As the world’s most popular electric vehicle, Nissan LEAF is turning zero-emission mobility from a dream to a reality
- EV news from around Europe
- Nissan LEAF keeps winning accolades, this time in Belgium
- Quick Charging network starts in the Netherlands
- Nissan teams with Hertz and Ikea to promote LEAF in Italy
- Innovative electric car club opens in the UK
ROLLE, Switzerland (30th January, 2013) – With more than 50,000 global sales to date, the multi-award winning Nissan LEAF is at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution.
As well as being the best selling EV in North America and Japan, LEAF goes from strength to strength in Europe where, two years after becoming the first EV to win the coveted Car of the Year accolade, it’s still winning awards.
The latest comes from Belgium‘s VAB magazine which at the end of each year choses its top family car. Combined scores from two judging panels – one comprising professional motoring writers and broadcasters, the other family motorists – judged Nissan LEAF as top family car in the electric and hybrid category.
Stéphane Chauville, Managing Director of Nissan Belux, said the win underlined Nissan’s commitment to a zero-emission world. “LEAF is a true revolution in the automotive world and Nissan is selling the car of tomorrow, today,” he said.
Belgium has also seen the installation, in Nivelles-Sud, of the country’s inaugural Quick Charger. It’s the first in a network of 25 strategically placed rapid chargers to be donated by Nissan. Operated by project partner The New Motion, the finished network will allow EV drivers to cross the entire country without problem.
Quick Chargers use direct current (DC) to charge a partly discharged EV battery 80 per cent capacity in around 15 minutes, while recharging a spent battery to 80 per cent capacity takes just 30 minutes.
Even better news for Belgian Nissan LEAF drivers is that they will be given a special pass allowing them to use the Quick Chargers completely free for the first year of ownership.
Free power from the sun was the theme behind a special ‘LEAF the earth’ event held in The Netherlands at the end of 2012. No fewer than 82 Dutch LEAF owners gathered their cars together at the Space Expo in Noordwijk to compare their experiences and to take part in a fun quiz, hosted by local TV star Bavo Galama.
They also heard from former astronaut Professor Wubbo Ockels who looked to a future where electric cars would be recharged solely by renewable solar energy.
“Solar energy is plentiful and you can use it for whatever you want – including fun things. Sustainability and fun can go hand in hand,” said Professor Ockels.
The Netherlands will also benefit from a major Quick Charger network with Nissan pledging to install 38 stations over the next few months. Also operated by The New Motion, Nissan LEAF owners will be able to recharge their batteries for free until the end of May. A dedicated website for LEAF owners – leafhebbers.nl – features a regularly updated list of all the rapid chargers in the Netherlands, along with other LEAF information.
In Milan, Italy, Nissan has teamed up with rental company Hertz to promote the benefits of zero-emission mobility in the city. Four Nissan LEAFs are available to rent from the Hertz office close to the main railway station in the city centre, allowing residents and visitors to put the car to the test in typical everyday conditions as they consider a potential purchase.
They will enjoy not just LEAF’s driving dynamics, comfort and refinement but they will also benefit from being at the wheel of a pure electric vehicle giving them access to areas of the city denied to conventional cars and from free city parking.
Should they hold the Ikea Family Card they will also be eligible to a 20 per cent discount on the rental charge and will be able to recharge the LEAF free of charge at any Ikea store in the Milan area.
In the UK, meanwhile, an innovative electric car club has been launched in Milton Keynes, south of Birmingham. Three Nissan LEAFs have been bought by the E-Car Club and are available for members of the scheme – individuals and companies alike – to hire as and when needed.
The cars are parked locally and plugged in to a charging post so they are always ready for use. Car club members book the car on line, paying £5.50 an hour (€6.60). Then armed with a smart card and a unique pin number they can drive the car away, returning it to the same place once they’ve finished with it.
Following the success of the Milton Keynes pilot scheme, E-Car Club will launch in Oxford shortly and ultimately plans a presence across the UK.
And it is in the UK where the next chapter of the LEAF story is about to begin. Production of the car’s advanced lithium-ion batteries is already underway at a new facility next to the company’s productive plant in Sunderland in the north of the country, in readiness for the start of LEAF production there later this year.
With production of LEAF also starting soon in North America as well as continuing in Japan, there are now three plants working to satisfy demand for the world’s most popular electric vehicle. Zero-emission mobility is no longer a dream.