The Nissan Leaf is Eligible for a $3,750 Tax Credit Again

Chris Teague
by Chris Teague

The Nissan Leaf was already the most affordable EV on sale, but recent changes have made it even cheaper. The automaker announced that the car has regained eligibility for federal tax credits, though for only half of the maximum $7,500.

With the credit, the Leaf starts in the mid-$25,000 range, extending its lead as the cheapest EV on sale. It’s followed not-so-closely by the Mini Cooper SE, but regaining tax credit eligibility is a significant boost. The car qualified for tax credits through the end of last year, but automakers have to recertify vehicles under the new rules, and Nissan has only just done that for the Leaf.

Half of the EV tax credit is tied to raw materials sourcing, requiring that they come from a country with which the U.S. has a free-trade agreement. The Leaf doesn’t qualify for that half, but Nissan builds the car and its batteries at its plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, giving it access to the other $3,750. Changes to the rules in 2024 have knocked a significant number of vehicles out of eligibility, but many will return as automakers nail down their supply chains.

The Leaf has been around for a while without major changes, and its low price likely comes from its middling range numbers, which max out at 212 miles. That said, it’s a surprisingly practical car with plenty of interior space and a decent number of standard features for the price.

While it’s true that Americans don’t buy that many hatchbacks, it’s even truer that cars like the Nissan Leaf are precisely what we need. There’s no shortage of $50,000-plus EVs from all corners of the auto industry, but the sub-$30,000 (or even sub-$40,000) market is pathetically tiny. Anyone serious about electrification should celebrate cars like the Leaf and hope that Nissan keeps its ship upright going forward to keep building it, or a next-gen car like it.

[Image: Nissan]

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Chris Teague
Chris Teague

Chris grew up in, under, and around cars, but took the long way around to becoming an automotive writer. After a career in technology consulting and a trip through business school, Chris began writing about the automotive industry as a way to reconnect with his passion and get behind the wheel of a new car every week. He focuses on taking complex industry stories and making them digestible by any reader. Just don’t expect him to stay away from high-mileage Porsches.

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2 of 9 comments
  • Oberkanone Oberkanone on Mar 07, 2024

    Make 62kwh battery standard. Improve the battery cooling/conditioning. Change charging to NACS.

    Leaf will sell. It will.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Mar 10, 2024

    There are Leaf enthusiasts now testing CHADEMO to CSS adapters now. See YouTube videos. The Leaf is a great one fast charge a day kind of car. Excellent if it is mostly being used locally and charged at home on L1 or L2.

  • 2ACL Too much, but at least it can get out of its own way. One adjustment I don't think I'll ever make to the modern automobile is sub-160 hp beyond $25k.
  • MaintenanceCosts The black wheel arches and rocker trim are ghastly. Looks like to get them in body color you have to downgrade to the N Line. And you can't get a 360-degree camera on the N Line. Oh well, I'm not a compact CUV customer anyway.
  • Gray Where is Subaru on the list? They build them in Indiana. NASCAR should field the Legacy sedan to go up against Toyota.
  • Redapple2 H-K Styling. May not be my cup of tea but they re trying. Gripe. This would be a deal breaker. Door cut out - seat postion - 'B' pillar. I m over 6'. So the driver's seat is towards full back position. Rental Equinox last week. 1100 miles. The seat bottom to seat back point was 8 inches behind and around the 'B' pillar. I had to be contortionist to get in and out of the car. Brutal POS. Wife's Forester? Nearly equal/flush. I ve never seen 1 car review where they complain about this.
  • Lou_BC In my town the dealers are bad for marking up products, even pickups. There were multiple "mega-projects" on the go in my region so money was flowing fast and loose both by corporations and employees. All of that is coming to an end plus we've seen a pulpmill close, one pulpmill line close and a few sawmill closures. Cash is getting tight.