The vehicle, designed to travel 100 miles on an average battery charge, will be available in some markets this December, with nationwide sales beginning in 2011. Nissan said it would begin accepting online reservations for the Leaf on April 20, 2010 for a fully refundable fee of $99.
The automaker noted that each Leaf would be eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit, as well as any potential state tax rebates for such alternative transportation. With federal tax credits, the base-model Leaf—plus a home charging station with installation included—will cost $25,280, according to Nissan. In California, a $5,000 state rebate for the car will drop the price to $21,380.
“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. Or of creating zero emissions while driving," said Brian Carolin, senior vice president, Sales and Marketing, Nissan North America.
“Nissan leads the industry by offering the first affordable, zero-emission vehicle for the mass market. Nissan LEAF truly is in a class by itself.”
As part of the buying process, Nissan will offer to install personal charging docks that operate on a 220-volt supply. The company said the average cost of the docks would be $2,200, but they too are eligible for rebates. Using current national electricity averages, Nissan estimated that Leaf will cost less than $3 to recharge.
The Leaf will also be available for leasing, with monthly payments starting at $349. In January, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) closed a $1.4 billion loan to Nissan to retool and expand the company's factory in Smyrna, Tennessee, for the production of the Leaf and the battery packs used in the vehicle, with the goal of eventually producing 150,000 vehicles per year.
"We've known all along that the sure-fire way to rapidly build a robust EV market is simply to let people drive these cars," said Zan Dubin Scott, Communications Director for Plug In America, an electric car nonprofit organization.
"With the Nissan Leaf's low price—less than that of a Toyota Prius—consumers will finally be able to buy an EV for roughly the same price as a gasoline car. That's a game changer."
The Nissan Leaf also will be the sole vehicle participating in The EV Project, under which the Electric Transportation Engineering Corporation, or eTec, will provide free home charging stations and installations for up to 4,700 Nissan Leaf owners in 10 cities in five states: Phoenix and Tucson in Arizona; San Diego, California; the Oregon cities of Corvallis, Eugene, and Portland; the Tennessee cities of Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga; and Seattle, Washington.
The EV Project will also deploy an additional 6,510 EV charging stations in those cities. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the project was awarded a DOE grant of $99.8 million in August 2009.
It was officially launched in October 2009 and will continue for three years, with the aim of gathering the lessons learned from these initial deployments and applying them to future efforts to deploy EVs and charging infrastructure.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons via Tennan-Gas
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