The Nissan LEAF was the ninth best selling passenger car in Norway in February 2012,
and Nissan's second best seller. In fact, 1,000 of these battery powered playthings
have been registered in Norway in the last six months. But why? Norway's government
encourages electric vehicle purchases with 0% VAT, no new car tax, free parking,
and partial exemption from toll charges. Furthermore, the country's on-street charging
infrastructure in Oslo has 3500 public charging points many of which can be used for free.
That brings us to Nissan's progress in the UK. Since the LEAF's launch a year ago, its
Japanese manufacturer has expanded the dealer network from twenty-six to thirty-two.
There are plans to increase this further to one-hundred and fifty before the LEAF's second
Also, there are now a reasonable amount of people testing the vehicle in the UK.
Real world feedback - rather than simulation - is clearly the best way to improve products.
The Nissan LEAF is propelled by a battery powered electric motor and, Nissan claims,
it has a range of up to one-hundred miles. However, this is dependant on a number of
factors. Driving fast, aggressively, or uphill can reduce the range – much as it does in a
traditional oil-burner. When the vehicle needs recharging motorists have three options.
The first is to 'plug in' to a home-based 13A socket, which then completes a full-charge
in ten hours. Or, install Nissan's 16A fixed charging system that gets the job done in
eight. The fastest option, however, is to use a rapid charging point that achieves an 80%
charge in thirty minutes. The locations of these points are stored within the car's navigation
Despite this, I suspect it will take some time before the LEAF breaks UK sales records.
By Stephen Turvil
Tue, 15 May 2012