Japanese auto major Nissan said it will launch its electric car Leaf in India this year as it seeks to take the lead in electric vehicles (EV) drive in the country. The company is also looking at other eco-friendly technologies such as its e-Power vehicles and hybrids for the country. "Leaf is a proof-point (that) we want to bring in India because this is a direction of leadership in EV, we have in the world," Nissan Senior Vice President and Chairman of Management committee for Africa, Middle East and India Peyman Kargar told reporters here during an interaction. He further said besides the Leaf, Nissan also has plans to bring other electric vehicles to India in future.
"We want to have this solution (Leaf) in our portfolio and in the product line up. It will not be the only electric vehicle in (our) India plan," Kargar said, adding "we are not calculating how many numbers to sell". Nissan has cumulatively sold around 3.5 lakh units of the Leaf globally since 2010.
Elaborating on sales strategy for the Leaf, Nissan India Operations President Thomas Kuehl said, "It is very clear when we come with the Leaf it will come at a special price point only in the metro cities." He further said the Leaf will target institutional and government sales apart from "some influencers and people".
Kuehl asserted that under the present circumstances, it is difficult to target the mass segment with electric cars due to the high costs. "We are working to get the cost structure down by investing in the country," Kuehl said adding the lack of component suppliers for high-end technology associated with EVs and batteries in India have been a major hurdle.
Kargar said Nissan is also close to taking a decision on the introduction of its e-Power technology in India. "We are really looking at how and when we bring this technology. We are in the latest stage of confirmation in terms of how and when and which model (to be considered to deploy e-Power)," he added.
Nissan's e-Power technology uses an electric motor to power the vehicle, but at the same time, it has a small petrol engine to charge the battery when needed, thus doing away with the need for an external charger.
Nissan has already deployed e-power on its different models in Japan, Kargar said adding following the response there the company has decided to bring the technology to several other countries. Kargar further said that the company plans to bring in more models both under Nissan and Datsun brands in India in order to strengthen its position in the country.
"If you ask me if I am happy with the kind of numbers we are selling here, I am not," he said. Underlining the importance of Indian operations, Kargar said the company would utilise its manufacturing base here to export vehicles, components and even human reources to various global operations.