Electric vehicles (EVs) are often slated as inconsequential to overall CO2 emission reductions, due to their low volume production and small sales. However, Nissan is putting that story to bed with record breaking sales of their 100% electric LEAF. Selling 25% more units than the next best seller in the European EV category, Nissan’s LEAF is now the highest selling electric car of all time.
The Nissan LEAF now commands a dominating 33% of the EV passenger car market in Europe, with the LEAF selling more than 5,600 more units in 2013 than in the preceding year. The success of the Nissan LEAF in Europe has been propelled by consistently strong sales in Norway particularly, where the Nissan LEAF, the third-most sold passenger car last year, became the country’s best-selling car at the end of January 2014 with 650 units – including sales of internal combustion powered vehicles.
Norway is perhaps a unique case as their advanced EV infrastructure and government incentives continue to spur strong sales of electric vehicles across the country. Nissan LEAF sales in Norway were up 145% in January 2014, compared to the same time last year. However, the rest of Europe is catching up. In 2013, the Nissan LEAF was the EV market leader in many other countries including Spain, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.
Huge strides are being made in the UK with sales of the British-built Nissan LEAF increasing by more than 1000% in January versus the prior year. The UK recently saw the installation of the 195th CHAdeMO rapid charger at the Clackett Lane Services on the M25. These chargers can recharge a Nissan LEAF battery from 0 to 80% in just 30 minutes at no cost to the driver. The UK charger was the 1000th CHAdeMO rapid charger in Europe, almost double the number installed by January 2013.
In France, where there is a predisposition to purchase Renault EVs, similar results were reported for January 2014 with a 240% increase in year-on-year sales. For the first time, the Nissan LEAF became the EV market leader over rivals such as Renault’s ZOE.
Jean-Pierre Diernaz, Director of Electric Vehicles, Nissan Europe, said:
“January has been a fantastic start to 2014, a year when we will launch our second 100 percent electric model in Europe – the Nissan e-NV200 light commercial vehicle. Our most recent survey following the launch of the improved European-built Nissan LEAF shows that 97% of owners would recommend a Nissan LEAF to a friend, and we believe this, combined with a rapidly expanding charging infrastructure will bring further growth in 2014. We are moving from the early adopters to the early majority.”
Sales of the Nissan LEAF in Europe solidify Nissan’s role as the world’s leading producer of electric vehicles. The family friendly vehicle, which has now sold over 100,000 units globally, has been widely endorsed by its satisfied owners with 92% of Nissan LEAF owners being new to the Nissan brand.