Nissan has introduced an electric vehicle rental program in Japan to maintain control over EVs they wish to stay in the country.
According to the Financial Times, Nissan will introduce the program to “preserve control of metals, such as lithium.” As lithium prices have skyrocketed in recent months with the growth of the EV market, batteries, much like computer chips, have become a valuable resource. To keep batteries and associated electric vehicles in the country, Nissan has introduced an EV rental program that allows the brand to prevent the vehicles from being bought by non-japanese to then be shipped abroad.
The program, which centers around Nissan’s prolific Leaf model, rents out both new and used models over the long-term. While it is unclear what the price of the rental program will be, it seems like it will operate similarly to a lease. However, it will lack the option for purchase after the end of the rental.
While this program will not be available to other markets, it may serve as an option for other brands looking to create a low-cost EV option that also allows for a continuous revenue stream. A significant problem that many manufacturers are facing is the problem that the people most interested in electric vehicles are generally younger, according to polling. This demographic is also the least likely to have the money required to purchase or lease a vehicle.
Offering the younger generation a subscription, a familiar payment model, for a product that they would otherwise be unable to afford could prove very profitable. Third-party companies like Autonomy are already implementing this program with Tesla Model 3s and have had great success. A model that incorporates cheaper vehicles (Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt, etc.) could be attractive to even more consumers.
Many eyes will be on the success or failure of this service from Nissan, as it could easily prove to be a jumping-off point for other manufacturers in the subscription space.
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