THE electric car revolution might appear to be slow and steady, but the pace of shifting attitudes in the modern motoring world might be quicker than many of us realise, as one of the UK’s leading electric car manufacturers announces a significant milestone.
Nissan, which launched its remarkably normal-looking fully electric Leaf three years ago, has this week sold its 100,000th car to a customer in Hampshire.
The achievement comes at a time when the nation is beginning to accept the onslaught of electric vehicles, with new charging points popping up across the country at public places and in private car parks.
Nissan’s marketing boss Guillaume Cartier said: “For such a revolutionary car, to achieve this sales milestone in such a short space of time is a major achievement.
“Don’t forget that when Nissan LEAF was launched in 2010, the charging infrastructure was in its infancy.
“But that didn’t deter the pioneers who immediately appreciated the benefits of a purpose-designed electric vehicle.
“Three years on, many are already on their second Nissan Leaf. With five seats, practical back doors and class-leading boot space volume, the Nissan Leaf is the EV for the real world.
“Today, meanwhile, many cities have growing networks of quick chargers and this is helping accelerate sales.”
To celebrate the sales achievement, Nissan has produced a unique version of the Leaf with 100,000 optional extras, representing each sale.
The car is decorated in 50,000 two pence Sterling coins from the UK and 50,000 two cent Euro coins from Europe.
The choice of coins reflect the car’s claimed running costs of 2p per mile and less than 2p per kilometre.
Creating the coined covered Nissan Leaf took a specialist team of three people a full seven days to complete.
Half the car is covered in Sterling and the other in Euros with the word ‘Leaf’’ highlighted by the use of three layers of coins.
The coins add a substantial 504kg to the overall weight of the car.
The coin-covered Leaf has been on display at Martins of Winchester, the Nissan dealer which sold the actual 100,000th car to dentist Brett Garner, a self-confessed ‘technology freak’ whose practice is based in nearby Fareham on the South Coast of England.
Brett was prompted to consider the car by a Leaf-owning friend.
He said: “My wife wasn’t convinced initially but I ran through the finances with her - the low cost of maintenance, insurance, fuel and so on - and she softened a little.
“But when she used the car to make a 500-mile round trip, she was converted.
“The journey took a little longer than normal with a stop for a quick charge top-up on both legs. Now she insists on using the Leaf a couple of days a week.”
Brett’s regular daily commute is a 50-mile round trip and the Garners have had a Polar charging point installed at their home by British Gas.
He added: “We have another conventional car at home but that only manages 25mpg so we use it sparingly as it costs so much to refuel.”
Nissan says the vehicle’s success confirms its place as the world’s leading producer of pure electric vehicles and underlines its role in redefining the nation’s attitudes towards a fully-electric future.