April 23, 2014

Nissan LEAF EV: 15,000 sold worldwide, but UK hasn’t fallen for electric cars

Nissan LEAF EV

Nissan LEAF EV - 15k sold worldwide, but just a handful in the UK

Carlos Ghosn – Nissan Renault boss – has revealed that Nissan has sold 15,000 LEAF EVs. But in the UK only 100 electric cars were sold in September.


As electric cars go, the Nissan LEAF is one of the best. It looks like a proper car – even if it’s not exactly drop dead gorgeous – it has the accoutrements of a real car and you can pile in your shopping and the kids just as you could in any other family sized hatch.

But from our perspective the LEAF is an orange trying to be a banana. It’s still a car, but it doesn’t do what an ICE car can and it costs a fortune to buy. For us, it’s just an inferior product at a ridiculous price.

But despite our antipathy towards the LEAF’s practicality and cost, 15,000 car buyers around the world have snapped up a LEAF, according to Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn.

Ghosn believes the world and his dog will be jumping in to EVs in the next ten years and believes (or at least it’s what he wants Nissan shareholders to believe) that a full 10 per cent of cars will be electric by 2020. But he might find that a bit of a struggle in the UK.

Despite a taxpayer-funded bribe for car buyers to jump in to an EV, electric car sales in the UK are woeful.

We reported back in July that just 215 electric cars had been bought in the UK in the preceding three months, with just 50 of those bought by private buyers. That report was followed up in September with news that a major survey had shown not a single UK car buyer was planning an EV for their next purchase.

Now we have the latest EV sales figures for the UK, which show that in the nine months to the end of September just 786 applications were received for the £5,000 grant on EVs, and just 100 in September – the second biggest car sales month of the year.

That means, in all probability, that less than 200 electric cars have been bought in the UK by private buyers in 2011. Despite the £5k bribe.

Carlos Ghosn must be wondering where all the eco-mentalists have gone.

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  1. Being panned on Top Gear didn’t exactly help did it – with Clarkson’s staged “comedy review” of the car running out of power in the middle of town… Too bad, as in the UK it makes the most sense with the most expensive petrol in europe.

    • Yea, a Nissan Leaf makes so much sense in th UK, just as long as you don’t mind paying twice as much for the Leaf as for an equivalent car with a real engine (that’s around 100,000 miles worth of fuel) and you’ve no plans to drive much further than the next town.

      Why not go the whole hog and get a horse and carriage? You’d get a lot further for a lot less money, and it’s no more of a retrograde step than buying an electric car with old technology that’s hardly improved in 100 years.

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