The scheme – similar to Peugeot’s Mu concept which allows owners to chop and change their cars depending on their needs – didn’t get the green light because the manufacturer has moved away from rental cars.
However, Nissan’s EV product manager David Jackson said there was no reason why dealers couldn’t set up their own similar scheme to entice more buyers to switch to electric motoring.
‘We are clear that the LEAF is for certain types of owners who make suitable journeys,’ explained Jackson. ‘That being said some 95 per cent of UK daily travel is less than 25 miles and the average journey is 8.5 miles, so we know the LEAF’s 100 mile-range is suitable for many drivers.
‘We did consider a concept that would allow drivers to hire conventional cars when needed as part of their lease of a Leaf but we didn’t go ahead with it. However there is no reason why dealers can’t do their own scheme.’
LEAF buyers are steered towards PCP schemes when they buy their cars – effectively renting it for three years for £399 per month and handing it back at the end.
There’s no reason dealers can’t offer the option of using a Juke or Micra to LEAF owners for the occasions they do need to make a longer trip. Dealers could charge a little more per month for the privilege, opening up the EV car to more potential buyers.
‘Dealers are independent businesses and there’s no reason why they couldn’t set up a scheme like that,’ added Jackson.
Nissan has 600 pre-orders for the LEAF – which costs just £2 to ‘fill up’ – and expects to sell 1,000 this year. However, the maker understands it won’t suit everyone and is being very careful that the car suits owners.