UK car buyers can now take their place in motoring history by becoming the first in the country to secure an order for the world's first affordable, mass-produced, 100% electric vehicle, as the Nissan LEAF order bank opened on 1st September 2010.
Customers can sign up online and put down a refundable £257 deposit. This is the first step in securing a place on the list to receive one of the first Japanese-built Nissan LEAFs, deliveries of which will start in March 2011 priced at £23,990 (including £5,000 government incentive).
These motoring pioneers will then get an opportunity to test-drive their prospective purchase by the end of this year, at which point they will need to formally confirm their order. A dedicated call centre has also been set up to assist customers with questions.
Paul Willcox, Managing Director of Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd, said: "The Nissan LEAF is a milestone in Nissan's history. Launching in Japan and the US in the coming weeks and UK, Portugal & Ireland early next year, Nissan is the first manufacturer to bring credible and affordable electric vehicle motoring to the mass market."
Willcox goes on to explain, "The Nissan LEAF is generating huge interest across the world, with more than 25,000 customers already putting down deposits in the US and Japan. We know that the benefits of electric mobility have struck a chord with motorists in the UK and initial interest across retail and fleet channels could result in demand outstripping initial supply."
With Nissan LEAF already generating a buzz among retail customers, Nissan's EV is also starting to capture the environmental imagination of trail-blazing organisations too, including British Gas and IKEA - both of which have expressed interest and had access to an early demonstration behind the wheel.
Speaking about his fleet requirements, Charlie Brown, Corporate Environment Manager UK & IE, IKEA Limited states, "The Nissan LEAF gives me everything I want in a car and doesn't have the one thing I don't want - an exhaust pipe."
Colin Marriott, General Fleet Manager at British Gas Centrica, goes on to explain, "The adoption of electric vehicles will be crucial to help us reduce carbon emissions from transport and reach our climate change targets.
"And it's great to see that innovative products such as the Nissan LEAF are entering the market. From a fleet perspective, electric vehicles will certainly play a key role in the future."
Dax Lovegrove, Head of Business & Industry at WWF, the world's leading conservation body, has also added his support to Nissan's electric vehicle strategy, "The way we all get about accounts for about 25% of the world's carbon emissions and so this needs to be tackled on all fronts. We need less car travel, better forms of car travel and more public transport options.
"The electrification of vehicles, coupled with decarbonising energy supply, has a critical part to play and the Nissan LEAF is helping to drive this agenda forward."
The Nissan LEAF will be priced at £23,990, taking into account the £5,000 Government incentive for electric vehicle buyers and the recently announced 20% VAT rate, both to be introduced from January 2011. The price includes the battery.
The Nissan LEAF's advanced technology means it will be considerably cheaper to run than a conventional compact family hatchback. Depending on an individual's electricity tariff and time of charging, it will be possible to run the Nissan LEAF for less than 2pence per mile. Additional financial benefits include reduced servicing costs, exemption from London's congestion charge, zero vehicle tax and zero benefit in kind for company car drivers.
Available in five exterior colours and one high-specification trim level, all models will come with air conditioning, satellite navigation and a parking camera as standard, plus smartphone connectivity that enables owners to check charging levels plus heat or cool the interior of the car remotely via their handset.
The car's AC motor develops 80 kW of power and 280 Nm of torque, enough for a maximum speed of more than 90mph and it can travel up to 100 miles on a full charge. Research indicates that the average daily mileage for 80 per cent of the UK population is less than 30 miles.Published 14 September 2010