The Renault-Nissan Alliance has predicted that, by 2020, 10 per cent of global car sales will be electric vehicles.

We’ve been hearing about the rise of the electric car for decades, so it’s easy to be cynical.

However, I’ve just spent a short spell with one of the final prototypes of next year’s Nissan Leaf electric car and it’s clear this is a very serious machine.

The Leaf is pretty much based on the Megane-sized Tiida, although the platform has been heavily modified. The Leaf’s floorpan pressing has been re-worked so its can accommodate Nissan’s own design of compact battery packs. This means the interior and luggage space of the Leaf are completely uncompromised.

The car’s drivetrain couldn’t be more straightforward: an electric motor (good for 80Kw (107bhp) and 206lb ft of torque) drives the front wheels through a single-speed transmission. It should travel 140km (87 miles) on a single charge.