Sunderland Football Club is switching from red and white to green as it took delivery of a brand new Nissan LEAF at the weekend.

Nissan leaf

The LEAF, the world’s first affordable, mass-market, 100% pure-electric vehicle, joins the club’s existing fleet of vehicles and will be used by staff in and around Sunderland as they go about their daily business.

Nissan Sunderland plant will be one of only three worldwide to manufacture the Leaf, with production due to start in early 2013.

Senior Vice President of Nissan Europe, Trevor Mann, handed over the keys to the vehicle to SAFC Chief Executive Margaret Byrne at the Stadium of Light ahead of Saturday’s Barclays Premier League clash with Wigan.

She said: “Sunderland AFC is a proud part of the Wearside business community and we are delighted at the ongoing success of Nissan’s local plant. They are a key employer in our region and have a large number of Sunderland fans amongst the workforce. So the success of Nissan also has a positive effect on the football club.

“The LEAF is at the forefront of green technology and we are delighted to be showcasing such global innovation with a truly local connection.”

Trevor Mann added:  “We were delighted that the football club decided to add a Nissan LEAF to their fleet.

“As the first manufacturer to mass market an electric vehicle, the Nissan LEAF has become a pioneer in the EV segment.

“Since the start of sales earlier this year demand for the vehicle, which is currently built in Japan has been high and we’re looking forward to welcoming the car online at Sunderland Plant in 2013.”

The Nissan LEAF won two major awards at the recent 2011 RAC Future Car Challenge (FCC) which reinforces independently how energy efficient the car is when competing with rival petrol, diesel and hybrid engines.

Competing against 49 other cars, the Nissan LEAF won ‘The Best Overall Vehicle on Sale at Time of Event’ at the FCC from Brighton to London for its miserly energy use, as well as the ‘Most Energy Efficient Regular Production Car’.

London’s Imperial College calculated the comparative energy use of all competitors across all power sources, the Nissan LEAF cost just £1.83 to travel the 60-mile route.