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Nissan Leaf

Nissan sells 15,000th Leaf EV in UK, gives £500 off

Nissan LeafNissan is marking the sale of 15,000 Leaf electric cars in the UK with a £500 bonus saving for customers in September.

The deal is on top of Nissan’s finance deal, which offers a 24kWh Leaf Acenta for £249 a month on a three-year PCP. Nissan contributes a hefty £5,000 towards the deposit and the APR is a reasonable 5.9%.

If that’s not enough, Nissan includes a free home charging kit as well, worth another £390. No wonder it’s clocked up 15,000 sales…

The buyer of the 15,000th Leaf was Jenny Craik, who swapped her regular-fuel 14-plate Ford Fiesta for a Leaf EV. Her husband already drives a plug-in hybrid and she says his positive words, combined with the environmental and running-cost savings, encouraged her to switch.

Nissan hit 15,000 UK Leaf sales just 12 months after reaching the 10,000 mark. The firm says demand for the Leaf in the UK is higher now than at any point in the three years since its launch.

The news of the 15,000th UK Leaf comes as Renault reveals it has now sold 100,000 electric cars, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance announces its 350,000th sale.

However, the Leaf now won’t now be getting an impressive-sounding new rival from Vauxhall here in the UK. Vauxhall’s parent firm, General Motors, has regrettably decided not to engineer the new Ampera-e – which boasts an official NEDC electric driving range of more than 250 miles – for right-hand drive.

Nissan-Leaf-Uber

Uber trials fleet of all-electric Nissan Leafs in London

Nissan-Leaf-Uber

Car-hailing service Uber and Nissan are to embark on a ‘new, major electric vehicle project’ that involves a fleet of Nissan Leaf EVs in the nation’s capital.

Nissan has supplied 20 all-electric Nissan Leafs to Uber for use as part of an extensive EV trial. It’s the first time pure EVs have been available for hire through the Uber app in London. To-date, the greenest cars on the Uber fleet have been hybrid vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius.

Run in partnership with the Energy Saving Trust (EST), the study will look at the feasibility of running large numbers of electric private hire cars in the UK, with one eye on the introduction of the capital’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone in 2020. Around 60% of Uber journeys are made in hybrid vehicles, but the company is keen to go further.

Jo Bertram, regional general manager of Uber in the UK, said: “People already associate Uber with hybrid cars, but we now want to go a big step further with fully electric cars on the road from today.

“We are determined to use technology to help tackle the challenge of air pollution in London and across the UK. Our car-sharing service has already saved 1.2 million miles and 211 metric tonnes of CO2. With electric vehicles – and more people sharing their journey and leaving their own cars at home – there’s even more we can do.”

Nissan recently introduced a new 30 kWh battery for the Leaf that delivers 26% more range versus the previous-generation model: up to 155 miles of driving on a single charge. The average London commute is 7.9 miles, which means a 30 kWh Leaf could tackle a number of journeys before it would need to be recharged.

Gareth Dunsmore, head of electric vehicles at Nissan Europe, said: “We are delighted to be working closely with Uber on what is a very exciting project that could ultimately lead to major improvements in air quality in London and across the UK.

“With the impact of poor air quality remaining a cause for concern, the trial could prove to be a pivotal moment for tackling the challenges in London.”

This isn’t the first time a cab firm has taken a drive down electric avenue. Earlier this year, Nissan supplied a fleet of 110 Nissan Leafs to La Ciudad del Taxi, a Madrid-based taxi company. At the time, Nissan claimed it was “the world’s largest 100% electric taxi fleet deal”, going on to say it has sold almost 800 EVs to taxi operators across Europe.

Qash converter: Nissan creates world's largest 3D pen sculture

Qash converter: Nissan creates world’s largest 3D pen sculpture

Qash converter: Nissan creates world's largest 3D pen scultureWe quite like the Qashqai, but we’d never call Nissan’s high-riding hatchback a work of art… until now.

Artists have created the world’s largest 3D pen sculpture: a full-size replica of the new Qashqai Black Edition. The car was ‘drawn’ using advanced 3Doodler pens and consists of more than 8.6 miles of plastic strands.

Pens are the latest tech from the 3D printing industry – expected to be worth £13 billion by 2020. They work by heating plastic to 230°C, then squeezing it through a 0.7mm nozzle as it cools. As such, they allow three-dimensional shapes to be drawn in the air.

Definitely not mass-producedQash converter: Nissan creates world's largest 3D pen sculture

Led by artist Grace Du Prez, the Qashqai sculpture took more than 800 man-hours to create. Compare that to the 58 Qashqais that emerge from Nissan’s Sunderland factory every hour.

Grace Du Prez said: “I’ve been drawing with 3Doodler’s pens for a few years now, but this is by far and away my most ambitious commission to date. It demonstrates how far 3D printing technology has come and how it can be used by anyone.”

Koji Nagano, Vice President, Nissan Design Europe, commented: “At Nissan we always encourage initiatives where design can be expressed through new and innovative technologies. This artistic team have certainly pushed the boundaries of 3D pen technology in creating an impressive sculpture of our premium Qashqai Black Edition.”

Paint it blackQash converter: Nissan creates world's largest 3D pen sculture

As for the real Nissan Qashqai Black Edition, that’s on sale now. Based on flagship Tekna model, it gets 19-inch alloys, a few subtle styling tweaks and the option of a panoramic glass sunroof. Can we have ours with a 3D-printed spoiler on the back? No, thought not…

Qash converter: Nissan creates world's largest 3D pen sculture

Qash converter: Nissan creates world's largest 3D pen sculpture

Qash converter: Nissan creates world's largest 3D pen scultureWe quite like the Qashqai, but we’d never call Nissan’s high-riding hatchback a work of art… until now.

Artists have created the world’s largest 3D pen sculpture: a full-size replica of the new Qashqai Black Edition. The car was ‘drawn’ using advanced 3Doodler pens and consists of more than 8.6 miles of plastic strands.

Pens are the latest tech from the 3D printing industry – expected to be worth £13 billion by 2020. They work by heating plastic to 230°C, then squeezing it through a 0.7mm nozzle as it cools. As such, they allow three-dimensional shapes to be drawn in the air.

Definitely not mass-producedQash converter: Nissan creates world's largest 3D pen sculture

Led by artist Grace Du Prez, the Qashqai sculpture took more than 800 man-hours to create. Compare that to the 58 Qashqais that emerge from Nissan’s Sunderland factory every hour.

Grace Du Prez said: “I’ve been drawing with 3Doodler’s pens for a few years now, but this is by far and away my most ambitious commission to date. It demonstrates how far 3D printing technology has come and how it can be used by anyone.”

Koji Nagano, Vice President, Nissan Design Europe, commented: “At Nissan we always encourage initiatives where design can be expressed through new and innovative technologies. This artistic team have certainly pushed the boundaries of 3D pen technology in creating an impressive sculpture of our premium Qashqai Black Edition.”

Paint it blackQash converter: Nissan creates world's largest 3D pen sculture

As for the real Nissan Qashqai Black Edition, that’s on sale now. Based on flagship Tekna model, it gets 19-inch alloys, a few subtle styling tweaks and the option of a panoramic glass sunroof. Can we have ours with a 3D-printed spoiler on the back? No, thought not…

Nissan joins Star Wars Rogue One promotional campaign

Nissan joins Star Wars Rogue One promotional campaign

Nissan joins Star Wars Rogue One promotional campaign

Disney’s first Star Wars spin-off, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is due out in December – and the marketing machine is in full force, announcing that Nissan will be joining the promotional campaign on the run-up to its release.

Nissan USA joins four other companies, consisting of Duracell, General Mills, Gillette and Verizon in promoting the film, which is the first standalone Star Wars story from George Lucas’ production company, Lucasfilm.

It’s not exactly clear how Nissan will be part of the promotional campaign but the Japanese manufacturer does sell a crossover called the Rogue in the States: it is a version of Nissan X-Trail adapted to North American market

Although the Rogue name isn’t used in Europe, Lucasfilms has said the promotional campaign will be used globally. Could we see Darth Vader in a Nissan X-Trail?

Lucasfilm general manager, Lynwen Brennan, said: “We are extremely pleased to be working with such a remarkable group of promotional partners for ‘Rogue One’.

“This first in a series of Star Wars standalone films represents an exciting new era for both Star Wars and Lucasfilm, and the partners joining us on this exciting journey have each designed a stellar campaign capturing the spirit and camaraderie of ‘Rogue One.'”

The production company says the five companies are “poised to complement the tempo and tone of the overall marketing campaign” of Rogue One.

Nissan BladeGlider

The BladeGlider is the ‘electric vehicle for car-lovers’

Nissan BladeGliderThe BladeGlider is Nissan’s vision of an electric future with a name that sounds like it’s ready to do battle in the new series of Robot Wars. It’s being unveiled in Rio de Janeiro, which just happens to be hosting a major sporting tournament, of which Nissan is a key sponsor. We cut to the chase to bring you more on the Nissan BladeGlider.

A working prototypeNissan BladeGlider

If the BladeGlider looks familiar, it’s because it’s based on the concept cars first shown at the 2013 Tokyo Auto Show. This new 2016 version looks a whole lot closer to production reality, although for the time being Nissan is keen to stress it’s a “working prototype”.

An electric vehicle for car-loversNissan BladeGlider

Note the narrow front leading to a wider rear track, which is said to improve aerodynamics and handling stability. According to Nissan supremo, Carlos Ghosn, the BladeGlider is an “electric vehicle for car-lovers”, which could be dismissed as a throwaway statement. That is until you take a look at the key specifications…

A massive 521 lb ft of torqueNissan BladeGlider

How does a top speed of 115 mph and a 0-62 mph time of sub five seconds grab you? And because the BladeGlider is 100% electric, the entire 268 hp and 521 lb ft of torque is available from the moment you hit the ‘go’ pedal. Well you can’t call it the ‘gas’ pedal. Or the ‘loud’ pedal, for that matter.

With a little help from WilliamsNissan BladeGlider

The rear wheels are powered by two electric motors – one for each wheel – with British-based Williams Advanced Engineering lending a hand with the development of the powertrain. The motors are fed by a five-module lithium-ion 220 kW battery, with a bespoke cooling system developed to, well, keep things cool.

Drift mode, yoNissan BladeGlider

That things about ‘car-lovers’ – the BladeGlider features a drift mode. Yes, you heard that right: somebody has taken a look at the Ford Focus RS and thought, anything you can do, we can do silently. Aside from the tyre screeches. And the inevitable screams from your two passengers.

An electric McLaren F1?Nissan BladeGlider

Oh yes, about that. Nissan has taken a look at another car with performance pedigree to design a three-seat cockpit. Bringing to mind images of the McLaren F1, the driver sits at the front of the BladeGlider, with each passenger sat behind in an off-set position, well placed to enjoy that drift mode.

Torque vectoringNissan BladeGlider

The drift mode is part of a torque vectoring system, which automatically sends more torque to the outside wheel to correct any brown-trouser moments. There are three settings: Off, Agile and Drift. Last time we checked, drift mode wasn’t available on the Nissan Leaf.

Look-at-me doorsNissan BladeGlider

Once you’ve climbed aboard, having opened those ‘look at me’ rear-hinged dihedral doors, you’ll look up to discover an open roof with integrated roll-over protection, designed to provide “the exhilaration of an open-topped race car with the safety of a coupe”.

Doors mirrors removed to improve aerodynamicsNissan BladeGlider

The seats themselves feature four-point safety harnesses, while the central display is flanked by a pair of screens, showing the view from the rear-view cameras mounted just behind the front wheels. Because door mirrors are like so last century.

Fabric and epoxy resinNissan BladeGlider

To make sure your bottom stays in place when hurtling toward the horizon, or indeed doing a great impression of an electric RS, the seats are trimmed in a blend of fabric and epoxy resin, resulting in a tough and grippy surface. The more you look at the BladeGlider, the closer it looks to reality.

Cyber Green and Stealth OrangeNissan BladeGlider

There are two colours available – Cyber Green and Stealth Orange, and we’d like to say you can place an order at your local Nissan dealer. But you can’t, not now at least.

A zero-emission futureNissan BladeGlider

According to Carlos Ghosn, “These prototypes epitomise Nissan’s drive to expand its intelligent mobility philosophy, where driving pleasure combines with environmental responsibility. Nissan believes that enthusiasts should look forward to a zero-emission future.” We’ll all raise a glass of water to that.

Two BladeGliders in RioNissan BladeGlider

Two BladeGliders will be on display in Rio de Janeiro, one of which will be offering dynamic rides to media and VIPs. Can we look forward to the sight of Gabby Logan drifting in a BladeGlider, with Dan Walker and Hazel Irvine sat in the back? Here’s hoping.

Badger your local dealerNissan BladeGlider

If you like the look of the car that has the appearance of something an eco-conscious Pink Panther would drive, start badgering your Nissan dealer. Or tweet one of the Olympic athletes and ask them to take a test drive for you. On your marks…

There could be more electric car chargers than petrol stations by 2020

There could be more electric car chargers than petrol stations by 2020

There could be more electric car chargers than petrol stations by 2020

The number of electric car charging points in the UK could exceed the amount of petrol stations within the next four years.

That’s according to research from Nissan, which revealed there were just 8,472 fuel stations in the UK at the end of 2015 – compared to 37,539 in 1970.

If that rate of decline continues, there’ll be fewer than 7,870 petrol stations in the UK by 2020.

Public electric car chargers, meanwhile, are multiplying – with 7,900 expected by 2020.

As electric cars increase in popularity, the number of chargers available for the public to use are increasing rapidly – from a few hundred as recently as five years ago, compared to more than 4,100 today.

Nissan’s EV manager, Edward Jones, said: “As electric vehicle sales take off, the charging infrastructure is keeping pace and paving the way for convenient all-electric driving. Combine that with constant improvements in our battery performance and we believe the tipping point for mass EV uptake is upon us.

“As with similar breakthrough technologies, the adoption of electric vehicles should follow an ‘S-curve’ of demand. A gradual uptake from early adopters accelerates to a groundswell of consumers buying electric vehicles just as they would any other powertrain.”

Last month, we reported that EV chargers were about to overtake petrol stations in Scotland – with more than 550 charging points across the country, compared to fewer than 700 independent petrol stations.


Opinion

I’ve spent a couple of months with the Motoring Research long-term Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, and using the charging network has been a real eye-opener.

While using a public charger (often enjoying free parking in a convenient location at the same time) is so much nicer than visiting a petrol station, it’s far from being perfect.

For a start, the Government really needs to step in and regulate public charge points. They’re operated by so many different companies in different areas, actually having the correct card to use is a lottery. I’ve got around this to some extent by using Chargemaster’s Polar Plus card, at a cost of £7.85 a month (after a six-month free trial). But there are still points out there that I can’t use – annoying in a PHEV, potentially day-ruining in a fully-electric car.

The monopoly of motorway service station chargers is owned by Ecotricity. The green energy company has shown its true colours recently by hitting EV drivers with an excessive £6 fee for 30 minutes charging. Moves like that makes running electric cars almost as expensive as petrol cars – take away the incentives, and that ‘tipping point’ Nissan talks about is a long way off.

Andrew Brady


Nissan points out that the electric car charger to petrol station ratio is particularly high in London, where only four conventional fuel stations remain within the congestion charge zone. One of the country’s oldest petrol stations, the Bloomsbury Service Station, opened in 1926 and was closed in 2008.

The joint Government and car industry campaign for alternatively-fuelled vehicles, Go Ultra Low, reports that more than 115 electric cars were registered every day in the first quarter of 2016, equivalent to one every 13 minutes.

It claims electric power could be the dominant form of propulsion for all new cars sold in the UK as early as 2027 – with more than 1.3m electric cars registered each year.

Gold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

Gold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

Gold metal: the cars of the Olympic GamesTo celebrate the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, we take a look back at 60 years of official cars and Olympic specials. And we promise not to mention Duran Duran, while avoiding any half-baked references to driving in the sand. On your marques…

We start with the Summer Games, before switching to the cars of the Winter Games.

Rio 2016: NissanGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

Nissan is supplying 4,200 vehicles to ‘meet the day-to-day mobility’ of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Among the vehicles will be more than 200 of the Nissan Kicks crossover – the official vehicle of the Games. There’s no word on whether or not the Kicks will be sold in the UK.

Rio 2016: NissanGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

Alongside the Kick, Nissan will also supply a fleet including the March (Micra), Versa, Sentra, Altima and Frontier. Francois Dossa, president of Nissan Brazil, said: “The fleet delivery is an important moment for us because this directly involves our vehicles, most of which were produced in Brazil”.

Rio 2016: Nissan Golf LeafGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

Meanwhile, back in Blighty, Sir Chris Hoy unveiled a gold Nissan Leaf at the Lee Valley Velopark in Stratford. All Nissan-sponsored athletes who win a gold medal at the Rio Games will also win a special gold-wrapped Leaf to mark their achievement. Ambassadors include Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Max Whitlock, David Weir CBE and Richard Whitehead MBE.

London 2012: BMWGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

In 2012, James Bond and the Queen jumped from a helicopter, Great Britain won a few gold medals and London hosted the 2012 Olympic Games. As the main automotive sponsor, BMW supplied a fleet of more than 4,000 vehicles, 1,550 of which were 320d saloons.

London 2012: BMWGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

BMW supplied 10 X5s for towing duties, 700 5 Series for transfer duties, MINI Cooper Ds for on-demand taxi work and a number of MINI E electric cars. BMW paid £50m to be among the top sponsors, but later told Marketing: “It’s a one-off, but it [the sponsorship] is a long-term commitment to sport”.

London 2012: MINIGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

BMW’s sponsorship of London 2012 ensured we were treated to the sight of remote-controlled ¼-scale MINIs busying themselves with the collection of javelins, hammers, shots and discuses. The so-called ‘Mini MINIS’ stole the show and created a real buzz on social media.

London 2012: VolvoGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

Volvo wasn’t an official automotive sponsor at London 2012, but its sponsorship of the Team Volvo sailing team ensured it received its fair share of exposure. And it didn’t spend £50m for the privilege.

International Olympic Committee: AudiGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

In 2013, Audi became the official vehicle supplier for the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As part of the agreement, which expires at the end of 2016, Audi has supplied more than 40 vehicles to the IOC headquarters and Olympic Museum in Lausanne. We could say it’s the most famous four rings supporting the most famous five. But we won’t.

Beijing 2008: VolkswagenGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

Volkswagen didn’t do Beijing 2008 by half. As a main sponsor, Volkswagen supplied about 6,000 vehicles, including 4,350 VWs, 650 Skodas and 1,000 Audis. Fast forward eight years and although Volkswagen isn’t involved with Rio 2016, golf is. It’s the first time golf has been played at an Olympic Games since 1904.

Athens 2004: HyundaiGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

Meet Phevos and Athena: the official mascots of Athens 2004, symbolising the link between Ancient Greece and the modern Olympic Games. They’re flanking Tucson: the ancient Greek god of five-year warranties. Meanwhile, the Hyundai Getz was the official car of Athens 2004.

Sydney 2000: HoldenGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

Holden launched a range of Olympic Edition vehicles to mark its role as official vehicle supplier at Sydney 2000. A suitably Australian car was used to carry the Olympic torch for the Australian leg of the torch relay: a Holden VT Commodore. Strewth, mate.

Atlanta 1996: Buick Regal Olympic EditionGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

Team USA dominated their home games at Atlanta 1996, topping the medal table with 44 gold, 32 silver and 25 bronze. The motivating factor was the thought of the Buick Regal Olympic Edition, with the obligatory gold accents on the wheels and trim, along with USA badges. What you can’t see are the USA badge and Olympic rings on the head restraints.

Atlanta 1996: Buick Skylark Olympic EditionGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

In fairness, the third generation Buick Regal has aged rather well, making the final model year Olympic Edition quite a desirable thing. Its sibling, the Skylark Olympic Edition, hasn’t aged quite so gracefully. Sadly, despite appearances, the flags weren’t attached to the car. That would have been quite a look, if a little tricky to manoeuvre at the drive-through.

Barcelona 1992: SEATGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

The SEAT Ibiza was the official car of the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. This was the Games at which a Unified Team – consisting of 12 former Soviet republics – topped the medal table. Great Britain’s Linford Christie took gold in the 100m, despite SEAT’s best efforts to obstruct him by placing a Toledo (pictured) on the track.

Barcelona 1992: Steve BackleyGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

The thought of a SEAT Toledo waiting for him back home wasn’t enough motivation for Steve Backley to take gold in the Javelin. That said, he did manage to grab a bronze medal. We’re not sure that javelin will fit in the boot, Steve.

Seoul 1988: Hyundai Stellar Gold MedalGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

This is the Hyundai Stellar Gold Medal special edition – a car launched to mark the Hyundai Stellar’s role as the official car of the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games. The Stellar is a rare best in the UK, with reportedly fewer than 10 left on the road.

Los Angeles 1984: Buick Century OlympiaGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

“Few of us can be Olympians, but some of us can own the car that captures the winning spirit of America’s contenders – the special edition 1984 Buick Century Olympia”. With ad copy like that, how could anyone resist the temptation of a “gleaming white” Buick? Gold accents, Olympic logos on the head restraints and the ability to stand out in suburbia came as standard.

Photo shows a non-Olympic Buick Century.

Moscow 1980: RAF-2907Gold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

Riga Autobus Factory (RAF) built vans and minibuses for Soviet state enterprises. This is a RAF-2907, a minibus based on the RAF-2203 and used throughout the Moscow 1980 Olympic Games. Approximately 300 were built, including one specially modified to carry the Olympic Flame.

Montreal 1976: Chevrolet C10 Olympic EditionGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

Montreal probably wishes it never hosted the 1976 Olympic Games, as it left the city with crippling debt, a construction nightmare and a string of corruption charges. The event itself was overshadowed by 22 African nations boycotting the Games. The Chevrolet C10 Olympic Edition was a little less controversial.

Munich 1972: BMW 1602eGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

BMW launched the 1602e to coincide with the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. It was used as a camera car and to transport members of the Olympic organising committee.

Munich 1972: BMW 1602eGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

By BMW’s own admission, its 350kg 12v lead-acid battery and range of approximately 35 miles meant that the 1602e was not designed for series production. But it hinted at a cleaner future.

Mexico 1968: Datsun Bluebird 1300Gold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

The Datsun Bluebird 1300 was the official vehicle for the Japanese team at the Mexico 1968 Olympic Games. This example was autographed by the entire team on the last day. Good luck getting your local bodyshop to respray a damaged front wing.

Tokyo 1964: Nissan Cedric SpecialGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

This rather intimidating car was Japan’s first domestic large vehicle and could easily pass as something driven by a Bond villain. It’s a 1964 Nissan Cedric Special – the car given the responsibility of carrying the Olympic torch at the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games.

Rome 1960: Fiat Multipla 600Gold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

So very Italian! The Fiat Multipla 600 made its debut in 1960 when Fiat supplied a fleet of cars to athletes and officials at the Rome 1960 Olympic Games. If that isn’t Italian enough, Fiat also supplied a fleet of 500s and Lambrettas.

That’s the Summer Games covered, next we wrap up warm to tackle the Winter Games.

Sochi 2014: Volkswagen GroupGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

Moving on to the Winter Games, the Volkswagen Group supplied 3,100 fleet vehicles to the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee. The highlight was the beefed-up Volkswagen Amarok, built to take nine people on the longest off-road journey through a single country. The Amarok Polar Editions secured a Guinness World Record for the gruelling 9,942-mile trek.

Vancouver 2010: General MotorsGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

General Motors supplied 4,600 Olympic-branded vehicles for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games, the vast majority of which were sold off after the event’s conclusion. According to GM, the vehicles were “possibly the best Olympic souvenir of all”, although we’d prefer a gold medal.

Turin 2006: Fiat SediciGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

The Fiat Sedici was the official car of the Turin 2006 Winter Games – an event that coincided with the launch of the 4×4. The car was co-developed by Fiat and Suzuki, with the design handled by Giorgetto Giugiaro. Sedici is Italian for Sixteen: 4×4=16. Geddit?

Turin 2006: Italdesign StructuraGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

The Structura was built to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Italdesign Giugiaro, but was also the official car for Turin’s bid for the 2006 Winter Olympic Games. The Structura’s doors were side-hinged, without any central pillar, while the car also featured a flat floor. Most sensational of all was the 5.6-litre W12 engine, which, metaphorically speaking, added 420hp to Turin’s bid.

Salt Lake City 2002: Chevrolet AvalancheGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

GM supplied a Chevrolet Avalanche to transport the Olympic flame during the torch relay prior to the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Winter Games. The relay covered 13,500 miles and passed through 46 states on its way to the Olympic Stadium.

Albertville 1992: RenaultGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

In 1992, Renault lent 1,500 cars to the Olympic Organisation Committee as part of the company’s sponsorship of the Albertville 1992 Olympic Winter Games. The cars were suitably white.

Albertville 1992: RenaultGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

To mark the occasion, Renault launched a range of limited edition Olympic 92 cars, including a Clio, 21, Espace, 25, 19 and A610. Note the Jeep Cherokee Olympic 92 – Renault didn’t have a 4×4 of its own.

Calgary 1988: General MotorsGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

Here’s GM once again, this time supplying cars for the Calgary 1988 Olympic Winter Games. Under the banner of ‘Join Us’, General Motors delivered a range of limited vehicles.

Sarajevo 1984: Citroen and MitsubishiGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

Mitsubishi was the official car supplier at the Sarajevo 1984 Winter Olympic Games, with the likes of the Galant, Pajero and Space Wagon used to transport athletes and officials. Cimos supplied the official emergency vehicles, which were based on the Citroen CX Ambulance (pictured).

Lake Placid 1980: Ford and Subaru (US team)Gold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

The Lake Placid Olympic Organising Committee was given a fleet of 130 Ford vehicles, while the United States skiing team rolled around in four-wheel-drive Subarus.

Innsbruck 1976: Denzel and Mercedes-BenzGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

Wolfgang Denzel, a former racing driver, was also the owner and creator of Denzel – an Austrian car company. At the Innsbruck 1976 Winter Olympic Games, Wolfgang Denzel AG supplied 210 BMW, Volvo and DAF cars, while Mercedes-Benz supplied the official fleet of buses and taxis.

Grenoble 1968: RenaultGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

Renault supplied a huge amount of cars for its home Games at Grenoble in 1968. In addition to the Renault 4 (pictured), the French giant laid on Renault 16 hatchbacks and Estafette vans.

Squaw Valley 1960: Renault DauphineGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

“Why was La Renault Dauphine chosen as the official car of the Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley? Because La Dauphine is the best car for winter driving! Terrific traction on snow and ice, quick starting in the cold, toasty warm dual-outlet heater”. If that sounds suspiciously like an advertisement, it’s because it is. At the time, the Dauphine was the only small-cylinder car to win the Monte Carlo rally.

Melbourne 1956: FiatGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

Here’s Fiat once again, this time way back in 1956 at the Winter Olympic Games in Melbourne. The Italian firm was named as the official car supplier of the Games.

Rover 45 Olympic ImpressionGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

Of course, not all Olympic cars are ‘official cars’ of the actual Games. Take the Rover 25 and 45 Olympic Impression, for example. The cars featured ‘Team GB’ and ‘Impression’ livery, with early customers qualifying for a free ‘Active bag’, whatever that is.

Rover Streetwise OlympicGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

Another patriotic homegrown car, this time in the form of the Rover Streetwise Olympic SE. The car was launched in 2004, with each one finished in light blue and riding on 17-inch alloy wheels.

Buick Regal Olympic EditionGold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

And here’s yet another Buick Olympic special, this time in the form of the Regal Olympic Edition. Built to commemorate Buick’s support for Team USA at the 2004 Sydney Olympic Games, the Regal joined other Olympic specials, such as the 1984 Century Olympia, 1988 LeSabre Olympia and 1989 Olympic Regal.

Nissan March Rio 2016Gold metal: the cars of the Olympic Games

Bringing us right up to date is the Nissan March Rio 2016. Limited to 1,000 models, the March (Micra) features details in ‘Hot Orange’ – a colour that “represents the fun, heat, energy and boldness exhibited by Olympic athletes”. At least that’s what it says here.

Nissan gold LEAF Sir Chris Hoy

Nissan Olympic stars can win a gold Leaf

Nissan gold LEAF Sir Chris HoyNissan is offering each of its Olympic ambassadors the opportunity to win a gold-wrapped Leaf EV. All they have to do is… win a gold medal at the Rio Olympics.

The prize athletics competition has been launched by Sir Chris Hoy, himself a Nissan ambassador who knows a thing or two about winning Olympic golds: he has six of them (plus a silver).

Speaking at the launch of the competition at the Lee Valley Velopark (where he himself won a few of his own golds), Sir Chris said “it would be fantastic to hand over one of these special gold Nissan Leafs on their return”.

Nissan gold LEAF Sir Chris Hoy

Nissan’s athletes include heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson, gymnast Max Whitlock, David Weir CBE and Richard Whitehead MBE: “Nissan is fully behind all of the GB athletes heading to Rio,” said Nissan GB marketing director Chris Marsh, “but will of course be keeping a close eye out for those we have individually supported over the course of the Games’ cycle on their road to Rio 2016.”

To remind everyone of the prize its athletes are in the running for, Nissan will be displaying a gold Leaf at the Nissan Innovation Station at The O2 in London throughout the whole Games period.

There’s just one line in the small print Nissan’s Olympians need to be aware of though: it’s only one Nissan LEAF per Nissan gold medal winner, regardless of how many gold medals they actually win.

Sir Chris himself, of course, won a total of thee gold medals at the 2008 Olympics alone. Maybe Nissan is mindful of this…

Nissan athletes who could win a gold Nissan Leaf

Team GB

  • Katarina Johnson-Thompson – Heptathlon
  • Liam Phillips – BMX Racing
  • Max Whitlock – Gymnastics
  • Becky James – Track cycling
  • Kat Copeland MBE – Rowing
  • Lynsey Sharp – 800m
  • George Nash – Rowing
  • Laura Weightman – 1500m
  • Eilish McColgan – 5000m
  • Ciara Horne – Cycling

ParalympicsGB

  • Richard Whitehead MBE– Athletics (T42)
  • David Weir CBE – Wheelchair Racing (T54)
  • David Stone – Cycling (T1-2)
  • Amy Marren – Swimming (S9)
  • Matt Wylie – Swimming (S9)
  • Melissa Reid – Para-Triathlon (pt5)
Spanish man buys Nissan X-Trail on Twitter

Spanish man buys Nissan X-Trail on Twitter

Spanish man buys Nissan X-Trail on Twitter

A car buyer in Spain is thought to have become the first person to complete a car purchase using social media – without seeing the car or visiting a dealership before collection day.

Raul Escolano, also known as Twitter user @escolano, courted a number of car companies through the social media platform using the hashtag #compraruncocheportwitter (in English, ‘buy a car on Twitter’).

Nissan dealer Antamotor in A Coruña approached Escolano via Twitter, and used live video platform Periscope to give him a personalised walk-through of the X-Trail.

The man then asked his Twitter followers which car he should buy, with 43% of respondents voting for the X-Trail in the Twitter poll. He stuck with the results, and bought the X-Trail online.

The transaction was completed by a courier delivering the keys to his new X-Trail to Escolano’s door, before he visited the manufacturer’s Spanish headquarters to collect the car. This was the first face-to-face interaction Nissan had with the customer since he first expressed an interest two months earlier.