money. This may not resolve until they resolve the Euro crisis.
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