Spring brings the first green Leaf to the North East’s roads

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A DURHAM firm has become one of the first businesses in the country to go green with the new Nissan Leaf.

Deliveries of the first 100 per cent electric affordable family car – which will be built on Wearside from 2013 – began yesterday.

The first Nissan LEAF is collected by Tony Whittaker from Durham-based Cleaner Air Solutions Ltd, from Benfield Motor Group MD Nigel McMinn (left).

The first Nissan LEAF is collected by Tony Whittaker from Durham-based Cleaner Air Solutions Ltd, from Benfield Motor Group MD Nigel McMinn (left).

Tony Whittaker, sales director at Cleaner Air Solutions, took delivery of the first of five Leafs the company is buying from the Benfield Motor Group dealership in Newcastle.

Kevin Fitzpatrick, Vice-President Manufacturing at Nissan’s Sunderland Plant, was on hand to witness the handover of the first Leaf in the North East.

“The Leaf is pioneering the electric car revolution in the UK,” he said.

“Since we first unveiled the car in August 2009, we’ve been building up to this historic moment for over 18 months.

“Today’s deliveries mark the beginning of Leaf’s introduction to customers across the country as our network of Electric Vehicle dealers will deliver to their first customers later this week.”

Tony Whittaker added: “We’re very excited about the arrival of the Nissan Leaf.

“Our existing fleet is made of LPG-converted vehicles, as well as some hybrid vehicles, so the move to all electric was an obvious choice.

“The range, performance and running costs of the Leaf is exactly what we we’re looking for in a new fleet vehicle.”

Benfield Motor Group managing director Nigel McMinn said the Leaf had struck a real chord with customers.

“As a North East-based family business, we are honoured to be at the forefront of the electric car revolution and this historic occasion.”

He added: “Demand for the Leaf is already very high and there is no doubt this car is going to revolutionise driving in the UK.

“Benfield are absolutely delighted to have been chosen as one of Nissan’s first ever electric vehicle specialists.”