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Car that costs €232 a year to run

THE future of green motoring is here and it's yours for a deposit of €232 -- the exact price it costs to run for a whole year.

The Nissan Leaf, the world's first mass-produced electric car, has no oil, no petrol tank, no transmission and, most importantly, no exhaust pipe which means no emissions.

It is run on 100pc electricity so you can charge up while you sleep, shop or tap away at the office while bragging about your green credentials.

The Leaf is also the first real five-seater family hatch-back powered by lithium-ion batteries. The lightweight powerpack has a realistic range of about 160km -- which should be plenty for most near city dwellers who do a short commute to work.

Buyers who put down their deposit now will take delivery of their new cars in February.

Unlike some hybrids -- which offer stop/start technology (the petrol engine cuts off and is powered by electricity on take-off) -- this has zero emissions, which is the Holy Grail for the eco warriors and qualifies for a €5,000 reduction in VRT. It sits in the lowest Road Tax band at €104 per year.

Nissan chiefs estimate that 90pc of charging will be done from your home while you sleep, and at night-time electricity rates, they say it could amount to less than €2 for a full charge.

To prove that this project is not just pie in the sky, the first 2,000 customers will get the "green carpet" treatment and have the ESB come out and install charging points in their home or apartment. ESB has also committed to 1,500 charging points around the country with a promise of at least one every 60km on all national routes.

For those not convinced by the eight-hour charging, the car is also fitted with a quick charge which will give 80pc battery capacity in just half an hour. These quick charge points are to be located sporadically around the city -- mainly at petrol stations or central points.

So, it may cost just two quid a day to run, but what's the purchase price? Well, you won't have any change out of €30,000.

For details contact Hutton & Meade Nissan or www. nissan.ie or go to http://www. youtube.com/huttonmeade.