Renault and Nissan aim to have a joint capacity to produce up to 500,000 electric vehicles by 2013.

But whether it will actually manufacture that number is as yet unclear.

“The figure we give is the market for electric vehicles will be 10% by 2020,” a Renault spokeswoman in Paris said.

“With Renault Nissan we have the capacity of 500,000 [vehicles] by 2013. It is the capacity of Renault and Nissan in the world – we will see how the market goes – that is the maximum.”

Nissan said on Monday Leaf pre-orders in Japan had reached its target of 6,000 units for fiscal 2010 to March next year, only two months after it began accepting the orders.

Pre-orders, which began on 1 April for the domestic market, were strong thanks to customers who recognised the vehicle’s environment-friendly features and affordability as an electric vehicle.

About 60% of pre-orders came from fleet customers, and the remaining from individuals.

Of the individuals, people aged 60 and up accounted for the largest proportion at 34%, followed by those in their 40s and 50s who accounted for 25%, the automaker said.

People in their 30s took a 13% share while only 3% were in their 20s, Nissan added.

Nissan will launch the Leaf in Europe this December, firstly in Portugal and the Netherlands, followed by the UK and Ireland two months later.

The UK and Ireland have significant EV incentives of up to EUR5,000 (US$6,000) per car and will also establish public battery charging networks.