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Nissan Leaf hits the 50K mark, becomes world's most popular electric car

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Gary Cameron/Reuters/File

(Read caption) A 2013 all electric Nissan Leaf on display at the Washington Auto show earlier this month. Leaf sales surpassed the 50,000 mark, making the vehicle the most popular all-electric in history.

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Nissan's Leaf electric car has become the highest-selling electric car of all time.

The company has now sold more than 50,000 examples of the Leaf, sold across Japan, Europe and the U.S.

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Since the car went on sale in 2010, those 50,000 Leaf owners have racked up over 161 million miles. In reality, that figure is probably even higher--Nissan can only monitor those Leafs equipped with the Carwings telemetry system, and not every owner has registered.

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Naturally, that's higher than the 100 million electric miles covered by Chevy Volt drivers, whose electric range is smaller--but together, owners of the two cars have racked up significantly more than quarter of a billion electric miles.

Throw in Teslas, the Mitsubishi i, and other plug-in hybrids and battery electric cars on sale today in the U.S. and elsewhere, and that figure could be over half a billion miles.

Just consider for a moment how much gas that's saved in just two or three years of sales--not to mention the lack of tailpipe emissions.

Individual Leaf owners are certainly racking up the miles too, with one Spanish owner having clocked up almost 27,000 miles in one year alone. One Japanese owner has driven almost 109,000 miles in total in his Leaf--the highest Nissan is aware of.

Despite some issues with battery degredation in hotter areas of Arizona and elsewhere, Nissan says the Leaf has the company's highest customer satisfation rating, beating all its other models. Over 95 percent of Leaf drivers are satisfied with their cars.

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That also echoes findings with the Chevy Volt, which has topped several customer satisfacation surveys in its limited time on sale. It seems that electric vehicles are comfortably matching the expectations of owners.