Nissan Leaf is sold out until March

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Nissan has already sold out the initial production run of its electric car, the Leaf.

Any customers wanting to get their hands on the car, which will cost £23,350 after the government's £5,000 low-emission subsidy has been applied, will now have to wait until April at the very earliest, with Nissan having already taken 1,000 orders in Europe.

Nissan's European marketing director Simon Thomas reckons that his job will be easy over the next couple of years. "I don't think we will have to promote the Leaf to generate demand for three years at least," he said.

"Between now and then (three years time) it is about managing customer expectations. We hope that Leaf will do the same thing for Nissan's brand as the Prius did for Toyota. The task is not to sell the Leaf necessarily."

For those customers that do chose to buy one though, there will be an easier and more reassuring method to do so as Nissan will be offering a Personal Contract Plan to private customers. Buy guaranteeing to buy the Leaf back after three years, Nissan hopes to take away some of the fear involved with investing in new technology.

This will also have the added benefit of lowering the monthly payments needed to buy a Leaf. Although the future values have not been finalised yet so Nissan can calculate the rates, it is expected that they will be comparative to a similarly priced Qashqai at about £400 per month.

The costs are not likely to include the price of a home-charging 16A unit though, which Nissan recommends using instead of the standard 13A three-pin plug. The purchase and installation of such a unit can be organised through the manufacturer and is expected to cost "less than £1,000." It would lower the charging time to full capacity from 10 to eight hours.