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GoAuto to trial Leaf

Charged: GoAuto will take part in a Victorian government trial of Nissan Leaf electric vehicles.

Nissan delivers 16 Leafs for Victorian government EV fleet trial including GoAuto

Nissan logo5 Jul 2011

By MIKE COSTELLO

GOAUTO will be part of a Victorian government trial of Leaf electric vehicles ahead of the ground-breaking Nissan EV’s release next April.

Nissan used Melbourne’s Australian International Motor Show opening on Friday to present 16 Leaf EVs to the Victorian government as part of a five-year real-time infrastructure evaluation by 180 households throughout the state.

The trial will last for three months per household and will also include the experience of a motoring journalist to help provide further critical assessment of the EV, as well as its operation and compatibility with recharging infrastructure.

A Victorian government representative drew the name of GoAuto contributor Byron Mathioudakis from a bowl at the AIMS press day to decide the automotive journalist representative for the trial.

According to the Nissan Australia, the journalist will “become an official part of the government’s multi-year EV evaluation program looking at driver behaviour and opinions of a diverse charging network and gathering information on what types of charging infrastructure are needed in which locations.

“Ultimately the exercise is for Victoria to better understand the process, timelines and barriers for transitioning to EV technologies.

“The trial administrators will provide the vehicle charging point and pay for insurance the household will pay the cost of electricity. The Victorian government is attempting to find out how, where, why and when trial participants drive the vehicle - and what they think.”

The Leaf trial will begin months before the model officially goes on sale in Australia during the first half of 2012.

Apart from revealing a facelifted Murano crossover ahead of its release in September (see separate story), Nissan also used the Melbourne show to present its next-generation Patrol SUV, which made its Australian debuted at the 2010 AIMS in Sydney and goes on sale here next year.

Also on show in Melbourne were examples of the latest Micra, ageing Tiida, Dualis, X-Trail and Navara, but there was no sign of the Japanese maker’s Infiniti luxury brand slated for launch in 2012 – or of Nissan’s long-awaited commercial vehicles, which the company says will help it achieve a 10 per cent market share in Australia by the end of next year.

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