French carmaker Renault and its Japanese partner
Nissan announced Tuesday that they had sold 100,000 electric
vehicles, more than all other carmakers combined.
Over 71,000 people worldwide have purchased a Nissan Leaf, a 100-per-cent electric, five-door hatchback, the alliance said in a statement.
Renault meanwhile had sold about 30,000 electric vehicles, between the Kangoo Z.E. van, the two-seat Twizy, the Zoe supermini and the Fluence Z.E. sedan.
The 100,000th customer was an American graduate student who bought a Leaf for her commute to college in Atlanta, Georgia.
The United States was the top market for the Leaf, which is the world's best-selling electric car.
"The age of the mainstream zero-emission vehicle is here," Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn, who chairs the alliance said in a statement. "We expect demand to keep growing as the charging infrastructure develops - and we remain 100 per cent committed to zero-emission technology for the long term."
Renault has invested more in electric car technology than any other manufacturer but consumers have been skittish about the models, put off by the limited battery life of the vehicles and the shortage of recharging points.
The French government, which offers rebates on the purchase of electric and hybrid vehicles, is pressing local authorities to build more charging stations.
Renault and Nissan entered a strategic alliance in 1999. Under the pact, Renault owns 43 per cent of Nissan, which in turn holds 15 per cent of Renault shares.
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