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UK selected as priority market for Nissan Leaf

Date: 30 March 2010

Nissan Leaf

Nissan has confirmed that the UK will be one of just six launch markets for its electric-powered five-seat hatchback Leaf model when it arrives in January.

Along with Ireland, Portugal, Denmark, Monaco and the Catalan region of Spain, the UK is a market that Nissan has achieved assurance from authorities over a range of measures required to make it a priority region.

"We've prioritised the six markets based on memorandums of understanding regarding how we will bring EVs to markets," Nissan's European sales and marketing boss Simon Thomas told BusinessCar. The Japanese firm needed an agreement regarding three areas: the education programme that will run alongside EVs, a commitment and timescale for investment and implementation of the infrastructure, and a long-term commitment to incentivising electric vehicles. "We have a commitment from each country to deliver on those elements to a degree, as much as they can legally offer, and we'll take those commitments at face value and honour them," said Thomas, who said the UK is one of the three most important of the six due to its "market readiness and commitment to infrastructure".

Thomas said pricing will be announced "soon", and that the plug-in electric Leaf, with its 100-mile range, has already attracted some of the biggest fleets and leasing companies. "We have some memorandums of understanding with fleets customers in the six regions," said Thomas. "We've signed agreements with some very famous names in the business."

The pricing will be in the same region as a lower medium diesel hatchback like the Vauxhall Astra once the Government's expected £5000 subsidy is taken off.

While Thomas wouldn't reveal how the car will be offered - buy outright, leased, or a combination of the two - he said the firm has settled on its method of sale, and that "a leasing profile is important". He also said Nissan won't be leasing the battery separately to the car, a move some other firms are looking at to head-off any worries about the longevity of the battery.