Nissan Motor GB will have up to 40 dealers operating as outlets for its Leaf electric vehicle by the end of November.
That number will grow to 75 next year and 120 in 2012 before the whole of the company’s 185-strong network will be expected to sell Leaf by the end of 2013.
Each will sign up to minimum investments of £20,000 to cover the supply of special equipment, tooling and training courses for staff – but the biggest single item for each outlet will be the £15,000 average cost of installing fast-charge battery charging facilities, according to marketing director Steve McLennan.
“The business plans show a reasonable payback period for each outlet and we are scaling the set-up costs to individual operations,” McLennan told AM.
“The initial outlets will not be confined to big conurbations. We are aiming for national coverage at the outset but planning our operations in the areas we think present the best opport-unities and these will include wealthy suburbs.”
He described Leaf as “a milestone model” in being the first mass production C-segment EV globally.
It enters showrooms next March, but Nissan GB has already had 150 reservations backed by £250 deposits in the two weeks since opening its order book.
UK availability for next year is 2,000 units.
McLennan added: “It is important that this new car does not dilute the performance of other models in our brand or the solid and stable performance of our dealers.
“That’s why we’re rolling out the signing up of partners progressively across the network.”
Industry forecasters believe EVs will account for up 250,000 annual registrations by 2015 and Nissan aims to be a major player in the market, he said.