LEAF ROCKS UK SALES: Nissan's Leaf is gaining popularity in the UK and achieved record sales during September 2014. Image: Nissan
• Leaf UK sales break records
• Biggest Leaf sales month yet
• Outsold combined EV rivals 2-1
• Still UK’s best-selling EV through 2014
LONDON, England - The 100% electric Nissan Leaf has again proved to be the most popular battery car in the UK with sales breaking national and European records in September, the start of the northern autumn was leaves should actually be falling.
Figures from the UK's Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders report 851 sales in September 2014, up 156% on the previous September (332) and topping March 2014 (the previous record month) when 630 were sold.
This strong performance, Nissan says, was not only a record for the UK but also the most units yet sold in one month in a European market*.
DOUBLE THE NUMBERS
Sales of the England-built Nissan Leaf have already bettered the total in 2013 (1812) with 2969 sold so far in 2104.
SMMT data also shows the Leaf sold more than double the total of all other battery cars in September to score a 70% share of the battery market.
By comparison - mostly, Wheels24 thinks, because of the appalling lack of free-charging points in South African cities - Nissan SA reports sales of only 20 units since the Leaf sprouted in this country in November 2013. (see below)
Paul O’Neill, Nissan's EV manager for Britain, said: ”Sales continue to go from strength to strength. September’s result gives us a clear indication that people are beginning to recognise that switching to a Nissan Leaf is not a compromise but an opportunity.”
CHARGE POINTS HEAD FOR 95%
The number of Nissan-compatible rapid chargers available in the UK has now reached 366 170 of these at key motorway service stations along the Ecotricity Electric Highway.
Almost 80% of motorway service stations across the UK are now covered, a figure due to pass 95% by the end of 2014 and remain "no charge" (excuse the Wheels24 pun) for the foreseeable future.
• For more information go to Ecotricity’s Electric Highway, which will give you an idea of how far behind sunny SA is when it comes to charging points for electric cars.
A communique from Nissan SA shed more light on the local situation:
We launched Nissan Leaf in November 2013 in South Africa and the vehicle is available in Gauteng. Being first to the local market with an electric vehicle certainly sparked interest among early adopters and we sell two or three per month.
The Leaf is certainly not a volume seller and was not intended to be.
Plans are well under way for roll-out in Cape Town and KZN and we will make more announcements in due course. It certainly was and still is a challenge in terms of public infrastructure and government and parastatals are working on supporting EVs, albeit not as fast as we hoped, however we are making every effort to support this through our dealers.
Interest from private buyers is certainly on the increase, as it is from the banks and other corporates interested in reducing their carbon footprint and fuel bill for urban fleets
Please be on the lookout for accelerated activities in terms of Nissan Leaf in the near future.