The LEAF made history in April by taking the number two spot in overall auto sales in Norway, second only to the immensely popular VW Golf. Nissan’s electric hatchback has been a smash since it went on sale in the Nordic country 18 months ago – it has sold over 4,500 units, making it #13 among all vehicles in 2012, and #5 in 2013 to date.
Nissan Senior VP Paul Willcox expects even greater success with the new model: “In March we began production of our new Nissan LEAF in the UK with over 100 changes and three levels of trim. With this new European-tailored car hitting showrooms in May we expect the coming months to show the undeniable momentum building behind 100% electric vehicle sales in Europe. In Norway the Nissan LEAF is now a mainstream car choice for family and business drivers because it performs as well as a combustion engine car, but doesn’t produce any emissions.”
Norway, the world’s EV capital, offers many incentives for charged drivers, who pay zero VAT (value-added tax), park and charge for free, and can use bus lanes in Oslo and other cities. To cope with the growing numbers of EVs, the Oslo city government has increased its planned charging point installations from 100 per year to 200 per year for the next four years.
“We are clearly demonstrating to other countries in Europe and across the globe that if you build infrastructure and put some smart incentives in place people buy zero emission cars and use them every day,” said Snorre Sletvold, President of the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association. “We may have big oil reserves, but our government sees encouraging electric vehicles as an investment in reducing pollution, raising air quality and improving public health.”
The new European-manufactured LEAF, which features 100 improvements over the current model, including a 70% more efficient cabin heater that improves winter driving range, goes on sale across Europe starting in June.