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Despite the current first-generation model not being a sales hit here, the new 2018 Nissan Leaf will come to Australia after its global debut next year.

Along with Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV, Nissan arguably pioneered the electric vehicle movement in Australia with the the Leaf – and it still remains the best-selling electric vehicle here, by volume.

The model nonetheless ended up losing Nissan Australia money; there are even some 2012-plated Nissan Leafs still available for sale as demonstrator vehicles with under 100km on the odometer.

Despite this, Nissan Australia has committed to offering the next generation of Nissan Leaf locally, which is expected to debut globally next year and be available in Australia soon after.

Richard Emery

This week, at the local launch of the updated Navara SII and Pathfinder models, CarAdvice spoke with Nissan Australia boss Richard Emery about the Leaf and its significance to the Australian market.

“It’s certainly our intention [to offer the new Leaf locally]. We put Leaf out there at launch – in an environment where it wasn’t a mainstream decision to buy an electric vehicle – and it remains Australia’s best selling electric car over the past few years,” Emery said.

“We remain committed to it, irrespective from a market penetration of electric cars, we certainly will be with new Leaf when the time comes, when it rolls out in right-hand drive. Timing is still to be determined on a global scale, but Nissan Australia will remain at the forefront of electric vehicles.”

nissan-leaf-interior

Emery said Nissan Australia has invested a lot in promoting electric vehicles. Emery says that the plan is to continue pushing electric vehicles to maintain that position.

“The new car will get public exposure next year, but timing for Australia is yet to be decided. There’s a place for Leaf to stay in the electric business, for sure,” said Emery.

“If we were to walk away and not take the new car when it arrives, it’d be disingenuous, but I think from our perspective we see it as a key platform, even if the volume may not make sense.

“We’ve invested a lot of emotional capital in Leaf and we didn’t make any money, in fact we lost money. I wouldn’t want to waste that investment.”

With a new model not too far away, do you think the Leaf has the goods to reignite interest in Nissan’s city electric vehicle?

MORE: Emery on dealing with govt over future auto tech: “amateur hour”
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