Do you want to rock down to Electric Avenue? Trial drivers sought to sample the Sunderland-built Nissan Leaf

A view showing a Nissan Leaf electric car being polished at the Nissan Plant, Sunderland.
A view showing a Nissan Leaf electric car being polished at the Nissan Plant, Sunderland.
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DRIVERS can now lease a Washington-built Nissan Leaf at a knock-down price as part of a study into the impact of electric cars on the power grid.

The car firm and Wearside-based Zero Carbon Futures have joined forces for the £9million My Electric Avenue project to assess the impact of electric vehicles on power networks.

Almost 2,000 people registered for the project’s technical trials in their first six months, and the communities chosen to host pilot projects were Chiswick in London, Marlow in Buckinghamshire, Chineham and Whiteley in Hampshire, South Gosforth in Newcastle, Wylam in Northumberland and, closer to home, South Shields.

Now the scheme has a second allocation of Leafs up for grabs as part of its social trials programme.

The trial will see individuals or groups able to lease a Leaf at a discounted rate for two years, and there is no requirement to have technology installed at home.

Places on the trials are limited, and cars will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

Stewart Reid, a spokesman for Southern Electricity Power Distribution Networks, the firm leading the scheme, said: “We want to deliver the best service possible to all our customers.

“That is why this trial is so important as we move towards the low-carbon future.

“The knowledge gained from My Electric Avenue will be shared among network operators, the Government, the energy industry, the low-carbon vehicle sector and the general public.”

The technical trial programme is using a new system developed by Cheshire-based EA Technology to monitor and control the electricity used when a car is charged.

Olivier Paturet, manager of Nissan Europe’s zero-emission strategy, said: “The bottom-up approach to customer engagement has proved particularly impressive, and is reaping great results.

“The fact that in October, the Nissan Leaf was the best selling car in Norway just shows the power of proactive initiatives like My Electric Avenue throughout Europe in maintaining Nissan’s leadership role in zero-emission mobility.”

For details, go to myelectricavenue.info.