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Nissan Leaf becomes first EV to become a nation’s top seller

By David Bonnici, 23 Jan 2019 Car News

nissan leaf charging

Sales of the battery-electric hatch overtook the venerable Volkswagen Golf in Norway last year, with EVs taking more than third of that country’s market share. Meanwhile, in Australia …

The transition of electric vehicles from exception to the rule has taken a significant step, with the Nissan Leaf becoming the biggest overall selling car in Norway.

Nissan sold 12,303 second-generation Leafs in the Scandinavian country last year, seeing it leap ahead of 2017 ladder leaders; the Volkswagen Golf (9859), BMW i3 (5687), Toyota RAV4 (3856) and Tesla Model X (4891), in its first year on sale.

It’s a big achievement for Nissan’s electric hatch in a country where more than a third of the 148,000 cars sold in 2018 were all-electric.

The electric BMW i3 was the third biggest selling car in Norway after the Volkswagen Golf, with the Tesla Model X (fourth), Tesla Model S (eighth) and Renault Zoe (10th) also making the top-10.

Hybrids also represented about a third of sales.

Uptake of electric vehicles in progressive Norway was always going to outpace the rest of the world – the fact that only about 30 percent cars sold there last year have combustion-only powertrains shows what can be achieved with the help of environmentally-conscious government policies and incentives.

By comparison just 1352 EVs were sold last year in Australia, which has almost five times Norway’s population, with that number representing  0.1 percent of all cars, SUVs and light commercial vehicles sold. Of these about 67 percent, or 910, went to commercial or government buyers.

The Nissan Leaf, which recently launched in Australia, was also the biggest selling EV in Europe, with 40,699 sold across the continent where EV sales represent about 2.0 percent of the market.

Nissan isn’t resting on its laurels with its electric hatch, with the Japanese carmaker recently announcing a new version, the Leaf E-Plus that extends its real-world single-charge range by a about 40 percent from about 270km to 380km.

This should make it a more attractive prospect in Australia against new, similarly priced (about $55,000), rivals such as the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, and Kia e-Niro, the latter of which has a 600km-plus urban range.

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