Nissan celebrates having the world's bestselling EV by marking the 50,000-unit production milestone in the U.K.

While not as glamorous as the Tesla Model S, the Nissan Leaf is the world’s bestselling electric vehicle, and the hatchback now celebrates 50,000 of them leaving the Japanese brand’s Sunderland Plant in the U.K. The milestone marks the first time in Europe an automaker has built so many EVs and the batteries for them. The 50,000th Leaf from Sunderland was a Tekna trim example in silver, and it went to a customer in France.

The U.K factory began building the Leaf in 2013. Today, it exports them to 23 markets, mostly in Western Europe but also to Argentina, Israel, and Taiwan.

Nissan has worked to keep the Leaf fresh since its launch. One of the biggest upgrades just arrived for the 2016 model year when the company introduced a 30 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery for higher trim level models. On the European testing cycle the larger-output offers a 155-mile (250-kilometer) range, and the different evaluation from Environmental Protection Agency in the US estimates 107 miles (172 km) of driving distance.

The production milestone also happened close to the introduction of the second-generation Leaf. Nissan teased the futuristic shape as a concept at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, and Carlos Ghosn has hinted at a 249-mile (400 km) range. If accurate, that would make the new model a closer competitor to the forthcoming Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3. Look out for Nissan to unveil the next Leaf very late this year or in early 2017.

2016 Nissan Leaf introduced with larger 30 kWh battery and 250 km range

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Nissan electrifies European automotive sector with 50,000th Nissan LEAF produced in the UK

  • World’s best-selling mass-market electric vehicle achieves landmark production milestone at Nissan’s Sunderland Plant 
  • Nissan becomes the first European carmaker with integrated battery manufacturing technology to reach 50,000 total 

LONDON (UK) 10th May 2016: Three years after Nissan introduced electric vehicle and battery manufacturing to Europe, the 50,000th European-built Nissan LEAF has rolled off the production line.

Manufactured in Nissan’s flagship plant in Sunderland, UK, it is the first time a European carmaker has built 50,000 electric vehicles (EVs) and the batteries which power them – further confirmation of Nissan’s innovation and leadership in electric vehicle technology. 

The silver, Tekna grade Nissan LEAF rolled off the production line last week and is destined for a customer in France. European-built Nissan LEAFs are currently exported to 23 global markets covering Western Europe and other destinations as diverse as Argentina, Iceland, Israel and Taiwan.

Nissan LEAF and battery manufacturing was launched in the UK in 2013 by Prime Minister David Cameron and supports over 2,000 jobs at Nissan and in its UK suppliers. And 2016 is shaping up to be a landmark year for LEAF, with the extended-range 250km LEAF introduced to Europe and the announcement that Nissan’s future generation batteries are confirmed for production in Sunderland – a further £26.5m investment in the plant.

Paul Willcox, Chairman, Nissan Europe said: “What Nissan is doing today with electric vehicle technology is more advanced than any other car manufacturer.

“This milestone is another first for Nissan and for our team in Sunderland. No other brand has Nissan’s experience or expertise in both battery and vehicle production, and I’m thrilled that over 50,000 customers in Europe share our vision for a zero-emission future.”  

Five years ago, the Nissan LEAF was the first mass-market electric vehicle to go on sale and it remains the best-selling EV of all time with almost 220,000 vehicles sold worldwide. With a new 250km range Nissan LEAF 30 kWh on sale across Europe, Nissan is pioneering affordable, all-electric technology for the mass-market.

Having introduced electric vehicle production to Europe with LEAF in 2013, Nissan launched a second EV into Europe in 2014 when the e-NV200 van went into production in the Nissan’s Barcelona plant in Spain – powered by the same European-built advanced lithium-ion batteries as the LEAF.

Today, Nissan is the first manufacturer to look beyond the car and into the future with its pioneering Nissan-developed technologies - turning the LEAF into a fuel station for your house or workplace and a mobile power unit that makes Nissan customers money.

UK Transport Minister,  Andrew Jones said: “This major milestone is great news for Nissan and yet another example of Britain leading the way in developing cleaner vehicle technology, which is good for the environment and supports jobs and growth. Our goal is for nearly every car to be zero emission by 2050 and we are investing £600 million in electric vehicles to make this a reality.”

Launched in Europe earlier this year, the new Nissan LEAF 30kWh goes 26 percent further than the previous model, delivering up to 250km of driving range on a single charge, beating all of its competitors within the segment.