The first Nissan Leaf electric car was delivered five years ago this month, in December 2010.

Over the five years since then, the Leaf has become by far the best-selling electric car in history.

In January 2016, Nissan plans to solidify that claim by achieving an important milestone.

DON'T MISS: First 2011 Nissan Leaf Delivery, To Northern Californian Buyer (Dec 2010)

It expects the 200,000th Leaf to be delivered by then.

Nissan says the U.S. currently accounts for the single largest Leaf market, with more than 90,000 cars sold here so far.

It's followed by Japan--where about 50,000 cars have been sold--and Europe, with around 40,000 sales.

First 2011 Nissan Leaf delivered to buyer, San Francisco, Dec 2010, photo by Eugene Lee

First 2011 Nissan Leaf delivered to buyer, San Francisco, Dec 2010, photo by Eugene Lee

Achieving 200,000 sales will put the Leaf well ahead of other electric cars.

The Chevrolet Volt--which launched around the same time as the Leaf--and the Tesla Model S are likely now approaching 100,000 sales each.

And a slew of other electric cars sell in smaller volumes yet.

ALSO SEE: Four Years And 70,000 Miles Later, 2011 Nissan Leaf Going Strong

Nissan says Leaf drivers have collectively covered more than 1.2 billion miles in the past five years, averting an estimated 328,482 tons of carbon emissions.

The Leaf launch has been accompanied by a push for public CHAdeMO DC fast-charging stations, which help make driving a Leaf more convenient by providing an 80-percent recharge in roughly half an hour.

There are now about 10,000 of these stations available to Leaf drivers worldwide, according to Nissan.

2016 Nissan Leaf

2016 Nissan Leaf

It claims Japan has the largest CHAdeMO network, with 6,000 stations spread throughout the country.

As well as the Leaf, Nissan sells the e-NV200 electric van in Europe and Japan, and its partner Renault sells three different electric cars as well.

And now that the Leaf has cemented its status as a bestseller, attention is turning to an all-new, second-generation model.

MORE: Nissan's 60-kWh, 200-Mile Battery Pack: What We Know So Far

The new Leaf--which could arrive in 2017 as a 2018 model--is expected to match the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV and the future Tesla Model 3 with a 200-mile range.

For now, though, the 2016 Leaf gets an optional 30-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, boosting range from the standard 84 miles to 107 miles.

Base Leaf S models continue with the previous 24-kWh pack.


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