26,000 Green Leaves for the Nissan LEAF in the U.S.

By George Straton

Nissan has announced a base price of $32,780 for its 2011 LEAF plug-in EV. With available tax credits of $7500, assuming the buyer owes more than $7500 in annual income tax, that drops the price to a rather palatable price of $25,280. State income tax credits, which vary, can further lower the final realized price. Nissan expects monthly leasing plans to start at $349, less any available income tax incentives.

The Leaf SV model – taking its trim line name from the Nissan Maxima – will include an advanced navigation system and Internet/smart phone connectivity to the vehicle, which enables pre-heat/pre-cool and charging control and LED headlamps, in addition to Bluetooth, Intelligent Key functionality. Safety amenities feature six airbags, VDC, and traction control. The SL trim level at $940 will notably add a solar panel spoiler reduce battery draw for the pre-heat/ pre-cool system.

Installation of high voltage (220V) AeroVironment chargers at customers’ residences is expected to cost $2,200, and it’s not included in the Leaf’s base price. A 50% available federal income tax credit would reduce the charger√≠s realized price to $1100.

The 220V system would cut 110V full charge times by half to an estimated 8 hours. Based on current average U.S. electricity rates a full charge is scheduled to cost consumers less than $3 of electricity. That would translate to an energy cost of $0.03 per mile as opposed to the current $0.15 per mile paid for gasoline in the U.S. High voltage (400 V) public charging stations are being implemented by utility companies to be initially available in select U.S. cities. Such stations will reduce an 80% charge time to 30 minutes and permit a charge good enough for 30 miles of range in 10 minutes.

Nissan will start taking U.S. orders for the car on April 20th. Refundable deposits of a catchy 99 are required of U.S. customers. Deliveries are expected to commence in December, beginning with markets selected by Nissan in 2009. Realizing the initial US market for the LEAF is that segment looking for a second car to be used for short-jaunt urban commutes, Nissan is betting on 25,000 orders in the U.S. by year’s end. And we’re betting that pricing the LEAF competitively will go a long way toward Nissan meeting that goal.

Author: George Straton

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