Yes you read it right, earlier this month we learned that a number of grey market vehicle importers had obtained approval to import later model Nissan LEAFs and the e-NV200 van/people mover.
Historically, Australian (grey market) vehicle importers have concentrated on such iconic and typically powerful vehicles such as the R34 Skyline GTR which were never officially imported into Australia. More recently the focus has been specialised people movers like the Nissan Elgrand. However, a small number of grey market importers such as Sydney City Traders, Japan Imports, Queensland and Import Revolution of Bayswater have now recognised the demand for more electric vehicle choice and have been so bold as to do something about it.
Gen2 Nissan LEAF
So what does this mean in terms of choice for Australian EV buyers? Well for a start it gives Aussies the option for GEN2 Nissan LEAF. The GEN2 LEAF is typically blessed with a 6.6kw on board charger which means twice as fast AC charging compared to the original 2012 model.
Better still, the GEN2 LEAF means the 30Kwh battery is available which makes for a real world 170Km range.
The improvements and accessibility of the Gen 2 LEAF, which will be priced at under $30k, may make a compelling argument for those on the fence who may be considering making the move to electric.
The e-NV200 is a people mover or van which Nissan Australia first looked to officially import back in 2013 but for some reason decided against it. We know that many private and fleet buyers have been aware of the vehicle and there has been pent up demand for the body style.
Based upon the LEAF's running gear and with up to 8 seats, the e-NV200 offers a spacious and practical option. There's currently nothing else like it on the market and we know of the first few to land in Australia found buyers within days of being put up for sale.
2012 Nissan LEAFs from $15k?
I guess this is possibly the biggest prediction and best news of all.
First generation Nissan LEAFs are readily available in RHD overseas markets, especially in Japan and the UK, which makes them relatively easy and cheap for importers to buy and bring in. This will undoubtedly increase local supply and put downward pressure on local prices.
In turn, we're likely to see more families take interest in a car that costs very little to run and doesn't have any of the DSG / Powershift headaches of 5 year old VW Golfs and Ford Focuses. All that will serve to increase awareness and acceptability of EVs within Australia.
Forget the Model 3 as the Model T of the EV world. Look to the 2012 LEAF for making EVs mainstream!
In coming months, expect to see other Aussie Unicorn vehicles such as the Kia Soul EV and cut price BMW i3s arrive on our shores!
All while existing official importers such as Nissan, Hyundai and Kia wait for subsidies from a reluctant coal loving government.