50K electric Leafs built by Nissan in UK image

Three years after Nissan started to build its electric Leaf in Europe, the 50, 000th model has rolled off the production line in Sunderland.

Nissan and its alliance partner Renault took by storm the European EV market with their Leaf and Zoe models, together accounting for more than a third of the total electrical sales in the region last year. The Japanese automaker brought Leaf’s production to the continent in 2013 at its manufacturing facility in Sunderland, UK, and it has built 50,000 units since then. A silver Tekna grade Leaf rolled off the production line last week, ordered by a customer in France. Nissan also makes in UK lithium-ion batteries that power its electric models, the e-NV200 van included, being one of three battery production sites globally.

The Leaf, introduced in Japan and the United States in December 2010, became the first modern all-electric, zero tailpipe emission five door family hatchback to be produced for the mass market from a major manufacturer. It has been sold in more than 220,000 units so far worldwide, nearly 44,000 units in 2015, around 16,000 of which were in Europe.

Nissan officially introduced the 2016 model year Leaf back in September, which brought a larger battery to significantly improve its range. The “green” car received a 30 kWh battery pack, compared to the previous one which had 24 kWh, thus extending its “mileage” by approximately 25 percent, meaning that Leaf can now travel for up to 250 km before running out of electricity.