The shipment of first batch of all-electric car Nissan Leaf has arrived in the north-east of England, the carmaker has confirmed.
The Nissan Leaf, the world's first affordable all-electric car, is a genuine alternative to petrol and diesel cars in terms of style, features, safety, performance and handling, , Nissan's senior vice-president of sales and marketing for Europe Simon Thomas said in a statement.
An estimated 67 units have arrived in the first batch out of the 27,000 units booked worldwide.
The Leaf, described as the world's first affordable all-electric car, will retail at £28,900. However, the UK government will grant subsidy of up to £5,000 (or $7,935) for the electric vehicles.
Nissan Motor is expected to sell 500,000 electric vehicles annually by the end of 2013, Renault Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn had told reporters on eve of the market debut of the Nissan Leaf.
We're going to have to put some efforts into selling the car, but the kind of spontaneous demand is going to be driving the sales for the next three years, Ghosn said. There is such a curiosity about the car and attention to the car.
The car has already sold out for this fiscal year in Japan at 6,000 orders and in the U.S. at 20,000, reaching production limits.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given the 2011 Nissan Leaf a mileage rating of 99 miles per gallon (mpg); besides dubbing the electric car to be the best for fuel efficiency and the environment.
Earlier, British government pledged 43 million pounds ($68.24 million) until the end of March 2012 to help British motorists shift to low-carbon vehicles.
Governments across the world have set aside billions of dollars in the form of subsidies for early adopters of these alternative energy cars and to boost production of batteries for such vehicles despite persisting doubts about how many people will actually buy them.
The US Department of Energy said it is investing $2.85 billion in electric vehicles of which $2 billion will go to help American carmakers produce advanced vehicle batteries and drive train components. Around $400 million will be invested to buy, test, and deploy different types of electric vehicles in the marketplace, and $300 million in cost-share projects under the 'Clean Cities' program.
According to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance report, plug-in electric vehicles, including plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles, have the potential to make up 9 percent of auto sales in 2020 and 22 percent in 2030 (1.6 million and 4 million vehicle sales respectively).