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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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By nshoe on 1/15/2013 4:35:07 PM , Rating: 2
And for the vast majority of commuters none of those matter.

-seats 3 more people
The average commuter vehicle carries 1.1 people, so unless you are carpooling it won't matter.
-has over twice the passenger volume
Only because it has to accommodate a second row of people. I'm a large 6'1" and fit comfortably in a Smart.
-twice the trunk space
I can fit a good weeks worth of groceries in the trunk, and If I need more space I can always use my other vehicle (The smart would be lousy as a only vehicle, but in most cases so would a Leaf)
-gets to 60mph 5 sec quicker.
Like in rush hour traffic this is an issue? I've never had a problem getting up to speed to merge with freeway traffic. Perhaps with the slow acceleration I get home 1-2 min slower - but then again for my commute I'll get there $40-$60/month richer.

By Mint on 1/15/2013 4:39:57 PM , Rating: 2
If none of that mattered, then Smart would have much higher sales than 7000 in 2012, and there would be many other car makers with cheap two-seaters.

Those are serious drawbacks. Very few people wants them in a car.

By nshoe on 1/15/2013 4:54:38 PM , Rating: 2
And the Leaf had so much better sales at 9800, despite having a huge marketing push.

They are both niche market vehicles. And for many people the Smart would be a cheaper alternative. Many people may not want to deal with the drawbacks of the Smart, but it is rather obvious that many people don't want to deal with the drawbacks of the Leaf as well.

(Also, you did miss one other cost for the Leaf, bought or leased - you still need to buy and have a home charger installed - that car run $700-$1400 depending on how muck electrical work needs to be done to get a 240volt 30amp circuit to where you park your car.)

By Mint on 1/15/2013 5:23:43 PM , Rating: 2
Marketing can't make up for price. The car is now $6000 cheaper. That's what this article is about, if you didn't notice.

Monthly Leaf sales more than tripled at the end of the year when they started offering lower prices, and now it's even lower.

$6000 is a lot of money. It's the difference between a 12 year payback and a 6 year payback.

By Manch on 1/15/2013 5:14:05 PM , Rating: 2
Very few people want only a 73mile range too.

By Mint on 1/15/2013 5:48:24 PM , Rating: 2
Once again, this whole article and discussion is only relevant for people that can live with that range in their second car. If not, you don't care about the price drop. You don't care about how much gas the car cars.

So if that's all you got, then leave the discussion, because you are irrelevant to it and the article is irrelevant to you.

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