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Nissan sets up electric car hub

Nissan has become an official automotive partner with The O2 stadium in London and will be opening a brand centre there to act as a hub for its electric vehicle (EV) activities from July.

The three-year deal will see extensive branding throughout the 20-acre site and the brand centre will showcase Nissan’s Leaf EV with interactive programmes designed to attract customers.

The Leaf goes on sale in the UK in March and while Nissan has said it will be the first “affordable mass produced EV”, details on pricing and how the car will be sold are still to be decided.

How EVs are sold has opened up a can of worms over how residual values are calculated.

CAP believes it would be impossible to attribute any residual value to a vehicle which could in theory lack the means to operate.

CAP says that in order to forecast residuals an electric vehicle must have European Type Approval and the battery must be owned, not leased separately.

Nissan, Peugeot, Citroën and Renault are all still deciding whether to lease the battery or to include it in the car price.

The cost of a battery included dramatically increases the price of the car overall, arguably pushing the cost beyond affordable, even with a £5,000 government subsidy.

Mark Norman, CAP operational development manager, said: “Manufacturers would love cradle-to-the- grave control over their product and owning the means to give a car power gives them that.

“We’re not coming up with excuses not to give residual values to EVs, but there are so many factors that come in to play.

“Things will change as the market gets more sophisticated, but leasing a battery is a step too far at the moment.”

The Leaf is priced at about £27,000 in Japan and if similar pricing was adopted by Nissan GB, government subsidies would drop the cost to around £22,000 – not much more than a well-specified diesel hatchback.

This contrasts with Mitsubishi which is including the cost of the battery with the car, putting prices at £38,699 before subsidies when it launches in 2011.

Norman said: “The best thing for a battery is a slow trickle charge so depending on how a battery has been charged over time will affect the life and value when it is resold.”

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