Nubo wrote: ↑
Tue Sep 24, 2019 5:06 am
Like other makers I think Nissan will move when the market forces them to move. That they became one of the first-movers seems anomalous behavior for them. I suspect it was by sheer force of their former CEO's insistence that it came about, at a time when he had the power to make it happen. And I wouldn't be surprised if it were over strenuous objections. I've gotten the feeling from the beginning that Nissan was always of two minds about LEAF.
I could agree with that.
EVs represent a major shift for automakers in ways that didn't seem obvious to me until I began to read about it. They're simpler to build, which should seem like an obvious boon for manufacturing but means that also means there are many positions that would be cut if the company went all-in with EVs. Understandably, that alone already makes them less desirable to many people in these auto companies, who would want to fight against possibly losing their jobs... unless, of course, the company is fully electric-focused from the start and doesn't have any jobs to be lost in the first place.
Battery technology represents another major problem for the auto companies. Many seemingly wanted to just ride public offerings, but it's becoming clear that supply would be an issue, and range (among some other battery-related metrics) is a major selling point that can only be distinguished if the companies have a more EV-focused battery effort. Tesla seemingly understood this from the start, and as such they have a major head start in practically all areas: manufacturing, patents, and so on with batteries. Other companies are now scrambling to try and partner with electronics companies. I read a random post that Nissan has a battery business but had been trying unsuccessfully to sell it... if true, perhaps it represents a drag on the company and one that they have by necessity, again to which they are applying both the accelerator and the brakes (like they seem to be doing with the Leaf).
Lastly, there's risk and investment. When all of these companies were new and small they could do anything. Now they're established, they're large, and they've become pretty good at what they do. Each new generation represented some retooling and refining of previous processes. EVs don't absolutely need to represent starting from scratch, but compared with ICE vehicles it's a pretty major shift requiring some new technologies while dumping others. It seems like many of these companies are caught in the desire to capture the market while also not wanting to be so early to the party that they spend more while losing less. Certainly there's an advantage to waiting for technologies to mature and become more established, and then swooping in to start selling. I suspect companies like Toyota will do just fine in that way, riding on their brand reputation. I don't think they'll be penalized for being late in delivering these types of vehicles. They'll lose out on some sales now (like me; I wanted a fully-electric Prius, and the Leaf was by far the closest thing I could get), but they probably figure that the demand for EVs still isn't large enough to really get those products out right away.
Tesla, being a brand new EV-focused automaker, is much more nimble. All of the EV companies are, really, but Tesla has really been the only one to be viable; Faraday Future and Nio were flashy but seem to be in trouble. Rivian has some strong backing but still has to prove it can deliver. I give Tesla major credit for launching the EV market forward. Without them, people probably would have thought that EVs were just glorified golf carts, and the big automakers would seemingly be content to keep things that way for a good, long while. Tesla has really put these other companies to shame, and it seems like many are finally starting to take things at least a little bit seriously.