Norway, with its aggressive EV incentives and long trail of awareness raising, is surging ahead of all other nations in terms of electric vehicle share of the broader auto market. With just 2.7 million cars registered in Norway today, 7.2% are now fully electric vehicles according to Norsk Ebilforening, the Norwegian electric car association.
At the end of 2018, 200,192 electric passenger cars and light trucks were registered in Norway. That number is up more than 40% over December 2017. During 2018, more than 31% of all new cars registered in Norway were full electrics.
Now Nissan has announced that the LEAF is the best selling of all new cars in Norway, with 12,000 sold there last year, and the best selling electric car in Europe with 40,000 sold there last year. The LEAF has sold 380,000 units since it was first introduced in 2010, making it the best selling electric car in history, although Tesla is rapidly catching up now that the Model 3 has begun volume production.
If you have been following the news about the LEAF here at CleanTechnica, you know there are some issues with the latest model. It still suffers from shorter range than some competitors and cannot tolerate multiple fast charging sessions super well in the same day due to its lack of liquid cooling for its battery pack.
But none of that seems to matter to shoppers, many of whom have decided the Nissan LEAF offers the best value for the money when it comes to choices in the EV marketplace. CleanTechnica reader Jennifer Sensiba recently wrote about her experiences driving a LEAF with the 40 kWh battery for 40,000 miles and pronounced herself more than pleased with the car’s performance.
Ken Ramirez, senior vice president for sales and marketing at Nissan Europe, says, “This latest announcement marks the start of a very optimistic 2019 for our EV range. The fact that the Nissan LEAF is still the default choice for EV buyers in Europe is a testament to its all-round capability as the icon of Nissan Intelligent Mobility — especially with the ever-growing range of competitors.”
“We can celebrate standout sales success with Norway as an example, as it highlights how the Nissan electric ecosystem has established itself as a sustainable lifestyle choice in a relatively short space of time. With the range now stronger than ever, we look forward to welcoming more customers to EV ownership in the coming months.”
The appeal of the LEAF will be enhanced later this year when the new 3.0 version with a 62 kWh battery, a range of 239 miles, and enhanced driver assist technology becomes available. “With the range now stronger than ever, we look forward to welcoming more customers to EV ownership in the coming months,” Ramirez says.
The LEAF is leading all comers in European EV sales, including plug-in hybrids, according to CleanTechnica contributor Jose Pontes. Market penetration is very much dependent on local incentives. Norway has a strong incentive program, while neighboring Denmark does not. Not surprisingly, EV sales in Denmark are a fraction of those in Norway.
How long can the Nissan LEAF continue its strong sales performance? In the US, where long distance driving is nearly a religion, the LEAF has been suffering lately, but in Europe, where distances between cities are not as great and vehicles are not as “supersized,” many find the car fits their needs and budget. As more competitors enter the marketplace for electric cars, EV shoppers may find themselves attracted to models from other manufacturers. Which electric car will be the sales champion in Europe in 2019 is still far from a foregone conclusion.
Hat tip to Are Hansen