With the second-generation of Nissan Leafs on the horizon for Australia, Nissan is working with fleets and expecting an increase in interest from public and business sectors.
It says it has already seen a number of enquiries from both private business and all tiers of government for the new Leaf, an indication perhaps that electric vehicles are beginning to enter mainstream acceptance as an option for fleets.
This is despite the fact that a survey released yesterday by Renault Nissan suggested that less than a quarter of Australian small business owners believed their fleets would be electrified within 10 years – significantly less than the global average of 50 per cent.
Nissan Australia’s head of Electrification and Mobility Wayne Harris says many business owners see the Leaf as a suitable vehicle for their needs and is good for business.
“As interest in electric vehicles continues to increase, we expect a rise in fleet opportunities and enquiry,” Harris said in an emailed response to The Driven.
“Many of [those enquiring] acknowledge that an EV suits their needs and sends a good environmental message to the community.”
Indeed, the first generation Leaf has proven very popular in a range of countries across the globe – over 380,000 have been sold in 51 countries worldwide since its introduction in December 2010.
When it was introduced to the Australian auto market in 2012, fleets at first accounted for over a third of sales of the Leaf.
“When the first generation LEAF came out we had immediate interest from the market, in fact the City of Sydney purchased 10,” Harris says.
“Fleet accounted for 36% of sales at a time when EVs where a relative unknown,” he says.
With the second-gen Leaf – which will have a boosted range of 270km thanks to an increase in battery size to 40kWh – due to hit Australian shores in 2019, Harris says that Nissan also has “the opportunity to partner with many of these organizations to educate and accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles”.
However, it is not the Japanese carmaker’s only offering; it also offers the all-electric NV200, which the carmaker says will be the only format to be produced in the near future, having struck its diesel version from the production list earlier this month.
The latest all-electric e-NV200 van also a 40kWh battery, with an 80kW motor, 6.6kW on-board charger and option for a 705kg payload and has found an audience in the light commercial vehicle space in overseas markets.
However, Harris says that for the time being at least, it will not be available in Australia.
“We are always looking at the range and what is available in our market, however there are no current plans to sell the e-NV200 here,” Harris says.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.