LeasePlan has confirmed it will carry the full residual value risk on the 100 Nissan Leaf electric cars that it will lease to fleets from April next year.
The lease giant – number two in the FN50 – agreed to buy the full quota from Nissan so it could gain first-hand experience of how electric vehicles will be used by fleets.
The move makes it the first leasing company to offer the Leaf in Europe.
However, the 100 cars will be split across LeasePlan’s European operations, so only a limited number will be available in the UK.
LeasePlan will not set a monthly lease rate, which will include the battery, until the first quarter of next year. But its UK managing director, David Brennan, told Fleet News that contracts will be for on one, two or three-years at “competitive” rates.
“It will be an all-inclusive monthly rental rate,” he said. “And we will make it commercially attractive.”
Last month CAP set RVs for the Leaf (Fleet News Sept 30), predicting it will retain 40% of its pre-subsidy list price at three years and 30,000 miles.
It said that with the Government grant of up to £5,000, which comes into force at the start of 2011 and the tax advantages of running an electric car – both for the employee and employer, the Leaf “will prove a financially competitive choice for forward-thinking fleets”.
The prediction that the car will only cover 10,000 miles a year matches trials by Mini, which found that fleets using its electric car were only using it for short journeys – typically under five miles at a time.
This sits well with Brennan’s expectations that the car will be chosen by user chooser perk drivers rather than job-need drivers.
Such drivers may well only use the car only for commuting, thus benefitting from zero fuel charges – if they recharge at work – and zero benefit-in-kind tax.
Brennan says the project will allow LeasePlan to build its reputation as the country’s ‘greenest lease company’.