Nissan has reduced the price of key Leaf models by £1,650, meaning the entry point to its well-known all-electric range is now as low as £26,346.
The price reduction comes as manufacturers gear up for an expected surge in sales of electric vehicles in 2020 amid signs of significant growth.
Although from a small base, the UK market share for pure electric cars more than doubled in the year to the end of January, and there are now long waits for some EVs.
The new price will make the Leaf more attractive to company car drivers, as it means all variants of the popular 40kWh Leaf models now lie within the sub-£30,000 P11D price bracket – offering significant tax savings to employees.
This, along with a zero per cent benefit-in-kind tax on electric vehicles due to be introduced in April next year, will make pure electric vehicles an even more attractive choice to many drivers.
Price point has been one barrier to electric cars so far, so any reductions are likely to increase sales as the UK’s electric vehicle market experiences a period of significant growth.
In the first 11 months of 2019, the market share for 100% electric vehicles more than doubled from 0.6% in 2018 to 1.5% in 2019.
This is thanks to EV registrations almost tripling, up +135.6% to almost 33,000 units.
In November alone, electric vehicles achieved a 3.0% market share, with 4,652 sold – 537 of which were the Nissan Leafs, making up 12% of EV sales, according to the manufacturer’s figures.
Waiting lists are now reportedly beginning to form for many electric cars, although Nissan says it can deliver a new Leaf in two weeks.
The Leaf has been the world’s best-selling car since it was introduced in 2010, with 440,000 sold around the globe, including 32,000 in the UK.
40kWh Leaf models are the lower-powered variants with an official range of up to 168 miles.
In 2019, a higher-powered Nissan Leaf E+ range was introduced, which can drive for up to 239 miles on a single charge.
The starting price of a Leaf 40kWh is now £26,345 for an Acenta version (including the £3,500 plug-in car grant), whilst range-topping Tekna models are from £29,345.
Nissan’s Nic Verneuil said: “Nissan is always improving the competitiveness of its vehicles, ensuring customers enjoy a better buying and ownership experience.
“We’ve not only secured additional factory production to make Leaf more accessible, but as a result we’ve also been able to significantly lower the price tag of the car in market, making it more affordable.
“If customers are ready to make the switch, they shouldn’t have to wait to get behind the wheel of an electric vehicle.”
Nissan says other benefits to driving a pure electric car are zero road tax, off-peak electricity for charging, lower maintenance costs, and free parking in some towns and cities.
There’s another benefit to Nissan’s price cut – the Leaf gets a smattering of new equipment and tech upgrades as well.
Two rear USB connections have been added to all versions. The ports are fitted to the reverse panel of the centre console to be easily accessible to rear passengers.
Standard on Tekna (and optional on N-Connecta versions), the LED fog lights have also been upgraded to include a cornering function. This works by switching on the fog lights during tight cornering to give greater visibility of the road ahead.