World’s most pop­u­lar EV for New Zealand

Waitaki Herald - - MOTORING - ROB MAETZIG

The lat­est ver­sion of the world’s best-sell­ing elec­tric ve­hi­cle is to be sold in New Zealand.

Ja­panese man­u­fac­turer Nis­san has an­nounced plans to sell the Leaf EV in seven mar­kets in Asia and Ocea­nia dur­ing the next fis­cal year, in­clud­ing New Zealand and Aus­tralia.

The Leaf is the world’s most pop­u­lar EV, with more than 300,000 of them sold glob­ally since the first-gen­er­a­tion model first went on sale in 2010.

It is the icon of what Nis­san calls In­tel­li­gent Mo­bil­ity, which is the com­pany’s ap­proach to chang­ing how cars are pow­ered, driven and in­te­grated into so­ci­ety.

An an­nounce­ment that the new sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion will be launched in Aus­tralia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Sin­ga­pore, South Korea and Thai­land was made at an event called Nis­san Fu­tures, a gath­er­ing in Sin­ga­pore of in­dus­try lead­ers, gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and me­dia from across Asia and Ocea­nia.

Nis­san’s re­gional se­nior vi­cepres­i­dent Yu­taka Sanada said the com­pany is work­ing to bring the new-gen­er­a­tion Leaf to as many mar­kets as pos­si­ble.

‘‘The new Leaf is the most ad­vanced, yet ac­ces­si­ble 100 per cent elec­tric ve­hi­cle on the planet,’’ he said.

‘‘The launch in so many mar­kets shows our com­mit­ment to play­ing a lead­ing role in elec­tri­fi­ca­tion in this dy­namic re­gion, and to de­liv­er­ing the fu­ture of mo­bil­ity to the re­gion now.’’

Ar­rival of the new Leaf – and it has yet to be con­firmed when that will hap­pen and what prices might be – will rep­re­sent a sec­ond at­tempt to sell the Nis­san as a new ve­hi­cle in New Zealand.

Nis­san NZ pulled the plug on the first-gen­er­a­tion ver­sion in early 2016 when it failed to sell, pri­mar­ily be­cause of its high pur­chase price, even though it had even­tu­ally been of­fered for just un­der $40,000.

How­ever good sales of used Leafs im­ported from Ja­pan and the UK – they typ­i­cally sell for around $20,000 – have made the model the most pop­u­lar EV in this coun­try.

The sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion model was launched dur­ing the sec­ond half of last year, and de­liv­er­ies be­gan in Ja­pan in Oc­to­ber, fol­lowed by USA and Canada in Jan­uary and Europe this month.

The car’s new elec­tric pow­er­train de­liv­ers 110kW of power and 320Nm of torque, and a ma­jor im­prove­ment is that whereas the first-gen­er­a­tion ver­sion had a range of up to 130km on a sin­gle charge, the new model has a range of up to 400km de­pend­ing on the size of the bat­tery pack.

Mean­while, the Nis­san Fu­tures event has been told that lat­est re­search has shown one in three South-east Asian con­sumers plan­ning to buy a new car are open to pur­chas­ing an elec­tric ve­hi­cle.

With the right in­cen­tives, the re­gion can ac­cel­er­ate adop­tion of elec­tric and elec­tri­fied ve­hi­cles, the Nis­san-com­mis­sioned study by mar­ket in­tel­li­gence firm Frost and Sul­li­van has shown.

The study re­sults also show that con­trary to com­mon per­cep­tion, cost is not con­sid­ered a de­ter­rent to pur­chase of an EV – in fact, cus­tomers sur­veyed were will­ing to pay more to own an elec­tric ve­hi­cle. How­ever, the study also shows that lower costs would prompt more peo­ple to con­sider elec­tric cars.

Three-quar­ters of re­spon­dents said they were ready to switch to elec­tric ve­hi­cles if taxes were waived.

Other in­cen­tives that would sway cus­tomers in­clude in­stal­la­tion of charg­ing sta­tions in apart­ment build­ings, pri­or­ity lanes for elec­tric ve­hi­cles and free park­ing (53 per cent).

Nis­san’s new-gen­er­a­tion Leaf elec­tric ve­hi­cle is to be sold new in New Zealand, it has been an­nounced.

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