Nissan today began deliveries of the first 100% electric, mass-produced, affordable family car, the Nissan LEAF, to customers in the UK.
The company sees this moment as the start of its vision of bringing sustainable mobility to the mass market in the country.
With fuel costs having reached the record £6 per gallon barrier, the all-electric Nissan LEAF costs approximately £2 for a full charge (providing a 110 mile range). An equivalent sized petrol engine car would cost, on average, £12 to travel the same distance.
Tony Whittaker, sales director at Cleaner Air Solutions in Durham, took delivery of the first of five Nissan LEAFs the company is buying, at the Benfield Motor Group dealership in Newcastle upon Tyne.
He said: “We’re very excited about the arrival of the Nissan LEAF. Our existing fleet is made of LPG converted vehicles as well as some hybrid vehicles so the move to all electric was an obvious choice.”
Kevin Fitzpatrick, vice president manufacturing at Nissan’s Sunderland Plant, who today witnessed the handover of the first Nissan LEAF in the North East, commented: “Today’s deliveries mark the beginning of LEAF’s introduction to customers across the country as our network of EV dealers will deliver to their first customers later this week.”
Currently built at the Oppama Plant in Japan, starting 2013 LEAF production will take place at Nissan’s Sunderland Plant, with production of batteries beginning next year in the same location.
The production of Nissan LEAF and the batteries represents a total investment of more than £420 million in the Sunderland Plant and is expected to maintain about 2,250 jobs at Nissan and across the UK supply chain.
A comprehensive charging network is currently under development in the UK and Nissan’s network of EV dealers – currently 26 sites across the country – will be equipped with a quick charger, which will charge the battery from zero up to 80% capacity in under 30 minutes. There are programmes under way to install around 1,300 charge points in the North East and 9,000 charge points across the UK by 2013.