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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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Only one problem
By Cluebat on 1/15/2013 11:32:25 AM , Rating: 2
I am so close to buying one of these.

The only issue I have is that I would want a quick-swap battery so that I could let a solar panel charge a secondary battery pack during the day.

Also in the event that there is infrastructure for future refueling stations for battery swapping.




RE: Only one problem
By acer905 on 1/15/2013 12:30:34 PM , Rating: 3
I think if you're all for solar charging, you'd be better off with a large bank of 12V Lead-Acid batteries stacked up in a shed with a couple solar panels on the roof. Then just wire that into the cars charging circuit so it uses the battery bank before switching to wall current. Mobile batteries are way to expensive due to weight limitations.


RE: Only one problem
By Cluebat on 1/15/2013 2:00:36 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, your right. It just doesn't seem like a very elegant solution.

I hope for breakthroughs in batteries and PV to make this more interesting.

For now I would just like to get one to charge from the grid and hope for doubling of range and cost reductions in the near future. I do have a lot of faith in battery and PV cell improvements.


RE: Only one problem
By mellomonk on 1/15/2013 12:33:48 PM , Rating: 2
You do realize the size, weight, and more importantly the cost of these battery packs right? Swapping out packs is long way, and several breakthroughs in cost of manufacture away. And in that time frame you are likely to see capacity increases that would ultimately negate the need to swap.

I think the cost benefit analysis here on EV vs budget ICE vehicles is interesting, but missing the point as to why people drive EVs at this point. It is a statement of belief. A progressive statement that this is a technology that they want to support and encourage. Be it energy independence, environmental, or just futurist aspirations, one doesn't usually choose and EV on cost benefit analysis. Who really chooses any vehicle that way? It is important and usually informs which class of vehicle you buy, but ultimately one chooses what they like within their means.

Slowly but surely EVs are coming where they make sense. I've seen some impressively large Smith electric delivery trucks here and there. Really makes sense for a fixed route stop and go fleet truck that 'refuels' at a central base. Pretty cool.


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