In 1947, as Japan struggled to recover from the Second World War, the motorcar represented a shining, modern symbol of hope for a prosperous future. Yet there was a problem: petrol was brutally scarce. And so Nissan invented the Tama, an innovative electric vehicle (EV), designed to harness the country’s abundant supply of hydroelectric power.
Tama may have had a top speed of only 22mph, but its creators had clearly set off on the right road. Fast-forward nearly 70 years and the likes of Presidents Obama, Putin and Xi were meeting in Paris for the COP21 UN Climate Change Conference, identifying climate change as the major issue facing humanity and committing to finding practical alternatives to fossil fuels. And so we find ourselves back at that familiar junction: asking how we can live a prosperous life on less fuel.
A new LEAF
The good news is that the innovation didn’t reach a dead end with the Tama. In 2010, Nissan launched the 100% electric Nissan LEAF, a spacious five-door family hatchback that shows how viable the sustainable option can be. The LEAF produces zero emissions while driving and the latest model can cover up to 155 miles on a single charge. It has won 92 awards globally and become the world’s bestselling EV. LEAF drivers have travelled more than two billion kilometres (1.2 billion miles) – equivalent to 2,600 round trips from the Earth to the Moon. This feat has helped keep 328,482 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.
The road ahead
Nissan delivered its 200,000th LEAF in January. No other manufacturer has produced as many electric vehicles or covered as many emission-free miles. Its EV range also includes the e-NV200 van, five- or seven-seat Combi and Evalia people carrier.
Nissan has continued to innovate, not least in the critical area of battery technology – where it has been working on second-life batteries, and a Vehicle to Grid system which will allow drivers to operate as individual ‘energy hubs’ with the ability to store, use or return electricity to the grid.
With the world’s leaders finally acknowledging the scale of the pollution problem, industry needs innovation now more than ever. If the Tama signalled the right direction for the automotive sector, then the LEAF has proven that EVs have a practical role to play in making our lives more sustainable.
THE LEAF IN BRISTOL: PROMOTING GREEN CITIES
Transport is clearly a huge issue for cities seeking to clean up, so when Bristol was awarded the role of European Green Capital 2015, becoming the blueprint for environmentally friendly and sustainable city living, it chose the Nissan LEAF to help spread the message. The organisers opted for a five-strong fleet of LEAFs to deliver its programme of events across the city, the first in the UK to have won the Green Capital status. ‘These five Nissan LEAFs are not just a convenient way to get around, they are emblems of what the future will look like in terms of car use,’ said Zoe Sear, director at Bristol 2015 Ltd. ‘They are a sustainable way for us to get out to events right across the city and engage with members of the public about what it means to create a happier, healthier city for future generations.’
EVs may be worth considering for your business for a number of reasons:
Green agenda: You’re CO2-aware and may have emissions targets to meet. The LEAF boasts zero emissions while driving and 95% recoverable elements, so is a good option for any sustainable fleet.
Staying ahead: Your company is known for remaining in step with innovative products, services and new technology.
Cost-savings: You aim to reduce running costs and improve efficiency. EVs cost from just 2p per mile to run, compared with 10-12p per mile for petrol or diesel options. Fleets could save up to 75% in fuel costs by switching to 100% electric vehicles. The LEAF is exempt from road tax and the London Congestion Charge, and only attracts 5% BIK. For extra piece of mind, there is an eight-year/100,000 mile warranty on the battery of the 30kW LEAF.
Nissan’s dedicated EV Fleet Team can advise your business on workplace charging and fiscal incentives.