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Nissan electric car open to order

  • Nissan opens order book for Leaf zero-emission hatch
  • Government confirms £5,000 grant programme
  • Exclusive survey reveals electric car worries

Nissan has opened the order book for its Leaf electric vehicle in the same week that the Government committed to the £5,000 grant scheme.

Due to go on sale in the UK next March, the Leaf hatchback will cost £23,990 once the £5,000 subsidy has been applied.

There had been doubt about the future of the subsidy following the General Election, with the coalition Government carrying out a review of future spending projects it had inherited from the previous administration.

The Government announced last week that it would continue the scheme, although the amount of money set aside for it has been cut from £230 million to just £43 million that will be on offer between January 2011 and March 2012. The government says it will then review the subsidy again.

The money will be offered to company car drivers, as well as private buyers, to speed up the uptake of electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell vehicles.

Electric vehicles have a key appeal to company car drivers, as they will not be liable to company car tax for the next five years - a potential saving of around £500 per annum compared with a conventional petrol or diesel hatchback.

Electric vehicles are also exempt from VED and the London congestion charge. For more information on electric vehicles, click here.

However, a key stumbling block for fleet buyers is the uncertainity around the second-hand values of electric cars. Without it fleet buyers can not work out the cost of running them on their fleets.

However, there are also concerns for potential buyers of electric cars. An exclusive poll run by CCD's sister website, Parker's, suggests that the majority of drivers remain to be convinced about electric vehicles.

Our survey found that 63% of drivers would not consider an electric vehicle, with cost and range the key issues.

Of the 37% who would consider an EV, saving money on fuel prices was cited as the main factor.

Nissan claims the Leaf will cost around 2.5 pence per mile to run, much cheaper than a conventional hatchback which would cost in the region of 30ppm.