Nissan to bring its electric car to India this fiscal year

CHENNAI: The second generation Nissan Leaf, one of the top selling electric cars in the world, will make its India debut in the current fiscal year, Nissan’s India president said.

The Japanese automaker is keen on introducing its advanced global products into its India portfolio, starting with the Leaf 2.

“We will come very soon with the EV car, in this fiscal year. We will bring the Leaf 2 to India, the one that has launched everywhere around the world,” Thomas Kuehl told ET in a recent media roundtable.

“We’ll make it available for the public. We want to make sure that it is used by a lot of people.” Nissan plans to bring a fleet of the Leaf 2 for test drives in Chennai, where its 650-acre plant with Renault is located. “Then we’ll see how we can scale it up,” he added.

He did not comment on the car’s possible price range, however said that the focus would not be to make it cost competitive in the initial phase. The EV will also not see a big volume launch in India. “It will not be a big volume but we will homologate it… We have already started working on the homologation,” said Kuehl. Homologation is the process of approving a vehicle or auto part so that it meets the regulatory standards of aparticular country.

Since the Leaf will be imported as acompletely built up unit, analysts said it might take a toll on its pricing because of steep taxes on such vehicles. They estimate the ex-showroom price to be in the range of Rs 30-40 lakh in India.

The company, in an aggressive push to increase market share, will be launching new products every six months from the start of the festival season later this year. “We had a one- to two-year cycle for new products so far and now we are cutting it to six months,” said Kuehl.

While the company plans to scale up its presence in the sports utility vehicle segment with the launch of a new vehicle, Kuehl also said he was confident about upcoming products from the Datsun brand providing competition to other automakers in the under Rs 10-lakh category of cars.