Andy Palmer Nissan
Nissan's Chief Planning Officer-Company Committed To Being Number 1 EV Maker

If you go by raw electric vehicle sales, there is no denying the fact that Nissan (NASDAQOTH:NSANY) is currently the world leader in sales of zero emission vehicles with more than 120,000 LEAFS having been sold

Nissan Zero Emission
Nissan Already Has A Sign And Everything

Those two companies dwarf the rest of the field many times over.But if you determined 'the leader' by total battery capacity in their cars, Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) would take the lead thanks to offering the Model S with up to 85 kWh of power and 265 miles of range; as compared to the Nissan LEAF with 24 kWh of power and 84 miles of range.

But even with Tesla promising a low cost, 200 mile range EV (recently dubbed the Tesla Model III), Andy Palmer - who is Nissan's Chief Planning Officer is confident Nissan will stay number one

"When it comes to zero emissions, we're absolutely religious.  We'll be the absolute, No. 1 leader in zero emissions. No doubt. That's our positioning."

Nissan E Nv
We Caught Up With Nissan's "Next Big Thing", The e-NV200 Electric Van Earlier In Geneva-It Looks Like A Real Winner For Businesses

Ultimately, being number one will require high sales volume, and more than just offering the LEAF.  So what's the sales target for Nissan's second mass-production EV: the all-electric e-NV200 van before the longer range, luxury Infiniti LE arrives in late 2016?  Quoting Palmer recently to the Automotive News:

"What's the point of putting a volume on it? Because basically all it does is set a point of reference.  People that doubt or dislike or don't have the technology [use that point of reference] to demonstrate failure."

Instead, Palmer points to the fact that it took Toyota full five years to reach 100,000 cumulative hybrid sales, a figure that the Nissan LEAF surpassed in only 3.5 years.

"In the context of global nameplates, this is already not a niche."

"Humanity cannot sustain this.  We need zero emissions."

While we aren't as confident Nissan will forever hold the electric vehicle sales crown away from Tesla. We agree that zero emissions is a bright hope for the future of tomorrow's drivers, and looks to be a viable venture for both companies.

Palmer quote via Automotive News

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InsideEVs and authors Eric Loveday and Jay Cole have no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Tesla Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.