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Nissan Starts Taking Orders For The LEAF

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On: Tue, Apr 20, 2010 at 11:16AM | By: Clay Ritchings

Nissan Starts Taking Orders For The LEAF

Nissan dealers will start taking orders for the LEAF all-electric car today. According to Nissan over 100,000 people have already expressed interest in the zero-emissions Nissan Leaf. Getting these people to take the next step to buy one may be an easy task with substantial incentives. Usually when a new model is launched you do not expect rebates or incentives to show up unless sales are down, but consumers in many states will discover the car will cost them much less than its $32,780 sticker price.

Many states have incentives that will apply on top of the $7,500 federal tax credit, which brings the Leaf's price down to $25,280, a price that makes the Leaf competitive with the Honda Civic and the Toyota Prius. That would also make the Leaf considerably less expensive than Chevrolet Volt, which is expected to cost around $40,000, or about $32,500 after the federal tax credit. The Leaf is expected to go on sale in December, one month after the Volt.

If you are interested in the Leaf or the like, I suggest you do a little homework because there are a lot of incentives out there from states and municipalities. Several states have smaller but welcome offerings of: free parking for EVs, free registration, tax refunds or no sales tax on a purchase of an electric vehicle.

Nissan LEAF’s regenerative braking system and innovative lithium-ion battery packs enable the car to deliver a driving range of more than 100 miles on one full charge. According to Nissan, their consumer research demonstrates that this range satisfies the daily driving requirements of more than 70% of the world’s consumers who drive cars.

As with any EV you are going to have to install a home charger for the car. Installation of the charger will typically cost $2,200, but tax credits can cut that figure in half. Nissan has partnered with an outside company to install home chargers for the car.

The LEAF offers several different charging methods. Of course, there is the aforementioned standard 100-volt method, which takes around 16 hours to charge, and then there is the 220-volt connection. Additionally, a fast charge feature allows the batteries to be charged to 80% of its capacity in just 30 minutes, adding tremendous convenience to the vehicle.

Nissan almost certainly is taking a loss on the LEAF, just as Toyota did with the Prius, while trying to grab a big chunk of the market before cars like the Chevrolet Volt and Ford Focus EV appear. No doubt they are hedging their bets that battery costs will come down.

While I am not sold on an EV being anything more than the second car in a two-car family, many tree huggers will line up for one; that’s why I think Nissan is going to have a hard time keeping them on the showroom floor, especially in states that have the additional tax credits.

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