Over the weekend, 255 Nissan LEAF electric vehicles (EVs) went round the Silverstone racing circuit in England, setting a new world record for The Longest Parade of Electric Vehicles. The previous record for such a gathering of EVs was set in 2009 in the USA with 218 vehicles.
The record is especially significant for Nissan in the UK as one of the three LEAF factories in the world is located in England (the other two are in Japan and the USA). It has been officially recognized by the Guinness World Records organization.
When sales of the LEAF began, it was the first all-electric car for the mass market. Since deliveries began in December 2010, over 43,000 units have been sold worldwide, making it the best-selling EV in the world. About 44% have been sold in Japan and 38% have been sold in the USA.
In virtually all the countries where the LEAF is sold, the governments offer incentives which help to reduce their cost to consumers. This is to help popularize EVs which are zero-emission vehicles. In Malaysia too, the government has given hybrids (below 2000 cc ) and EVs exemption from import and excise duty till the end of 2013.
Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM) is currently evaluating the LEAF with the aim of offering EVs in future. Earlier this year, it began the ‘Journey to Zero Emission‘ which has a comprehensive program (funded by ETCM) to create greater awareness of EVs. The program includes the recruitment of ‘LEAF Ambassadors’ who each spend 6 weeks using a LEAF in their daily lives and sharing their experiences with other Malaysians personally or via their blogs.
Understanding that there are concerns about the range of the LEAF and that its battery pack has to be recharged regularly, First Energy Networks Sdn Bhd (a subsidiary of Tan Chong Motor Holdings) has set up the country’s first two public EV charging stations in Kuala Lumpur. As the industry has settled on a common connector for the charging cable, it will be possible to use the charging station for models other than the LEAF. At this time, the EV owner will not have to pay any fee for recharging.
Further information can be found at the ‘Journey to Zero Emission’ website at www.nissan.com.my/Leaf