While in May the news of 100,000 plug-in vehicles of all types sold in America made the rounds, today the Renault-Nissan Alliance announced that as a single company it had crossed the 100,000 milestone globally with pure electric cars.

For all the promise of a few other makers of electric cars, when it comes to mainstream vehicles, Renault-Nissan does stand heads above – a fact it is more than happy to point out in case there were any doubt.

“The age of the mainstream zero-emission vehicle is here,” said Renault-Nissan Alliance Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn. “We expect demand to keep growing as the charging infrastructure develops – and we remain 100-percent committed to zero-emission technology for the long term.”

Of the breakdown of models, 71,000 were Nissan Leafs, and the 100,000th was a Leaf fittingly enough as well.

Beyond that a collection of Renaults rounded out the remaining 30 percent. These include its first model, the Kangoo Z.E. van, which began sales late in 2011, as well as the Fluence Z.E. sedan; the two-seat commuter vehicle Twizy; and the subcompact ZOE, launched earlier this year.

Collectively, the all-electric vehicles have accumulated 522 million miles (841 million km), which the company says is enough to circle the earth 20,000 times. They also saved 14 million gallons (53 million liters) of oil from being burned, and prevented 273 million pounds (124 million kg) of CO2 from being emitted.


Nissan’s first Leaf was sold in December 2010 to Olivier Chalouhi, an engineer residing in the Silicon Valley of California.

Leaf number 100,000 was just acquired by another American, Allison Howard (pictured), who is a graduate student at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta

“It just drives perfectly. It’s so cool. I love it!” said Howard.

Changing Attitudes

Nissan says of global Leaf buyers that 80 percent exchange vehicles from another brand which makes the Leaf one of the most successful conquest vehicles.

The majority of these buyers also reportedly use their cars for daily driving needs thus opting out of the population of those yet reliant upon regular petroleum consumption.

Nissan’s top market is narrowly the U.S. with 30,000 units sold. Japan follows with 28,000, and Europe has seen 12,000 Leaf units delivered.

Hot spots include regions in the U.S. and Norway.

The Leaf ranks in the top 10 among most-sold vehicles in San Francisco, Seattle and Honolulu. And it holds this top-10 distinction in the entire (small) country of Norway, thanks to some serious perks including exemption from value added tax (VAT) and road tolls, as well as access to bus lanes and free parking.

More than 4,600 people have bought the Leaf in Norway since 2011. That may not sound like a lot, but – while we’re playing trivial pursuit here – Norway’s population is just 4.96 million people.

If a similar phenomenon on a percentage basis were to have happened in the U.S. with its 316.3 million people, we’d have seen in excess of around 293,400 Leafs sold in the U.S. since 2011.