Renault-Nissan Alliance sells 100,000th electric car

A Nissan LEAF bought earlier this month in Atlanta, Ga., became the 100,000th zero-emissions car sold by the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

The two companies announced Wednesday that they have sold more zero-emissions cars than all other automakers combined, led by the LEAF and Renault's electric offerings: the Fluence saloon, Kangoo van, Twizy quadricycle and the recently released ZOE supermini.

Electric cars from Renault and Nissan have driven approximately 523 million miles -- enough to circle the earth more than 20,000 times. Together, they represent 14 million gallons of oil saved and 136,600 tons of CO2 not emitted.

The take-up of electric cars has been slower than some analysts anticipated, but Alliance chairman and chief executive Carlos Ghosn predicts a bright future for the technology.

"The age of the mainstream zero-emission vehicle is here," he said in a statement. "We expect demand to keep growing as the charging infrastructure develops -- and we remain 100 percent committed to zero-emission technology for the long term."

Worldwide, more than 71,000 Nissan LEAFs have been sold since the car was first released in December 2010 and, according to Nissan, the all-electric car has replaced the majority of customers' conventional cars for daily use.

The U.S. leads the market with 30,000 LEAFs sold, with the car in the top 10 vehicles sold in San Francisco, Seattle and Honolulu.

Japan has racked up 28,000 sales, while in Europe, where the car was released later, 12,000 have been sold.

The LEAF also has made great strides in Norway where 4,600 have been sold, making it Nissan's top-selling vehicle in the country. Uptake has been boosted in many countries by exemptions for electric vehicles (EVs) from VAT and road tolls, as well as other incentives such as access to bus lanes and free parking.

Renault, meanwhile, has sold 30,000 electric vehicles since it launched the Z.E. zero-emissions range in late 2011, and leads the electric vehicle market in Europe with a 61 percent market share.

The two-seater Twizy is its best-selling model, with 11,000 units sold since it went on sale in early 2012. The ZOE is the latest to join the range, debuting in Europe in March, and since has gone on to sell around 5,000 units. U.K. sales started in June.

Rival manufacturers are expected to launch competing electric models over the coming year, including BMW's i3, set to hit UK show rooms in November, and the arrival of Tesla's up-market Model S on this side of the Atlantic.

This article originally appeared at BusinessGreen.com.

Nissan Leaf image CC licensed by timescan/Flickr