Japanese automaker Nissan announced recently an important sales milestone.
The brand’s electric vehicle (EV) is called the Leaf and it became the first electric car in history to surpass 400,000 in sales.
The milestone was reached some nine years after the original Leaf hit the market, as the first mass-market EV. When the original Leaf launched, the EV was a niche product mainly purchased by early adopters.
Today, an increasing number of Canadians say they’re considering switching to an EV for their next vehicle.
“This milestone is a powerful statement that 400,000 customers, and counting, value the Nissan Leaf for the excitement, confidence and connection it delivers,” said executive vice president Daniele Schillaci, Nissan's global head of marketing, sales and electric vehicles.
“The Leaf remains the icon of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, our strategy for moving more people to a better world.”
Globally, Nissan Leaf owners have clocked a cumulative 10 billion kilometres of driving over the years — all without burning a drop of gasoline. According to Nissan, this saves about 3.8 million barrels of oil per year.
As a full EV, the Leaf has no engine, no transmission, no gaskets, no fuel tank or exhaust system, no emissions system, and no engine. It never needs an oil change, or to visit a gas station.
Leaf is available in over 50 global markets, including Canada. Elsewhere, it’s recently been called the top-selling electric vehicle in Europe, and the top selling vehicle, period, in Norway.
The Leaf has recently entered its latest generation, with new styling, safety, connectivity, and technology coming as part of the package.
The standard Nissan Leaf can drive up to 243 kilometres on a fully-charged battery, in ideal conditions. A full battery recharge is possible overnight, if owners install a household Level 2 charger. In this case, Leaf drivers wake up every morning to a fully-charged battery. The standard leaf uses a 147-horsepower motor.
Additionally, Nissan is rolling out a new Leaf variant with an available upgraded powertrain system. The newly-available Leaf Plus gives shoppers the option of an extended-range model, and uses a larger battery and more powerful motor.
With the Leaf Plus, total range on a fully-charged battery is 363 kilometres in ideal conditions, and output is bumped to a punchy 214 horsepower, which increases acceleration by 13 per cent.
The new Leaf and Leaf Plus are just two examples of the growing number of electric and hybrid-electric vehicles available to Canadian shoppers. Pricing for the Nissan Leaf starts around $41,000, and the extended-range Leaf Plus, with its upgraded 62 kWh battery and improved output, starts from $44,000.
Shoppers not yet ready to switch to a full electric vehicle aren’t without choices, either. The plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) combines short-range EV functionality with long-range gasoline propulsion — giving drivers the benefits of fuel-free electric driving for shorter distances, but enabling hundreds of additional kilometres of driving by way of a conventional gasoline engine.
Popular PHEV models available to Canadians include the Honda Clarity, Toyota Prius Prime, Hyundai Ioniq, Ford Fusion Energi, Chrysler Pacifica minivan, and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, which is a full-function family crossover, complete with AWD.