There is a certain appeal to buying a zero-emissions electric vehicle and bidding farewell to trips to the gas station. But one of the main barriers to mainstream adoption of plug-in EVs has been a prohibitively high price tag.
That is about to change. This week, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn announced that the company was slashing the price of the Nissan Leaf by $6,400. That puts the 2013 base model Leaf S at $28,800, compared to last year's base model at $35,200. Ghosn said that the new price made the Leaf the least expensive 5-seat EV model available in the United States. Depending on location and qualifying federal and state tax credits, some consumers will be able to purchase the Leaf for as little as $18,800 - putting the EV in a similar price range as its gas-powered competition.
The cost-cutting was achieved partly through changes in content in the lower-end model, but also because production was moved from Japan to the United States. Now, the car assembly, the lithium-ion batteries, and the electric motors are all produced in Tennessee.
The mid-level Leaf SV will also see a price drop, from $35,200 last year to $31,820 this year, while the higher-end Leaf SL will drop from $37,250 to $34,840. These models will also come with a 6.6-kWh charger that is expected to reduce charging times significantly.