Nissan, Toyota and Mitsubishi aim to make EVs everyman's choice
The race for the EV market is hotting up with major manufacturers launching a new generation of more affordable models. Nissan has just stolen a march on rivals by winning the European Car of the Year title for 2011 with its LEAF (banner image), an all-electric hatchback that will go on sale in the UK in March.
The LEAF will cost around £28,000, but in the UK purchasers will qualify for government aid. Sales of EVs in the UK have plummeted in recent years – only 55 were registered in 2009 – but from January UK buyers will be eligible to up to £5,000 from the government.
And the focus was on EVs at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show, where a number of major manufacturers unveiled all-electric models, including Toyota and Mitsubishi. The Obama administration is also supporting EVs, and buyers in the US qualify for a tax credit.
Toyota has updated its RAV4 EV, a small four wheel drive. In its first incarnation between 1998 and 2003, only around 1,500 were sold, but Toyota is counting on better sales when the new version goes onto the US market in 2012.
The Mitsubishi i-MiEV is an all-electric micro car that has sold well in Japan. The company plans to begin selling it in the US by the end of the year and in the UK and Europe from mid-2011.
- Julian Rollins
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