Nissan celebrates world EV day with landmark Leaf delivery

Australian casting plant contributes to Nissan Leaf’s global success

There’s a little bit of Australia in every Nissan Leaf, the landmark battery electric vehicle which this week marked its 500,000th delivery in celebration of World EV Day.

The Leaf, which was the world’s first mass-market electric vehicle (EV) when it launched in 2010, has been in the vanguard of the world’s shift to alternative propulsion, with the 500,000th car delivered recently to a customer in Norway. 

The new owner may not know it, but beneath the skin of their shiny new EV are Australian-made components, sourced from Nissan Australia’s casting plant in suburban Melbourne. 

The Nissan Australia Casting Plant (NCAP) produces 2.5 million metal casting per year, including critical components to support Nissan’s global EV production requirements. 

Featuring the distinctive kangaroo insignia on each part, the Dandenong South facility delivers a range of aluminium die-cast components for every Nissan Leaf produced worldwide, including the model’s stator housing.

In total, Nissan estimates its global fleet of Leaf EVs has covered more than 14.8 billion clean-air kilometres since 2010, helping prevent more than 2.4 billion kilograms of CO2 emissions.

“Consumers have seen what cleaner air and reduced noise pollution feel like during (COVID-19) lockdowns,” Nissan Europe head of electric passenger cars and infrastructure Helen Perry said.

“Now more than ever, they’re looking to take positive steps towards a more sustainable future and the Nissan LEAF contributes to this effort.”

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), the peak body of the Australian automotive industry, joined Nissan and other vehicle manufacturers to mark World EV Day, describing it as “an event which celebrates the dominant vehicle technology of the future.”

In Australia, despite a near 30% downturn in new vehicle sales compared to 2019, combined sales of all electric vehicles types, including hybrids, are up 90%  year-to-date versus 2019, for a total of 38,390 low emission vehicle sales. 

That total includes full electric, petrol-electric hybrids and plug-in hybrids, of which hybrids are still the dominant powertrain, with most of those sales being Toyotas.   

August 2020 was the first time a petrol-electric hybrid – the Toyota RAV4 – was the number one new vehicle sold over any month in Australia’s motoring history. A total of 4,825 Toyota RAV4s were purchased throughout the month, with nine out of 10 buyers choosing the hybrid powertrain over petrol-only models.

A statement from Toyota said the company had recently set a new record for annual hybrid sales, reaching 33,462 vehicles to the end of August, or 26.6%  of the brand's total sales. The previous full-year record was 27,846 hybrid vehicles sold by Toyota last year.

Identifying Australia’s best-selling pure electric car is made difficult by the fact Tesla, which is widely regarded as the market leader in EV sales, does not share its sales results. But of the 1064 EVs we do have sales data for, the Nissan Leaf accounts for almost a quarter.     

FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber said the industry hopes the first World EV Day will be remembered as a turning point for electric vehicles in this country.

In July, the FCAI announced a new industry-led reporting system, the FCAI CO2 Emissions Standard, which sets out industry and brand CO2 emissions reduction targets at 2030. 

“The inaugural World EV Day comes at a watershed moment for Australia’s e-mobility,” Mr Weber said.

“Business reports have suggested nearly 60%  of Australians are considering an EV for their next vehicle. We are seeing the development of vital EV infrastructure and a rapid increase in acceptance of non-combustion driven powertrains.

“The key to more EVs on our roads is making those vehicles m¬¬ore appealing to Australian drivers and the FCAI CO2 Emissions Standard creates an incentive for manufacturers to ensure their most advanced EV technology is available Down Under. We’re already seeing the impact. The World’s best electrified vehicles are making their way here, and people are buying them.”