First Leaf deliveries begin next month

First Leaf deliveries begin next month

Nissan has welcomed the UK government's decision to expand the timeframe to put investment behind electric vehicle subsidies and infrastructure development.

The Japanese manufacturer has now started to build its all-electric Leaf model in Oppama with key European markets such as Portugal, Ireland and the UK due to take delivery of the vehicle imminently.

“[The UK] government has ring-fenced GBP400m for low carbon vehicle uptake – that's in line with the previous government's commitment,” Nissan UK EV project manager David Jackson told just-auto at the Leaf's media launch in Lisbon, Portugal today (2 November).

"That is up to 2015 - the good news is they have extended the window - we have yet to hear whether they will continue the 25% discount."

The British administration has offered a subsidy of up to 25% of the cost of buying electric vehicles, or GBP5,000 ,although it remains unknown for how long it is prepared to continue the policy.

Nissan however, welcomed the grants with Jackson noting the incentive “brings the equation quite nicely” to encourage early EV adopters.

A further key factor for Nissan UK has been the partnership with British regions such as London, Milton Keynes and the One North East initiative that has specifically addressed charging infrastructure.

“The Mayor of London has committed 25,000 points by 2015 – range is a perception we have to work quite hard with,” said Jackson, adding Nissan was keen to see charging commonality adopted across both the UK and Europe.

“Ideally we would have a standard across Europe, but we have to have a standard per country at least,” he said, noting the UK did not have the same cross-border issues that the continent faces such as drivers moving between Holland and Belgium, for example.

Jackson added Nissan was in conversation with supermarkets, but was more keen at present to continue dialogue with bodies such as regional development agencies and local councils to discuss charging infrastructure.

Alliance partner Renault recently announced it was to partner with 500 E Leclerc supermarkets in France for charging points.