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The drop in prices are mainly due to the fact that Nissan has moved Leaf production from Japan to Tennessee

Nissan’s Leaf just experienced a dramatic price drop, making it the cheapest five-seater electric vehicle (EV) in the U.S. At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said the price of the base model 2013 Leaf has been cut by $6,400. Last year’s base model went for $35,200, and now, the 2013 Leaf S will sell for $28,800 to start before a $7,500 federal tax credit (and any applicable state credit/rebate) is applied.
A couple of other Leaf models have seen a price cut as well. The Leaf SV will drop from last year’s price of $35,200 to $31,820 this year. The Leaf SL is also going from $37,250 last year to $34,840 this year.
“With nearly 50,000 Leafs on the road globally, we are the leaders in zero emissions vehicles and our class-leading product just got better,” said Billy Hayes, Global vice president of Leaf sales for Nissan. “From the very outset, Nissan has continuously advanced and refined the affordable zero emissions vehicle ownership experience. Now customers won’t have to pay a premium for owning a green car that’s really fun to drive, and that’s exciting.”

2013 Nissan Leaf

The drop in prices is mainly due to the fact that Nissan has moved Leaf production from Japan to Tennessee. It also has its lithium-ion batteries and motors manufactured there. Nissan announced that it began Leaf production at a new plant in Smyrna, Tennessee last Thursday. It will build the Leaf and gasoline vehicles in this plant, while building batteries at a separate plant next door. The plant is the result of a 2010 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) loan for $1.4 billion. According to the DOE, Nissan can build up to 150,000 Leafs and 200,000 batteries annually at the Tennessee plants
Nissan’s Leaf had a rough time last year as far as sales and performance goes. In July 2012, Leaf owners in Arizona complained that their EVs were losing significant battery capacity in the desert’s high heat. Nissan responded by basically saying that this was normal and promised more open communication with owners of the Leaf EV.
Later, Nissan had to admit that it wasn’t going to hit its sales mark for 2012, which was 20,000 Leafs. Nissan only sold 9,819 Leafs for the whole year -- less than half of its goal, and only 1.5 percent higher than the number it sold in 2011.

Source: Nissan

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Been waiting
By conquistadorst on 1/15/2013 9:08:58 AM , Rating: 2
Potentially a game changer? Like some people, I'd like to be green if it didn't require cutting my wrists financially... So, I've been waiting for a price drop on EVs for awhile. Keep it coming! These could never replace both cars though, just the one we carpool to work.

RE: Been waiting
By Mint on 1/15/2013 9:47:56 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I think plug in hybrids will be the real game changer, e.g. a Leaf with a smaller battery but a cheap engine/generator squeezed in.

Still, there's probably a good 10-20% of households that could substitute a gas car with an EV, despite range limits. Hopefully Nissan introduces a model with a nicer body shape in a year or two.

RE: Been waiting
By Nutzo on 1/15/2013 10:45:27 AM , Rating: 2
What they need is something like the Leaf, but with a small generator and a small gas tank that could re-charge the batteries when you don't have access to to a plug. Make it so the generator could run while the car is turned off and parked.

Even a 5 gallon tank would be enough to charge the batteries a couple times. (30mpg x 5 gallons = 150 miles, or 2x the battery range).
This way if I needed to drive 60 miles one way, I could have the batteries charge up while I'm visiting and then have the power to drive back home.

RE: Been waiting
By Mint on 1/15/2013 12:49:31 PM , Rating: 2
I totally agree. You can buy 30hp motors for $1k, so I think it would only cost $2k for Nissan to make a small generator and squeeze it in the hood while removing some batteries. A nicer body would help, too :)

99% of the time you wouldn't have to stop to recharge, either. That's enough to cruise on the highway while also recharging a bit.

The only problem is marketing. The Volt was unfairly trashed for getting 37MPG on gas, even though you'd only be using that mode for 1/4 of your miles or less. This cheapo solution would likely only get 30MPG in range extended mode.

RE: Been waiting
By aliasfox on 1/15/2013 1:22:10 PM , Rating: 2
Where my parents live (suburban central NJ), an EV like the Leaf could be a substitute for nearly 50% of cars. Most people either live within 15-20 miles of work or work in NYC and take the NJTransit commuter train. Taking this into account, any household that currently has two or more cars (the vast majority of two-income households) could very likely replace one of them with an EV and feel no impact in their lives whatsoever.

$28,800 - $7,500 Federal tax deduction gets one to $21,300. If you figure the average commuter Corolla, Civic, Mazda3, etc goes for about $17-19k, that's really not a significant up-front premium, and it will only shrink over the next few years as the technology becomes more mature.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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