First Nissan LEAFs arrive in UK

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Driving cars without the need for petrol or diesel is one step closer today with the arrival of the first production electric Nissan LEAFs in the UK.

The first shipment of 67 Nissan LEAFs arrived for customers in the UK and Ireland aboard the ‘City of St. Petersburg’, Nissan’s brand new energy-saving car carrier for transporting vehicles in Europe, which has made its maiden voyage with the LEAFs on board.

Green-Car-Guide has secured one of the first LEAFs for its local community, Ashton Hayes, the UK’s first village to commit to going carbon neutral.

UK customers have been able to pre-order the Nissan LEAF since September 2010 ahead of deliveries starting in the coming weeks. Pre-orders for the Nissan LEAF, which is powered by an advanced lithium-ion battery, have reached more than 27,000 units globally.

The LEAF is the world’s first affordable, mass produced zero-emission car. It’s a five-seater, C-segment hatchback powered by an 80kW electric motor. It can be charged to 80% of capacity in under 30 minutes with rapid charging and has a real-world range of 109 miles and a top speed of 90 mph. The LEAF is eligible for the government’s £5000 plug-in car grant, reducing the price from £28,990 to £23,990.

The zero-emission car is currently built in Japan, but will be manufactured in Sunderland from 2013, following the start of production of lithium-ion batteries for such cars at the plant in 2012.

A comprehensive charging network is currently under development in the UK. North East England alone will have 1,300 charge points by 2013, including quick chargers capable of refuelling a Nissan LEAF from when the empty warning light switches on to an 80% charge in just under 30 minutes. Nissan’s network of EV dealers – currently 25 sites across the UK – will all be equipped with a quick charger. Across the UK there are programmes under way to install around 9,000 charge points by 2013.

Nissan research has found that 80% of daily driving in Britain is below 30 miles so the LEAF should easily be able to cope with such demands with its ability to carry five passengers up to 109 miles (175 km) under the New European Driving Cycle.

The City of St. Petersburg has a sleek and semi-spherical bow which reduces wind resistance by up to 50%, resulting in fuel reductions of up to 800 tonnes annually, equivalent to about 2,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions. The carrier will join the fleet of ships which export hundreds of thousands of vehicles from Nissan Sunderland Plant each year.