By on March 30, 2010

Well, our questions have been answered, and the first US-market pure electric vehicle, the Nissan Leaf, will be sold well under its Japanese-market price of $38k-$44k, coming in at $32,780. After a $7,500 federal tax break that brings the price to $25,280, and a California and Georgia tax break of another $5,000 will bring it within spitting distance of $20k (a $1,500 credit is available in Oregon). Full Nissan release after the jump.

Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA) today announced U.S. pricing for the 2011 Nissan LEAF electric vehicle, which becomes available for purchase or lease at Nissan dealers in select markets in December and nationwide in 2011. Nissan will begin taking consumer reservations for the Nissan LEAF April 20.

Including the $7,500 federal tax credit for which the Nissan LEAF will be fully eligible, the consumer’s after-tax net value of the vehicle will be $25,280. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price *(MSRP) for the 2011 all-electric, zero-emission Nissan LEAF is $32,780, which includes three years of roadside assistance. Additionally, there is an array of state and local incentives that may further defray the costs and increase the benefits of owning and charging a Nissan LEAF – such as a $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.

As a result of aggressive pricing and the availability of the $7,500 federal tax credit whose benefit is immediately included, Nissan will be able to offer a monthly lease payment beginning at $349, not including state or local incentives, which could further reduce the net cost of the Nissan LEAF.

“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, NNA. “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.”

The vehicle at the SV trim level is well-equipped with a variety of standard features, including an advanced navigation system and Internet/smart phone connectivity to the vehicle, enabling pre-heat/pre-cool and charging control. Nissan LEAF is equipped with energy-efficient LED headlights and makes extensive use of recycled and recyclable materials, such as seat fabric, instrument panel materials, and front- and rear-bumper fascias. Other standard amenities include Bluetooth connectivity; Intelligent-key with push button start; Sirius/XM satellite radio capabilities and roadside assistance. Safety features include vehicle dynamic control (stability control), traction control and six airbags. The SL trim level, available for an additional $940 (MSRP), adds features including rearview monitor, solar panel spoiler, fog lights, and automatic headlights.

Reservations and Purchase
In order to ensure a one-stop-shop customer experience, Nissan is carefully managing the purchase process from the first step, when consumers sign up on NissanUSA.com, until the customer takes the Nissan LEAF home and plugs it into a personal charging dock.

  • Nissan begins accepting reservations on April 20 first from people who have signed up on NissanUSA.com, and, after a brief introductory period, to all interested consumers.
  • Consumers will be required to pay a $99 reservation fee, which is fully refundable.
  • Reserving a Nissan LEAF ensures consumers a place in line when Nissan begins taking firm orders in August, as well as access to special, upcoming Nissan LEAF events.
  • Rollout to select markets begins in December, with nationwide availability in 2011.

Charging Equipment
In tandem with the purchase process, Nissan will offer personal charging docks, which operate on a 220-volt supply, as well as their installation. Nissan is providing these home-charging stations, which will be built and installed by AeroVironment, as part of a one-stop-shop process that includes a home assessment.

  • The average cost for the charging dock plus installation will be $2,200.
  • Charging dock and installation are eligible for a 50 percent federal tax credit up to $2,000.
  • Using current national electricity averages, Nissan LEAF will cost less than $3 to “fill up.”
  • Nissan LEAF also will be the sole vehicle available as part of The EV Project, which is led by EV infrastructure provider eTec, a division of ECOtality, and will provide free home-charging stations and installation for up to 4,700 Nissan LEAF owners in those markets.

In North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive design, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010, whose key priorities are reducing CO2 emissions, cutting other emissions and increasing recycling. More information on the Nissan LEAF and zero emissions can be found at www.NissanUsa.com.

MSRP excludes applicable tax, title and license fees. Dealer sets actual price. Prices and specs are subject to change without notice.

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79 Comments on “Nissan Leaf Priced At $32,780 Before Tax Breaks...”


  • avatar
    Redshift

    Headline says $32,780 but the first mention in the body says $38,780.
    Nissan press release also says $32,780, so I’ll presume the headline is right.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Very aggressive pricing that is guaranteed to sell out the Leaf for quite some time to come. GM is not happy today. Carlos Ghosn took a huge gamble, and is set to win the EV jackpot.

    • 0 avatar
      L'avventura

      Given the capacity I’m not sure it’ll sell out. The Smyrna Tennessee plant is expected to produce up to 150,000 vehicles and 200,000 battery packs annually, Nissan Sunderland, England plant has another 50-60,000 Nissan Leaf capacity. And that’s not considering the capacity of the Oppama plant in Japan that is also building the Leaf.

      Nissan has done an amazing job getting billions from the Japanese, American, and English governments to pay for a lot of factories. That doesn’t even include the massive tax breaks that will sell these cars. $7,500 (16kwh battery) + $2,000 (charger)+ 5,000 (California)= that’s Nissan Versa money.

      As it stands now, the Chevy Volt intends has capacity for 10,000 units the first year, with a goal of reaching 60k/units year after that. Let’s also consider that most other automotive companies alos have EVs set to be released in 2011/2012, but none of them have the capacity Nissan has.

      When Ghosn said the Leaf will have “no competition” he was right. Because no other company has been actively billions of dollars from governments around the world and have been investing billions of dollars to build up EV capacity like Nissan. 2012 is just around the corner after-all. Given Nissan’s price and capacity you have to wonder if the EV market is large enough to accommodate other players?

      It also seems that NEC may be the surprise major leader in the burgeoning automotive Li-ion battery market. But I still wonder if they are going to be able to claim 367 mpg?

    • 0 avatar
      Runfromcheney

      @ Paul Niedermeyer:

      The funny part is that if GM wouldn’t have spent years flaunting the Volt like idiots, they wouldn’t be having this problem.

    • 0 avatar
      JSF22

      I would guess the people less happy than GM’s Volt team are the hucksters at Coda Automotive. They had claimed that even though their car is a horribly unappealing retrofitted Chinese sh!tbox, at least they would be first to market with a pure EV. The Leaf isn’t much of a car but it certainly looks more substantial than the Coda. The Volt, if and when it comes, still has what for me is a significant competitive advantage, and that is a way home if I run the battery too low. I’m at least willing to look at the Volt, since my tax dollars are paying to build the thing and paying people to drive them.

  • avatar
    wsn

    It’s GM’s own fault not bringing out the Volt. Isn’t it supposed be in the dealerships by now?

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Et tu, Volt!

  • avatar
    cmoibenlepro

    Cheaper than a Prius, $10K less than a Volt. Could have some success.

    But the charging dock is sold seperately. Lame; what’s the purpose of an EV you couldn’t charge?

  • avatar
    Ken Magalnik

    Wow, and additional $2,200 for the privilege of fueling your own vehicle…

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      “Fueling” your own vehicle quickly. It likely comes with a built-in 120V charger, but it takes twice as long.

      I find this vehicle intriguing – but there is that wintertime range issue that would make it a gamble for me.

      This will sell like hotcakes in warmer climes, where if your battery is low, you can forego the A/C by opening the windows to extend your range if necessary.

    • 0 avatar
      Highway27

      Depending on the speed you’re going, however, it might be a battery loser to open the windows rather than use the A/C. The increased turbulence and wind resistance might be more draining.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      I have to laugh at the thought of anybody paying $2,200 to have the charger installed. If you own your own home, do it yourself. Don’t be afraid because it requires 240v…this is no different than installing an electric dryer, other than the need for raintight connectors. If Nissan is going to provide you with the charger/cordset, the hardest part is done. I haven’t seen the recharging device but I’ll bet it will be a wall mounted affair with a knockout in the bottom that will accept a 3/4″ conduit. Cake!! Subtract another $2K from the Leaf’s price!! ($200 for electrical supplies)…I wish this had come out in my days of doing side work on weekends. What a cash cow…Milk…it does a wallet good!

  • avatar
    Daanii2

    “Carlos Ghosn took a huge gamble, and is set to win the EV jackpot.”

    If people are happy with the Nissan Leaf. Wait until Ghosn rakes in the chips before you call him a winner.

    By the way, I do not hear much about the Tesla Roadster these days. I know only one Roadster owner, and he rarely drives his Roadster any more. It sits in his garage. Too much trouble, he says. He’s thinking of selling it.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @Daanii2: I’m with you, let’s see how/if the things sell before we declare a winner. To my eye, here’s the real issue for the average buyer: Even if you get this thing for $25K, there are plenty of other good alternatives, or at least cars that work in the idiom we’ve become accustomed. I have a hard time seeing this as a car for the masses, truly.

      This is where I think GM’s approach is correct, to start with small numbers. Look how long it took for Toyota to sell the volume of Priuses it does now. I think that it will take a while for Nissan to sell the number of cars that it’s factories can produce.

      Overcapacity may have come to EV’s, too.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    This car will definitely be a winner. The Volt’s disadvantage – besides estimated price – will be the driveability questions about the mixed drivetrain. Much scrutiny will focus on this element.

    By contrast, electric-only drivetrains are very straightforward, and people will easily understand the simplicity of driving a battery-only car. It will be like operating a very large rechargeable drill.

    On the downside, I thought there was to be a much more affordable 120V charger for home use. I don’t like the $2200 charger idea, but I guess the tax credit takes some of the ache out of that one.

    Speaking of tax credits, I’d prefer to see the prices simply lowered to compete in the real market.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      I wouldn’t expect a lot of scrutiny on the drive trains. We aren’t talking rocket science, it is a generator, battery, and electric motor.

    • 0 avatar
      nonce

      How much would a very simple gas-powered generator cost and weigh? Even if inefficient, having a gallon of gas would be a nice back up.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      @Steven02:

      Until now, every test drive review has commented on the integration of the ICE and the electric drive. There are comments about the seamlessness of the ICE kick-in, the roar of the ICE which can be asynchronous with apparent demand, and so on.

      Sorry to disagree, but saying the Volt is simply a generator, battery, and electric motor is like saying the Space Shuttle is a rocket with wings. There really is some rocket science to making such an arrangement work suitably in a consumer-oriented production vehicle. It’s not a locomotive; it has to please green soccer moms, and driveability is a major component of customer satisfaction.

      The Leaf, meanwhile, will be more readily compared to the Tesla in terms of technology, but the Volt in terms of ROI. I don’t recall ever hearing much talk about driveability concerns with an electric-only car. In fact, most reviews are rather effusive with praise regarding smoothness and NVH.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      @nonce:

      The Volt will appeal to greenies interested in longer-range commuting without the fear of battery depletion. But diving into the gasoline reserves will also eat up the supposed savings of the car. People making 300-mile trips will be sorry to see it only getting 40 mpg.

      But then again, nobody will be making a 300-mile trip in a Leaf.

      So there is definitely no one-size-fits-all with these vehicles.

  • avatar

    Price differences from market to market are nothing new.

    First off, you need to be aware of taxes. Is sales tax included in the price (as they must be in Japan and Europe) or are they not? How high are they (5% in Japan, 19% in Germany.)

    Second, cars (and many other products) are priced to market. You just can’t ask for more than the market can bear. So buyers in some countries subsidize buyers in others. Denmark for instance is crazy: 25 % VAT plus 180% luxury tax on cars. To make cars somewhat affordable in these markets, their pre-tax price is lowered. Which in turn fuels a whole “EU” car re-import industry.

    Third, exchange rates. They change a lot. This morning, a dollar bought 92 Japanese yen. Two years ago, it bought 110. Can’t change your car prices up and down just because the exchange rate changes. Also, the exchange rate distorts how we look at a price. You have to look at the price through the eyes of someone who lives and works there. In dollar terms, the price of a Japanese car rose 17% over two years. In Yen, it stayed the same or got even cheaper.

  • avatar
    JimothyLite

    Edward, or anybody who can help answer the following: I’m not being cynical, sarcastic, or anti-whatever when I ask the following question, and it’s possible I’m just uninformed (likely), so please bear with me. The idea behind EVs is to save energy and reduce carbon emissions. The idea behind a big, incentive-based push is to cause public awareness that there are alternative viable, cleaner automotive fuels available. The early adopter, in this case, places on the street a visible piece of the necessary marketing strategy. Now, here’s where I’d like to be informed. Besides the aforementioned, please explain other reasons for the huge incentives, which are really expensive and could be applied toward other, perhaps more useful purposes, like further research into alternate fuels, or similar product development for U.S. automakers. Thank you!

    • 0 avatar
      Brian E

      Makes sense. Without incentives, the public would never know that there are these electric car thingies coming out. Heck, some people are still operating horse-drawn buggies. Maybe we should also invest in creating a global information delivery network so that people can learn about these newfangled contraptions from the comfort of their own homes. Eventually people will even be able to buy devices that can access this information without any wires (!) almost anywhere (!!). Then we won’t need to subsidize electric cars to “cause public awareness”.

      In case the humor is a little subtle, the point of the subsidies is not to cause public awareness. It’s to encourage people to engage in behavior that would not be otherwise economically rational, by basically making them pay for it whether they want it or not. Would people be lining up left and right to buy this without the credit? If not, why should they be subsidized, if they don’t provide enough value to be worth the price?

      If greenhouse gas emissions are an important externality in this decision, then a higher gas tax to account for this is the only way to shift decision making rationally. Throwing effectively arbitrary subsidies around, especially ones that don’t account for how often the vehicle is used, predictably leads to inefficiency and waste.

    • 0 avatar
      JimothyLite

      Brian, humor appreciated. Thanks for your answer!

    • 0 avatar
      imag

      I’ll take a crack at this. Feel free to let me know if it doesn’t measure up.

      Government incentives of this type are designed to promote investment in technologies that are:

      a. beneficial to the general public
      b. not currently competitive with existing technologies, but could equal or surpass the value of existing technologies at higher volume.

      This is not an unreasonable stance. Cost curves are real. Technologies benefit from a push. The cost of solar electricity has gone down by half in the last few years. It never would have done that, were it not for the volumes that came about through government incentive programs. Solar is actually close to, or at, grid parity in certain areas.

      If you want to debate whether or not electric cars support the public good, that’s your prerogative. I will say that I want an ICE sports car until I die. I’d be happy to let my wife, who could care less, drive an electric. I’d also be happy to commute in an electric.

      The internal combustion engine has had 100 years and tens of thousands of iterations to get cheap. Battery technology has not been so widely deployed. It is not unreasonable to allow that battery technology will go down in cost (it is already) as electric car volumes go up.

      One other thing that should be noted: oil is incentivized hugely as well. Any link I include is going to make this political, but feel free to pick your source. No matter who slices it, oil incentives make up a massively greater part of our budgets than these electric car incentives are projected to.

      So I would ask: why do we incentivize already economical (and highly profitable) oil extraction?

  • avatar

    Interesting write-up on electric cars in general.

    The Emperors New Car(s)

    http://www.caradvice.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/The-Emperors-New-Car.pdf

    At least the Volt is somewhat more viable as a ICE car replacement since it produces it’s own electricity and won’t leave you stranded with a highly fluctuating range.

  • avatar
    fgbrault

    What a waste of my tax dollars. If electric vehicles are to be produced let them compete in the market without subsidies.

    • 0 avatar
      Geotpf

      Well, in theory, the government subsidies these to lower pollution (including green house gases) and/or to reduce the importation of foreign oil. If there were no subsidies, electric vehicles would not be built at all.

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      It’s not like the oil industry isn’t subsidized. The entire provincial government of Alberta (Canada) is in fact a marketing and PR agency for the oil business.

      Maybe in your part of the world, oil is subsidized too. Foreign wars? Petroleum lobbyists affecting government decisions?

    • 0 avatar
      imag

      I figure the WSJ is a decent source, as they are certainly not Obama promoters. The tax breaks for oil, though, are not small:

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704107204575039200881610236.html

  • avatar

    Consumer Reports hasn’t rated this model yet, but you can see all the rankings, ratings, new car previews, best/worst lists and more from the new 2010 April Autos Issue online at http://www.2010AnnualAutoIssue.com. The articles are free for those interested.

    • 0 avatar
      segfault

      WTF? Consumer Reports is now spamming TTAC’s comments?

    • 0 avatar
      LastResort

      At the risk of being both off topic, and criticizing another poster:

      I also say tis as a reader of consumer reports, and I frequently user the website: this is not a good marketing tactic for Consumer Reports. As a reader I value relevant, insightful, and informative posts that relate to the original article. May I suggest that CR posts should include relevant snippets of their own findings in reviews, discussions about reliability, or the relevance of consumer satisfaction studies. Using TTAC to spam me in a new and unique way, without providing content, is not welcome.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      You don’t really think that CR is behind this, do you? They are too busy seeing which toaster has the latest safety features and the smartest styling. Just a troll, I assume…

  • avatar
    Steven02

    Anyone know what the high and low percentages of charge are for this battery? I read that the charging time at 220V is 8 hours, and that at 110V, it is 16-18 hours.
    http://news.cnet.com/greentech/?tag=hdr;snav

    I know that the Volt doesn’t discharge that battery to low levels or fully charge them to keep the battery in top shape. The charge time is also 3 on 220 and 6 on 110. In the same article I linked to, it is talking about going down to about 70-80 miles after 10 years. Anyone know how Nissan is doing this? I would expect more battery wear than this article is saying.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      I believe Nissan also takes pains to manage battery discharge levels and battery temperature. Temperature extremes are one of the biggest enemies of lithium ion cells in terms of charge duration and lifetime.

      I would think the 120V charging would be OK if you were committed to short trips and nightly plug-ins.

      But I guess the tax credit on the 220V charger makes it attractive. Nissan & the US government don’t want people complaining about super long charge times and rendering the car unviable in the market, so they want to maximize the consumer experience by making the 220V charger affordable… even with funny money.

  • avatar
    Kyle Schellenberg

    I give credit to Ghosn for sticking to his word. I remember him in an interview saying (paraphrase) “We don’t think the future is in hybrids because of the inherent compromise, we’re working on something better” at which point the interviewer got him to clarify what he was referring to was a pure EV. At the time, to me it seemed like a cop-out to avoid admitting that Toyota had won the battle before it even started. But low and behold, here were are.

    It will never fly where I live, but they’ll sell a bunch of them for at least a few years and they’ll take the ‘eco’ trophy from Toyota’s shelf in the minds of tree huggers out there.

  • avatar
    wmba

    ““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, NNA. ”

    The breathless prose of a marketer. Yeah, I have idle daydreams too. I can just “imagine” about anything, and I imagine this vehicle is just right for the fluffy thinkers out there.

    Governments are also full of fluffy thinkers. $7500 subsidy to buy batteries, plus state incentives as well. Great.

    Now what happens when these geniuses start to wonder why road tax receipts from selling gasoline are going down? Why, after convening committees of overpaid advanced thinkers, they’ll work it out. Yes, indeed, electric cars aren’t paying their share of the costs of the road network. Hmmm…. Solution, put GPS in every car and charge by the mile. Hey, that’ll work.

    We manage to dig ourselves deeper into overly technical solutions to problems with each passing year.

    Yup, after all this new technology is whirring along and entrenched, power utilities will be burning more coal, upgrading power lines, installing 4 register Time-of-Day meters, etc, etc.

    Brave new world.

    From an engineering POV, I like the Volt much better, but the buy cheap mentality of the hordes will win the day, leaving politicians to eventually wonder why they gave incentives to run vehicles that pay no taxes, but indeed generate tax rebates, for that special kind of double whammy to government coffers. Try explaining that to Mrs Freda Average in 2018, as you force her to pay a per-mile charge! The shrieks will be heard clear down the other end of Main Street. It’ll be harder to do than raising gas taxes today.

    I shake my head at it all.

    • 0 avatar
      Facebook User

      “100 miles on $3″. Can’t you do that on a 150cc scooter as of…I don’t know, today ?

    • 0 avatar
      Bancho

      In safety (and comfort), with your family (or even a single passenger) along for the ride and a load of groceries?

      No, you can’t do that on a 150cc scooter.

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      Yes, and you can ride 100 miles a day on a bicycle for $0/day, but are you doing it?

      Next, somebody’s going to give us the “used 1980s Civic” that you can buy today for < $2000 and goes 40mpg uphill, blah blah blah.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      You can only come about 3/4ths to that $3.00 for 100 miles on a 150cc scooter. My Qingqi is averaging 65mpg. Gas today around here is $2.67/gal. Which means we’re talking $4.00 per 100 miles.

      Now, that doesn’t include warm clothing for those days that aren’t sunny and 70+ (50mph does have a wind chill factor), rain gear, and some kind of top box or basket so one can carry more than what fits under the seat. So, the Leaf is a more economical, practical mode of transportation – if that figure is correct.

      Just the same, I still find the scooter more enjoyable.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      srogers,

      I also bicycle the 23 miles each way to work – on Saturdays (short work day). It’s fun. It gets me a nice bit of road work in. However, it is long (1-1/2 hours) each way, more fatiguing than most people would be willing to put up with (their loss, believe me) . . . . and the real down side is that I have to budget 2 hours for the commute TO work, just in case I catch a puncture. Which means most days I’m sitting outside the service door for half an hour twiddling my thumbs.

      Bicycles are not practical over 10 miles for the physically fit and dedicated, and 5 miles (each way) for most everybody else. Within that range, however, it’s sheer laziness that has people using anything else for transportation.

  • avatar
    davejay

    Well, that price point (with the credits, since I’m in California) is $5000 less than my threshold for buying one, so I’m buying one. If you want me to write about the experience (reservation through purchase and beyond) let me know.

    The best part of this is my kids just got into a charter school that’s a bit far and over a congested route — but with the carpool lane access, I can drive ‘em in AND drive to work in the carpool lane. That’ll save me about half an hour each day. Woot!

  • avatar

    I doubt too many people are going to buy these range-limited, takes-hours-to-recharge conveyances, despite the reduced energy cost per mile, especially since they can get substantial energy cost reductions with the Prius and several others.

    Brian E. +10!

  • avatar
    JMII

    What is the range of the Leaf? How long to recharge?

    We have heard a bunch (of mostly BS) about the Volt but very little in regards to the Leaf, yet its clearly going to win the race to go on sale first. By the time the Volt reaches the market will everyone who wanted an even greener Prius already own a Leaf?

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    IIRC, the battery pack in the Leaf was going to be owned by Nissan and leased to the customer. Or am I confusing that with Better Place? But if so, how does that affect full customer costs?

    • 0 avatar
      Highway27

      Clutch, that was one of the rumors, but I think they dropped that idea. I think the car’s being sold or leased now all up: battery, 110v charging, ready to go. The 220v charging station will be an extra according to this article.

  • avatar

    I applaud Nissan’s decision to sell the cars rather than do the lease-only thing (unless they sneak in some small print like leasing the battery pack). I know from experience with Toyota RAV-4EV and GM EV1 that people are really, really peeved when the inevitable collection day comes.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    History has repeated itself. One could argue that last year was the Plague of Blood for The Auto Industry. Red ink flowed throughout the lands.

    Now we have a “green” car that looks very much like an amphibian. Not an Amphicar, but a genuine amphibian. That it’s produced, partly by a French company, and that it will soon flood the market and be the first electric car. There’s no question about it.

    This is the Plague of Frogs.

  • avatar

    JMO,

    If EVs are 5% of the market within five years I’ll be very surprised.

  • avatar
    tparkit

    With the Leaf, we’re looking at the basic plan for the Volt and all similar vehicles: the taxpayers are buying cars for people. The level of subsidy will be set at whatever level it takes to move the metal. If people won’t pay (say) $25k for a Volt, they won’t have to. Government will simply lower the price to $20k by giving the difference to the manufacturer in the form of subsidies, or to the end buyer via rebates. Any item of specific concern to consumers, like home charging stations, or battery replacement due to fatigue or obsolecence, will be subsidized too – and with debt dollars or printed money, since governments everywhere are broke.

    I expect that, to help prop up sales, government fleet purchases will be mandated and private fleet sales encouraged. Each new fleet sale will be trumpeted as an important advance, even though each in fact represents a major waste and a market distortion. Like recycling, it will become a fraud/boondoggle with a halo.

  • avatar
    srogers

    Recycling is a fraud? Where have I been?

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      The environmental & economic benefits of recycling are hotly debated. The engineer in me says it should be beneficial, but the actual total-energy calculations are difficult – sort of like the Prius vs Hummer argument.

      Here’s an interesting story, fittingly titled “The Truth About Recycling”: http://oxfordliberal.blogspot.com/2007/06/truth-about-recycling-according-to.html

      As a conservative, I agree with tparkit’s concerns. Distorting the market with taxpayer incentives, and subsequently declaring victory with economically unviable vehicles seems wrong. My hope is that the incentives quickly disappear, and these cars can compete on their own merits.

      But as with the recycling fervor, it will be difficult to eventually say it’s not worth doing if the numbers can never add up.

  • avatar
    fgbrault

    srogers, I agree that in theory the subsidy is to reduce pollution. I don’t really believe it will, when you factor in the pollution caused from generating the electricity. If they want to reduce pollution further than they already have, then out a hefty tax on fuel.

  • avatar
    tparkit

    SROGERS, I’m sure you can do your own research about recycling, but here’s something to help you get started.

    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=2305057

    Recycling is a religion; don’t be surprised that elected officials aren’t lining up to call it a costly scam. People get a little buzz of sanctity every time they drop a juice bottle into the bin, and that’s all that matters. For many, it gives purpose in life; I’ve met folks who voluntarily check wastebaskets where they work to ensure no recycleables enter the landfill stream. They don’t want to know they’ve been duped into hollow feelgoodism.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    I suspect price is still a limiting factor, even with subsidies. $25K puts it out of range of plenty of people and puts it out of the comfort zone of many more.

    I’m not sure how the public will take to the 16 hour recharge on 110 power. It would work for me, but I’m not sure if that works for most people. Presumably in countries that use 220 at home it would be unnecessary to buy the additional 220v charging station. For countries running on 110, the desire to charge it quicker will cost a few thousand – most people will need to hire an electrician to install the charger on it’s dedicated 220v/20amp (40amp recommended) circuit.

    And of course, if one buys rather than leasing, there comes the day when the batteries need to be replaced.

    For a guy like me, the range is fine, and I can live with the recharge time at 110. In fact, if it was fully charged by Monday morning, I wouldn’t really have to plug it in until Friday when I get home from work. But the costs don’t really make sense compared to many ICE alternatives.

  • avatar
    TAP

    Regarding the comment about it being sheer laziness not to use a bike to go 5 miles: My wife has less than 2 mi. drive to work, but the road has no shoulder and traffic is just crazy around here.

    Also, as for the cost to generate the juice for the leaf, everything I read says it’s significantly less than gasoline, and mostly getting cleaner.

  • avatar
    JBigga

    I don’t think the finite range on the Leaf will be a big marketing issue. Most families have multiple vehicles, so if they taking a road trip, they could just take another car.

    However, I really think that the concept of the Volt is the way to go. In my situation, the 40 mile range is a problem since my one-way daily commute is 23 miles. The generator would have to kick on every day.

    If the Leaf has a 120V charge option, I will go with it for sure. I would have 10 to 12 hours of charge time per day on a battery that is not even close to empty. No way am I spending $2000 to install a 240 line and a charging station.

    • 0 avatar
      protomech

      I believe the leaf comes with a 120v/15A wall charger as standard. You’ll probably get about 5 miles of range per hour charging ($0.15-$0.20), so 10-12 hours would get you 50 to 60 miles. Anytime you have fewer than 10 hours to charge, or have to take a trip mid-day, and you may not get a complete charge. The $2200 220v charger will charge 15-20 miles per hour, and I believe federal subsidies cut the price in half.

      Keep in mind that on the Volt, the generator will kick in sometime before 40 miles. Of your 46 miles, you might drive 30 miles on full electric and 16 miles on mostly-electric, using perhaps a quarter of a gallon of gas. In two months or so you’d deplete the 10 gallon tank, and have to fill up after driving almost 2000 miles.

  • avatar

    I agree with Nonce that even 1% by 2015 would be huge. I was being optimistic. Until the price goes down further and the range and recharge times are greatly increased and reduced, respectively, it’s going to be a sacrifice for most people to own one of these things–unless the price of gasoline skyrockets. In other words, to buy one of these, you have to do it because of abstract beliefs (which could be beliefs in the public good over your own private welfare) rather than concrete benefits.

  • avatar
    niky

    $25k might just be enough to get a few more Leafs (Leaves?) out the door. It’s a far more palatable price than the 35k plus projected for the Volt after subsidies.

    While I do agree it’s in the best interest of the government to encourage “green” behavior… subsidizing non-viable economic decisions purely to make a point about the environment is, personally, a waste of money that could go instead to subsidizing public transport… HPV lanes, or encouraging semi-private ownership or carpooling / car-sharing schemes.

    Oh well… at least Nissan is giving us an electric vehicle that’s not incredibly expensive (just expensive) or borderline vaporware (Coda… Xap… Electrovaya… anyone?). I love how other companies think that they can offer Chinese knock-off bodies with questionable crash-safety mixed with EV drivetrains and try to sell them at prices two to four times as much as the actual going prices of the donor vehicles… without having two to four times the safety or road-worthiness.

    I wish I’d been the genius who thought of the Zebra. Imagine the profit on each sale!

  • avatar

    wasn’t $20K the initial projected price?
    If it were to be brought in at that level, and then
    a few (i think deserved) subsidies would be brought to
    kick in, one could have a $10K car.

    And I could almost buy one!

    I think Carlos is smelling Toyota’s blood seeping into the
    water. Move over Prius.

  • avatar
    cheezeweggie

    Since the electric car is being marketed as a 2nd or 3rd errand car, it should be priced accordingly. Even with incentives and subsidies it is overpriced. Until it is priced below a Yaris or a Accent, it will be a rich mans toy or a green niche. I guess now we’ll have one more slow moving green car in the passing lanes holding everyone else up.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “I guess now we’ll have one more slow moving green car in the passing lanes holding everyone else up.”

    I can’t speak for the Leaf but chances are the when it comes to pulling away from a stop the Volt will give whatever your driving a good spanking.

    Kudos to Nissan for getting this thing to the market. Chevy just did their first production line dry run a few days ago so it looks like they are on target to start building the Volt in November of this year.

    I figure 9 out of 10 times I leave my home I could get by with a Volt running strictly on battery power. The other times I either need the people hauling or towing capacity of my Tahoe so your run of the mill ICE 4 banger FWD car wouldn’t get the job done anyways.

    The age of the electric car has begun!

  • avatar
    T2

    I don’t think we’ve explored all the ramifications of the Leaf rollout.

    The easy one is the prediction that this is going to curtail further expansion of Tesla Motors into family models – particularly while Tesla’s reputation during the Roadster rollout remains fresh in people’s minds.
    Elon Musk better hope that what’s waiting on Pad 13B from the SPACEX project will fly when the time comes.

    Aother easy prediction is that the Prius will surely lose a few sales to those who prefer the idea of full time electric traction.

    Reading the blogs I gained the impression that there is quite a sizeable population out there among the early adopters of the Prius that could live with a reduced range but had, in the meantime, adopted the Prius as an acceptable compromise.

    The Leaf will more than likely kill demand for the Phev version of the Prius – which was a stupid idea anyway.

    I see Aptera and Eestor folding up shop also.

    I’ll mention, as a previous member, that dozens of EV clubs in North America will also fade away.

    If the Leaf does well what’s the betting that GM won’t go back on it’s word and revive the EV1 ? This may be a no-brainer to some but this idea will stand a better chance of traction at GM now that Lutz is departing.

  • avatar
    niky

    The PHEV version of the Prius is the one that actually makes the most sense… but it will all depend on the price point. The hybrid Prius at just $22k still has better performance and range than the Leaf at $25k+.

    Yes, small manufacturers may suffer… (and some of those vaporware peddlers deserve to die with fire) but the Leaf will still be at a high enough price point that D.I.Y. converters might still hang on for a while. Still… it will be a shame to see the current proliferation of new names and ideas go down the tubes. The Aptera had such promise…

    A pure electric Volt? It’s possible. Sell it at the same price point as the Leaf and sell the range extender gas engine as an add-on.

  • avatar
    shaker

    It would be nice if GM changed the design of the Volt to be modular, i.e., being able to swap out the ICE for additional battery capacity, if the buyer desired. This capability would also allow upgrades to more modern batteries, and a simple firmware flash to adapt to the additional battery capacity.

    I wonder if the 220 volt charger that Nissan recommends has “smart grid” capability for the future (which makes it more expensive).

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Tell me again why it is tax dollars have to be sprinkled all over this thing for it to be viable? No different than the corn lobby with their hands in the taxpayers pockets.

    Maybe someday we’ll learn to let markets work instead. There are plenty of people willing to pay whatever to go gasoline free in their own lives. Plenty of local and state governments could take up the charge too, pun intended.

    Are we prepared to subsidize ever more facets of transportation in the name of Global Climate change or a pipe dream of bankrupting oil rich dictators?

    I hope not.

    BTW the car is butt ugly.

    • 0 avatar
      protomech

      No different than the gas lobby with their hands in the taxpayers pockets.

      Or do you think our interest in the Middle East comes from an altruistic desire to help out the poor iraqi people?

      Direct tax break subsidies to the oil industry alone are > $3 billion per year. How many $7500 EV rebates do you imagine are going out?

  • avatar
    musiccitymafia

    I’m going to tour the country with my Leaf …. mostly pulled behind my RV. Low CD, easy-roll tires, incentives … it’s all there. Just got to monkey around with the charging a bit so I can switch between 110 and 220 based on how fast I’ll need a recharge. A transportable 220 charger would be nice so I can just plug in at the campsite at night and not have to use my generator (noise issue).

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Too bad it’s so ugly! The government needs to stay the hell out and the let the free market dictate who buys these things and quit offering all these tax payer incentives to try and squeeze oil cartels out of a few dollars. CAFE is bullshit too. Quit jamming these green cars down our throats. If people want them then fine but choice is good and variety is the spice of life- something the government will never learn.

  • avatar
    Revver

    I’m bothered by the coming popularity of these (for most Americans) coal-powered cars. Am I missing something?

    http://www.americaspower.org/Issues-Policy/Half

    • 0 avatar

      Are you serious Revver?

      If you don’t like coal, you can choose to install solar PV or wind turbin to power your EV.

      That’s what I’m gonna do.

      Or you can move to California where coal-generated power accounts for less than 1%.

  • avatar

    I never knew you had to register before 4/20 to be eligible to reserve on 4/20!

    I marked my calendar for 4/20, waited and waited, and on 4/20, Oopsie, you have to wait 2 more months!

    I don’t understand why they made such a convoluted procedure. I reserved for other cars or non-cars (iphone, ipad, etc.) many times before and never experienced such a two-step nonsense.

    (I have to conclude that Nissan has superb engineers, but their marketing people are just so screwed-up!)

    Any one knows if there’s any way to make reservation with registration on or after 4/20 without waiting for 2 more months?


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