Foreign Secretary William Hague test-drove one of Nissan’s new Leaf electric vehicles that will be manufactured in Sunderland and go on sale in Japan in December, according to several media reports. After a brief drive in the Embassy grounds, Hague said he was impressed with the “very comfortable” car.
Nissan Executive Director Andy Palmer, who accompanied him, said that Hague had asked about the Leaf’s European sales strategy, and said he supported the development of a zero-emission vehicle.
The Leaf is the world’s first affordable, mass produced zero emission car. The Sun, a British tabloid, noted on 28 July that the UK government will offer subsidies of up to 25% (for a maximum £5,000) from January 2011 to buyers of ultra-low carbon hybrids, thereby cutting the Leaf’s cost to £23,350. The car runs for about 112km on a full battery and costs around 3p per 1.6km to operate.