Sunderland’s Nissan Leaf to lead Great North Run

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THE Great North Run promises to be an electric experience, thanks to Sunderland’s Nissan plant.

Sunday’s run will be led by a Nissan Leaf, after dealership Benfield teamed up with organisers Nova International to provide a fleet of the environmentally-friendly cars to lead the pack over the Tyne Bridge, and along the 13.1 mile course to South Shields.

The 100 per cent electric Leaf emits no CO2, so the 50,000-plus runners can follow the gruelling course without breathing in any fumes.

The world’s best-selling electric vehicle has previously been used at other races in the North East, including Sunderland’s Marathon of the North, but never before for an event on this scale.

The three vehicles in use at Sunday’s race will be used as the timing car and as support vehicles.

Paul James, one of the Sunderland plant employees taking part in the race, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting such a great event like the Bupa Great North Run.

“It is fitting that the world’s biggest half marathon is led by the world’s best-selling electric car.

“I wish all my fellow runners every success in Sunday’s race.”

Nova International Managing Director Dave Newton said: “This will certainly be the greenest start ever made to the Great North Run.

“We are delighted that Benfield and Nissan have been able to provide the cars and this is a great example of working together to help improve the environment and the air quality we breathe, which is vitally important for runners and spectators.”

Benfield regional director Colin Pybus said: “This is a great opportunity to showcase the benefits of the 100 per cent electric Leaf.

“The BUPA Great North Run receives worldwide coverage and we are delighted to promote how the motor industry is changing and moving towards zero-emissions.”

Nissan Sunderland Plant will start production of the Leaf next year.