(Bloomberg) -- Global sales of Renault-Nissan's battery-powered vehicles rose 2.5 percent to a record 84,754 last year even though there was a slowdown in demand for the Nissan Leaf, the world’s best-selling electric vehicle, the alliance partners said in a statement.
Sales of Nissan EVs, which include the Leaf and e-NV200 van, declined 9.8 percent last year, a drop that was offset by a 45 percent rise in Renault EV sales, including the Zoe subcompact hatchback and Kangoo Z.E. van.
The Leaf is the world's best-selling EV, with more than 201,000 vehicles sold since it launched in 2010, the statement said. In total, all-time EV sales by the alliance were 302,000 at the end of 2015.
Renault's sales were also boosted by an incentive scheme launched by the French government in April offering a 10,000 euro ($11,000) rebate to drivers trading in diesel-powered cars older than 14 years, a Renault spokeswoman said.
A second spokeswoman said Nissan's sales were down ahead of the launch of the new 2016 Leaf and that Renault benefited from "robust" sales of the Zoe and Kangoo Z.E.
Short battery range
Many drivers may be turning away from the Leaf because it has a shorter battery range than some of the newer models coming to market, such as General Motors' Chevrolet Bolt, said Colin McKerracher, an analyst for Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
"A lot of buyers are waiting for the newest round of larger-range vehicles to come out," he said. "Nissan has announced a larger battery pack version of the Leaf, and we think that will help boost sales, but the market is much more competitive than when the Leaf first launched."
Renault's Zoe has a 160km (100 mile) range compared to the Leaf's 120km (75 mile) range.
The new Leaf launching this year will have a 30 kilowatt-hour battery pack to boost the range by 20 percent on the previous 24 kilowatt-hour model.