Despite selling almost 90,000 electric vehicles, Renault-Nissan will not hit 2016 sales target

nissan leaf taxi mexico city
nissan leaf taxi mexico city
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When you're in the lead, everyone can see the target on your back. When you're in front and talking about how much faster you could go, then it can seem like you're setting up your own stumbling blocks.

That's one way to look at the electric vehicle work that Renault and Nissan are doing as they handily outsell their competitors when it comes to pure EVs. In February, Nissan announced it had sold well over 50,000 Leafs around the world and that number has grown to 62,000 by now. Automotive News Europe recently tallied up Renault's all-electric vehicle sales from the launch of the various models through April 2013 and found the company has sold 24,688 in total (Twizy: 9,911; Kangoo Z.E.: 8,760; Fluence Z.E.: 3,487; Zoe: 2,530). So, let's call it almost 90,000 EVs by now for both companies. That's a lot, but Renault-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn – and here's where the self-inflicted wounds come in – had to admit to the press recently that his companies probably won't hit the original target of selling a combined 1.5 million EVs by 2016.

Ghosn remains confident as ever in the long term potential for EVs, saying earlier this year that, "we know this is a breakthrough technology, we know [the Leaf] is a breakthrough car, and we're just going to have to be extremely patient and resilient and remove the obstacles one after another."

One of those obstacles is getting people used to EVs, and that means getting butts in seats. This is why the company is working on an electric vehicle taxi project in Mexico City, where a huge charging warehouse can charge 50 Leafs at once, the most in all of Latin America. The Mexico City Leaf taxi project has been in the works since 2010, and the first EVs were delivered in October 2011. There are two Nissan-supplied videos about the Mexico City trials available below.

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Growing the Grid: EV Taxis Drive Infrastructure Transformation in Mexico, Latin America

MEXICO CITY – The fully electric Nissan LEAF has been zooming across the country of Mexico for months now. So far, only taxi drivers and government officials in Mexico City and in Aguascalientes are driving them. But soon those in Mexico who want to drive a 100 percent pure electric car will be able to buy the Nissan LEAF. That is why the company is working hard to get more electric vehicle charging infrastructure in place.

There now is a charging center in Aguascalientes that services the 50 Nissan LEAF taxis in the area. There are also two quick chargers, one in the heart of Mexico City and another in the city of Aguascalientes, both for public use.

Nissan officials say they hope to expand taxi programs, and public charging, like this to other cities and other countries in Latin America.

"Aguascalientes has been the benchmark on those (EV taxis), Mexico City as well. And there are a lot of other requests from other countries. Colombia has been pushing very hard requesting a lot of vehicles," said Jorge Vallejo, Nissan Mexicana's director of Government Affairs. He added: "We are creating the first electric corridor in the entire Latin America region. It's going to run from Mexico City up to Cuernavaca where we (Nissan) have another manufacturing facility."

The Nissan LEAF will go on sale at dealerships in Mexico late this year.

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