When he's not offending Liverpudlians or acting as the scourge of oiks everywhere from atop his Bicycle of Justice, Boris Johnson is the Mayor of London.
And what do mayors do? They give people keys. “For your heroics and wit, I award you the key to the city”. Always at it, aren't they?
Well, the tables were turned today when somebody gave Boris a key. A set of keys, that is! To a 100% electric Nissan LEAF.
The lucky so-and-so. This is weeks before the official launch of Source London, the capital's first citywide electric vehicle membership scheme. Still. It's only his for a month.
Source London, with a thumbs-up from Boris, will deliver a network of integrated electric charging points to the city in a bid to encourage people to “go green”. They also have lofty abilities of being recognised as the “electric vehicle capital of Europe”. Bloody London. Always have to be the best, don't they?
Mayor Boris says: “Zero-emission electric cars are perfect for city driving, not only delivering cheaper day-to-day running costs for their owners, but also helping to bear down on pollution levels. With a wider range of vehicles now available, we are shifting up a gear to provide more support through Source London for the increasing numbers of people who want to drive them.
“I am pleased to accept a Nissan LEAF on Transport for London's behalf so more of our staff can experience the silent, smooth electric experience for themselves, whilst carrying out their duties. We are looking forward to Nissan becoming one of our fantastic Source London partners helping us to make electric driving an easier, more convenient choice.”
The Nissan LEAF is the first electric vehicle to ever win the title of European Car of the Year. And aren't Nissan pleased? Just listen to Paul Willcox, Nissan Motor GB's MD: “Nissan fully supports the Mayor’s agenda to promote low and zero carbon emission vehicles in the capital. Critical to the success of electric vehicles is the development of a publicly accessible charging infrastructure which is set to be delivered through Source London. These ambitious plans should see London become one of the key cities for electric vehicles across Europe and a focus of Nissan’s electric vehicle activity.”
So, why go electric? Well, according to research as commissioned by Nissan, it seems that some 80% of daily driving in Britain consists of trips of less than 30 miles. Now, the Nissan LEAF is capable of carrying five passengers approximately 110 miles on a full charge. This represents a significant development in the environmentally-friendly, cost-efficient options available to motors. Put simply, electric motors don't just save the planet. They also save you oodles of green.
A Nissan LEAF is significantly cheaper to run than a conventional family hatchback. They're saying it could be as little as 2p per mile, depending upon your electricity tariff and charging time.
Then there're the reduced servicing costs, the fact that electric vehicles are exempt from London's congestion charge, the zero road tax – it all adds up.
No wonder Boris is so keen.
UK deliveries of the Nissan LEAF begin in March.