The key to cheaper hybrids and EVs is US production, or is it?
In order for plug-in and hybrid cars to mainstream, prices need to decline. Both Toyota and Nissan have suggested that prices of their hybrid and electric cars would be cheaper if made in the US, rather than in Japan.
But how much cheaper?
Next year Nissan Leaf production will begin in the US. What kind of impact will that have on prices? To date, Leaf prices have been increasing, not declining. And as Nissan upgrades the Leaf interior, won’t that also push prices higher?
Similarly, Toyota continues to eye US production of the Prius, a move the company claims would also lower Prius prices. So, what’s the holdup? And just how much cheaper would US production make the Prius?
Next year, US Nissan Leaf production should start providing some answers. I, for one, am very interested in finding out whether US production can have a real, noticeable impact on pricing. Or whether this pricing talk is just financial speak meant to fire up investors. It just seems to me that US Toyota Prius production is long overdue if there is such a huge financial advantage. Then again, maybe any major changes to Prius production are dependent upon the move to lithium.