Car manufacturer Nissan has now sold more than 10,000 of its zero-tailpipe emission Leaf electric cars in the UK, the latest figures from the UK car industry have confirmed.
According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), Nissan sold 2,964 Leafs in the first half of 2015, which is an increase of 69.4% compared to the previous year.
And, announcing the milestone this week (July 6), Nissan said this brings total UK sales of its Leaf to 10,161 since its launch in 2011.
The majority (51.7%) of these units were sold in the last 12 months and predominantly to retail customers, as almost 71.2% of LEAFs are registered in the retail channel.
Nissan said that this “significant growth is reflected in the wider EV market as the benefits of switching to all-electric mobility become better knownâ€?.
The Nissan Leaf remains the biggest-selling purely-electric car in the UK – also where the vehicle is built – with SMMT data revealing that it outsold all other such models combined by more than two-to-one in the first half of 2015, commanding a market share of 63.3%.
Sales of the car have been assisted by the government offering grants of up to £5,000 towards the cost of purchasing an electric vehicle since 2011, although this grant scheme will come to an end once it has been used to purchase 50,000 electric vehicles.
However, with the rapid rise in electric vehicle sales over the last two years, the government’s grant target has edged much closer – currently nearing 40,000 grants – and it is thought that the scheme may not continue much beyond 2015.
The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) has said it plans to introduce a new grant scheme after the current scheme comes to an end, but further details have yet to be revealed.
Announcing the 10,000 sales milestone this week, James Wright – Nissan Motor (GB) managing director – commented: “The UK’s electric vehicle market is growing at an extraordinary pace and while it may be too early to talk about tipping points, today’s achievement certainly indicates we’re well on our way.
“I am proud that the Nissan LEAF has played such a major role in changing perceptions of EV ownership and I am even prouder that the UK is now the number one market for LEAF sales in Europe.â€?
Electric vehicle sales have also been boosted by their exemptions to vehicle excise duty, the London Congestion Charge and the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) due to come into force in London from 2020.
Refuelling electric vehicles is also cheaper than petrol or diesel, costing around £2-3 for a full charge, which provides a range of around 100 miles.
Details of a forthcoming London scheme offering up to 3,000 electric cars for short term rent were announced last month by BluePointLondon Ltd (see AirQualityNews.com story), while almost half of respondents to a recent survey said they expected their next car to be battery operated or a plug-in hybrid vehicle (see AirQualityNews.com story).