Nissan LEAF leads UK electric vehicle sales in first six months

Vauxhall Ampera gaining ground following May launch

By Farah Alkhalisi on July 6, 2012 11:40 AM

Nissan has sold 343 Nissan LEAF electric cars in the UK in the first six months of 2012, according to the latest figures from the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders).

In second place in the sales chart – despite only going on sale in May – is the Vauxhall Ampera extended range electric car with 230 registrations, though only 31 Chevrolet Volts (essentially the same car) have so far been sold.

The third-placed EV, confounding the critics who thought it would never find a place in rainy Britain, is the open-sided Renault Twizy two-seater with 158 sales. Launched in mid-April, the Twizy has already been delivered to businesses and tourist enterprises in particular, and Renault says it is experiencing much interest from fleets.

Behind it in the sales chart is the more practical Kangoo Z.E. with 102 sales, though Renault has sold only 58 Fluence Z.E. saloons via its network of 22 ‘Z.E. Expert’ dealers since it went on sale in March.

Having initially made an impact with early-adopters in 2011, sales of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV (86), Peugeot iOn (38) and Citroen C-Zero (20) appear to be slowing down as newer alternatives come on to the market.

These sales numbers are, of course, tiny in the context of a total UK car market of 1,052,188 vehicles sold year-to-date. Remember, however, that many of the abovementioned vehicles have only very recently gone on sale – and that these figures are well on track to beat the humble 1,082 sales recorded last year, not to mention a very significant rise from the low base of 138 in 2010. Steeper sales growth is also expected once the Renault Zoe supermini goes on sale later this year.

Nissan LEAF 343 2011
Vauxhall Ampera 230 May 2012
Renault Twizy 158 April 2012
Renault Kangoo Z.E. 102 2011
Mitsubishi i-MiEV 86 2011
Renault Fluence Z.E. 58 March 2012
Peugeot iOn 38 2011
Chevrolet Volt 31 May 2012
Citroen C-Zero 20 2011

* Sold via 22 ‘Z.E. Expert’ dealers

The SMMT creates a monthly overview of electric vehicle sales but only releases registrations of each individual EV on a quarterly basis. The next scheduled breakdown is due in September.

In the USA, meanwhile, the Chevrolet Volt is leading the EV table: GM sold 1,760 in June alone, and has delivered 8,817 in the first six months of the year. The Volt overtook the LEAF (535 sold last month, 3,148 so far in 2012) though Nissan expects LEAF sales to pick up once domestic production starts in Tennessee.