Nissan’s electric Leaf kicked a sales and exposure goal this week, with Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore taking delivery of ten of the small hatches on behalf of the City of Sydney.
The city's purchase marks the largest single order of the $51,500 small hatch to date in Australia. The cars will join a fleet of four Mitsubishi i-MiEV pure-electric city cars.
Replacing a fleet of ten Toyota Prius petrol-electric hybrid models, Lord Mayor Moore considers the use of the zero-emission Leafs as a wholesale gain in a city environment.
“A shift to electric cars powered by low-carbon energy has benefits for everyone - lower running costs, lower pollution and quieter streets,” the Lord Mayor said.
Acknowledging that the mains power largely used for EV recharging involves carbon emissions itself, the council asserts that this will be offset by solar panels installed on several Sydney buildings - a program claimed to be the largest building-mounted solar installation in Australia.
To encourage greater public use of electric vehicles, the City of Sydney has installed seven electric charging stations at public carparks in Kings Cross and Goulburn street in the CBD.
This followed the installation of Australia’s first public charge station by private supplier ChargePoint in the sydney suburb of Glebe in 2010, used by car share company GoGet.
Sydney's Leaf fleet will be used will be used by council for building and health inspectors, town planners and engineers.
Lord Mayor Moore suggested the Leaf’s maximum range of 170km is “more than enough to get around the city”.
Nissan announced this week that it has sold more than 50,000 Leafs globally since its 2010 debut, and so far 83 have been sold in Australia (to Jan 31) since its June 2012 local launch.
Speaking with TMR at the City of Sydney Leaf fleet’s official handover, Nissan Australia’s sales and fleet boss Ian Moreillon suggested that similar purchases are likely to follow.
“Numerous councils and local governments have expressed an interest in the Leaf, and discussions are ongoing regarding similar fleets to the City of Sydney,” Moreillon said.