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

Fri, 21 Oct 2011

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

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.

By Cars UK