Despite rumors of a longer-range Nissan LEAF hitting the market as early as August this year — and Nissan executives remaining unusually tight-lipped about what that could mean for the Japanese automaker — the total number of miles covered by Nissan LEAFs worldwide has crossed the 1 billion miles (1.6 billion kilometres).
The milestone, passed quietly last month, was acknowledged by Nissan executives on Friday at the official European launch for the 7-seat variant of the Nissan e-NV200 electric minivan, and came just before Nissan sold its 10,000th LEAF in the UK. Being based in a country where kilometres are the standard unit of measurement as oppose to miles, Nissan executives chose not to celebrate the 1 billion mile mark with a press release, but said instead that the next major milestone for the brand would be the 2 billion kilometre mark.
According to official figures collected by the UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturing and Traders (SMMT), sales of the all-electric hatchback have exploded in the first half of 2015, totalling 2,964 LEAF sales. That’s a 68.4 percent increase on last year, where just 1,760 LEAFs were sold to UK buyers in the first half of 2014.
Market share for the Nissan LEAF in the UK is up too, with the five-seat plug-in accounting for 63.3 percent of all new all-electric models during the first half of 2015, beating the Tesla Model S, BMW i3, Renault ZOE and Volkswagen Golf to name a few. Moreover, sales for the LEAF during the first half of the year in the UK even overtook Norway, where the LEAF has enjoyed strong sales thanks to generous incentives like zero sales tax, free parking and charging, and freedom to drive in bus lanes.
Nissan’s increase in sales in the UK mirror sales increases in other markets around the world, although we note that Nissan’s European sales data seems to enjoy a stronger year on year growth than other markets, driven in part we think by a massive investment in rapid charging provision.
“The UK’s electric vehicle market is growing at an extraordinary pace and while it may be too early to talk about tipping points, today’s achievement certainly indicates we’re well on our way,” said James Wright, Managing director for Nissan Motor (GB). “I am proud that the Nissan LEAF has played such a major role in changing perceptions of EV ownership and I am even prouder that the UK is now the number one market for LEAF sales in Europe.
While early UK LEAFs were assembled in Oppama, Japan alongside the rest of Nissan’s 2011 and 2012 model year LEAFs, Nissan began producing European-market 2013 model year LEAFs at its production facility in Sunderland, UK. Alongside vehicle assembly, Nissan built a state-of-the-art battery manufacturing plant to enable it to locally produce all of the lithium-ion cells and battery packs needed for both European LEAF production as well as global production of the Nissan e-NV200 electric van.
The facility, which we toured last year, is one of three plants around the world producing lithium-ion battery packs for Nissan’s range of electric vehicles, and recently started additional shifts to enable it to keep up with increased demand for the LEAF across Europe.
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