Nissan Leaf Debuts in U.S. at $32,780

Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA) says that the 2011 Nissan LEAF electric vehicle on sale in December starts at $32,780 MSRP before a $7,500 federal tax credit, plus taxes, title and license fees. A Leaf lease starts at $349 per month. The pure electric vehicle requires a charging dock, which Nissan says will cost another $2,200 on average, and require eight hours to fully recharge Leaf’s 48 lithium ion battery modules. 

Large Federal taxpayer subsidies drop price to $25,280. Lease at $349 a month.

There are also other potential subsidies for the mid-size with what is claimed to be a 100-mile range. There is $5,000 statewide tax rebate in California; a $5,000 tax credit in Georgia; a $1,500 tax credit in Oregon; and carpool-lane access in some states, including California. The charging dock and installation are eligible for a 50% federal tax credit up to $2,000.

Leaf will be at Nissan dealers in select markets this December and rollout nationwide in 2011. Leaf is powered by laminated lithium-ion batteries, which generate power output of more than 90 kW and 24 kW hours of capacity – roughly $24,000 worth of batteries at current prices. Its electric motor delivers 80 kW/280 Nm.

Nissan hopes this pricing will make EVs more than the limited volume technical curiosities theory are today. However, the small car faces stiff competition from larger and technically advanced hybrid vehicles, as well as simpler economy cars in the $10,000 to $17,000 range, including Nissan’s own Versa and Sentra models.

“Imagine the possibility of never needing to go to a gas station again. Or of paying less than $3 for 100 miles behind the wheel, said Brian Carolin, senior vice president, Sales and Marketing, NNA.

The Leaf prices are for the SV trim level model, which includes a navigation system and Internet/smart phone connectivity to the vehicle, enabling pre-heat/pre-cool and charging control. There are LED headlights, Bluetooth connectivity, Intelligent-key with push button start, Sirius/XM satellite radio capabilities and three years of roadside assistance.

More traditional automotive hardware (which also means software these days) includes stability control, traction control and six airbags. The SL trim level, available for an additional $940 (MSRP), adds a rearview monitor, solar panel spoiler, fog lights, and automatic headlights. The electric motor is in essence a one-speed automatic transmission.

Notably absent from the list of standard equipment is air-conditioning, as well as full specifications of the budding Leaf models.

Nissan will offer personal charging docks, which operate on a 220-volt supply, as well as their installation by AeroVironment, as part of a one-stop-shop process that includes a home assessment.

Using current national electricity averages, unspecified, Nissan claims it will cost less than $3 to “fill up.”

Large Federal taxpayer subsidies drop price to $25,280. Lease at $349 a month.

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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