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Nissan Leaf news - Leaf springs - 2010

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So the big news today, especially if you live in the Northeast, build cars for a living and are willing to spend over the odds to save the planet, is that Nissan is going to assemble its Leaf electric car in Sunderland. This means more jobs and lots more investment from the Japanese firm in a part of the country that hasn’t exactly been having a brilliant time of it of late.

But what does it mean for Average Us? The Leaf is important. It’s a full electric vehicle, but also a proper five-seat hatchback, not a Noddy car with a stereo. (Yes, G-wiz, we’re talking to you.)

It’ll be quite expensive though, even with a proposed government subsidy to recoup some of your initial outlay, and there’s still the factor of range. Unable to do more than approximately 100 miles, and taking a long old while to recharge at the precious few places where you will be able to plug it in, the Leaf is going to be more lifestyle choice than practical motoring solution for a while yet.

But this is a big moment nevertheless. If everybody’s second car was electric, and all city cars the same, the polar bears would be taking over in no time.

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