Wessam Issa, the CEO of Bustami and Saheb, dealer of Leaf Electric Car

Going Electric

Jordan’s Nissan dealership will soon start selling the Leaf electric car in the Kingdom.

By Dina Al Wakeel

After years of only being available to buy on the grey market, Nissan has finally decided to start selling its affordable electric car, the Leaf, in Jordan.

Wessam Issa, the CEO of Bustami and Saheb, Nissan’s official dealer in the Kingdom, believes he’s got a hit on his hands.

How economic is the Leaf compared to regular cars?

We found the owner of a car with a 2.0-liter petrol engine travelling 20,000 kilometers per year will spend JD2,320 on fuel. For the same distance using a Leaf, they would pay JD220. In the Leaf, maintenance costs are also cheaper; it has no oil, no engine, and no filters. Additionally, here there is no customs on electric cars, zero taxes on its parts as well.

How much do replacement batteries cost?

A brand new battery costs between JD7,000 to JD8,000.

Where do the Leafs that are currently on our roads come from?

People are importing cars from abroad without customers knowing their state or condition. So it’s like a watermelon, sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s bad. Also, in the United States, the Leaf plugs into a 110 volt socket. But here, it’s 220 volts, so an adaptor is needed. But is it being done properly? We don’t know. We don’t even know if the electricity is working properly in these cars. That’s why we have taken the responsibility to inspect them. We also provide a warrantee after checking them.

Bustami and Saheb sold the first leaf deal in the Middle East, which was made up of 30 cars, for Tawseela to Eid Abu al-Haj in cooperation with GAM and in the presence of HM King Abdullah. The second batch will be 70 units to the same company and is expected to take place in the coming two months. Many procedures need to be done before we start selling the car, like making sure that the infrastructure is ready which we are doing now, also that we sell the new generation which is coming out in a couple of months.

What about the availability of charging points?

There are three types of charging. One is to charge at home over night. Type two charging is an affordable unit you install in your garage that costs approximately JD600, and charges a Leaf fully in four hours. Type three, which shouldn’t only be available in gas stations because that is an old way of thinking, is a quick charger that takes 20 minutes to charge. Manaseer started installing these costly charging points.

How do you envision the future of electric cars in Jordan?

I see a big growth for EVs in Jordan, which is not an oil producing country. Electric cars make sense financially and environmentally. They’re also good for companies that have fleets that cost them lots of money to maintain.

The hybrid cars were only a transition period between regular and fully electric cars. All the new investments are in EV. In Jordan we still want the government to push for more regulations for imported cars, we don’t want to see any problems happening to people due to battery issues. Our plan is to invest more in the infrastructure and to serve Leaf owners regardless if they bought it from us or somewhere else.