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SA’s first electric car goes on sale

Nissan Leaf hits market despite absence of government incentives.

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s first commercially available fully electric car, the Nissan Leaf, is on sale, despite the absence of government incentives.

Speaking at the official introduction of the car into the South African market at the Johannesburg International Motor Show, Mike Whitfield, managing director of Nissan South Africa, said the Leaf’s sales price of R446 000 might seem costly. However, if one includes electricity costs of about R22 500 over a six-year period and maintenance costs of R1 500, the total cost of the car over the six-year period (R470 000) compares favourably to the total cost of ownership of equivalent petrol (R484 000) or hybrid (R505 000) models over the same period, he said.

Whitfield said the vehicle’s monthly running cost of about R300 will be key to its successful introduction.

“If you look at the rising cost of fuel, it starts becoming an attractive alternative.”

Whitfield did not want to be drawn on local sales targets for the vehicles. He said the introduction of the Leaf is about launching new technology and not about numbers.

Nissan SA does not expect to sell hundreds of the vehicles; the technology is new and will take off in its own time. But the interest so far has been phenomenal, he said.

While industry commentators have emphasised that government incentives will be crucial to the successful introduction of electric vehicles in the local market, there are no such incentives available to Leaf buyers.
More moneyweb.co.za

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