March 30, 2010
Nissan Leaf EV Gets Price In US And Japan

Want to free yourself from dependency on gasoline for getting around? Look at the costs below. If you intend to buy an electric car in the next 2 years please post in the comments. The 100 mile range pure electric Nissan Leaf gets a price in Japan and in the United States.

Nissan Motor Co. said its new electric car, the LEAF, will be sold for 3.76 million yen ($40,000) in Japan, less expensive than other zero-emission vehicles but still out of reach for many drivers who may also balk at its limited range.

A tax credit in Japan will lower its cost to $31,808.00.

In the US the Leaf price tag will be only $32,780 and a US federal tax credit cuts its price to $25k.

The 2011 Nissan Leaf battery electric car, which will go on sale in the United States in December, will have a manufacturers suggested retail price of $32,780, a Nissan spokesman, Mark Perry, said Tuesday morning. Nissan prefers to describe the price as $25,280 inclusive of a $7,500 federal income tax credit.

California offers an additional tax credit that lowers the cost to only $20k.

In some states there are also state incentives for the purchase of an electric car. In California, for example, there is a $5,000 credit which would reduce the cost to just over $20,000, Perry said.

A home charging station adds another $2200 cost with half that paid by a tax credit. Nissan has hired a company to check the home of each potential buyer to see if the home electric system is up to powering the recharging unit.

The Leaf is worth a serious look for anyone with a daily round-trip commute of 30-50 miles each way. Fewer miles driven makes for a much longer payback period due to gasoline costs avoided. But you need a suitable place to park the car for recharging and a home electrical system that can be affordably upgraded to handle electric car charging.

The ideal buyer drives over a hour to work at a place where the car can be recharged while at work. That way the amount of gasoline saved per day is greatest and the savings accumulate most rapidly.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2010 March 30 11:55 PM  Energy Electric Cars

Dan said at March 31, 2010 7:24 AM:

"The ideal buyer drives over a hour to work at a place where the car can be recharged while at work. That way the amount of gasoline saved per day is greatest and the savings accumulate most rapidly."

I have to disagree here. I've driven an electric vehicle (Tesla) for almost a year now and can attest to the fact that sometimes you will forget to plug in the car at work/home and sometimes you will need to run errands which were simply unexpected. With a 100 mile ideal range, you should be living within about ~20 miles from work; you need sufficient range to get to and from work (without recharging at work on a daily basis) along with some leftover in case you have errands to run or forget to recharge at night (i.e. keep enough left over to get to work in the morning and then recharge there). Obviously, the Tesla has plenty of range for this but with a 100-mile Leaf it is a major consideration.

With the Tesla, I have rarely (never?) used more than 100 "ideal" miles on a typical day, but quite commonly use ~80 "ideal" miles with only a ~15 mile commute on days where I run errands or go out for lunch.

I think the Leaf is best positioned as a car for city dwellers, stay-at-home moms, short-haul corporate delivery, etc. At $20k, it should compete well.


Among the cows in Iowa said at March 31, 2010 8:17 AM:

If you have driven the car to work and have forgotten to plug it in, the car could beep at you to remind you. Any car with a GPS could be equipped with that feature.

Cars plugged in during the day would be good for places with lots of wind power. Winds in this part of Iowa were about 20 knots most of yesterday. Today they are down all the way to 12 knots.

Michael G.R. said at March 31, 2010 8:45 AM:

Currently we only have one car, a Corolla. When we buy a second car in a couple years, we'll definitely consider the LEAF (by then maybe the range will be bigger, Nissan said it wants to double it by 2015: ).

Long trips could be made with the Corolla, and most others with the LEAF. Electricity here all comes from hydro, so we'd get truly low emissions.

JoeKing said at March 31, 2010 9:09 AM: want to save the world or not buy oil from "terrorists" (Canada Mexico?) thats your decision. The problem I have with asking me to pay for your exercise in social conscience in the form of tax credits.

In our (supposed) capitalist economy a product should stand on its own merit & not need the general population to pay for other's buying choices. Please don't tell me about subsidies to oil companies, because I'll see you with those to electric & alternative energy...the playing field is anything but level.

As I say to global warming believers...if you want to change your lifestyle to carbon neutrality, start with your own home. If I (& many others) can be convinced...we'll eventually come around...just don't coerce me (legislatively or financially) that will only piss me off.

Get Real said at March 31, 2010 11:02 AM:

So, how many of you folks out there NEVER will need to go more than 100 miles ever, ever with your car? If you do, that is, if some occasion arises, whatever will you do? Rent a car? Keep an old (but reliable) gas-burning beater for those times? That would cost you $$$ for insurance, maintenance, and whatever.

Competence and versatility would seem to be absolutely essential attributes for a vehicle for just about anyone I have ever met. I know I'm overstating the case, but acceptance of (personally) untried and expensive technologies will not be quick, for the majority of the population. And word of mouth testimonials will need to be really good.

I want a car I can drive from Florida to Montana if we decide to do that. With luggage for two weeks. And the dog. In reasonable comfort. Sounds like a V-6 minivan, or (gasp) a Sport-Ute. Sorry, Greenie-folk.

Dan said at March 31, 2010 11:46 AM:

I expect your views are typical of a great many people out there .... but I'd also expect you're either single or part of a one-car family. For those of us folks who are married and already have multiple cars, the range limitations of the Leaf aren't that big of a deal. I never take the electric car on 100+ mile drives because we take my wife's car which is outfitted with a child seat and lots of elbow room.

As for refueling / recharging the leaf on the fly, *ALL* Nissan dealers in the USA will soon be equipped with fast chargers which can recharge the car to 80% full in ~30 minutes. Nissan has stated this should result in most locations in the USA having a fast-charger within a 40km radius. Still, this isn't the car for single-car families or for those who do a lot of road trips / long distance driving. However, if they do succeed in doubling the range in the next 5 years, it may start to encroach on that market -- I don't think anyone really knows at this point but it should be interesting to watch play out.


wcw said at March 31, 2010 11:54 AM:

At $20k after tax, I am sorely tempted. Sure, we'd never take it to Tahoe, but that's what car rental is for. Jeepers, we already have to rent or borrow a truck if we go to the home despot or pick up some furniture or something. A sedan is almost as limited as an electric, except for the range.

No, the electric doesn't make purely economic sense, but it is super-cool. I'd rather get my cool factor for $20k here than for $50+k with a Porsche like all the other strivers on the block.

Among the cows in Iowa said at March 31, 2010 11:58 AM:

It's not even that difficult. An EV can go as far in a day as you want if you tow a trailer with a generator on it. If you want to talk about "real", it was done in 1994-5.

It would be simple to make a cargo trailer with a built-in generator to look something like this.

Dowlan Smith said at March 31, 2010 1:46 PM:

The pure electric vehicles need to come with built in trailer hookup connections. In addition to the standard brake lights and turn signals there would be charging connections and controls to automatically or manually start/stop the generator. The fuel tank/ generator would probably take up less than half of the U-Haul sport trailer in Among_the_cows link. With the rest for cargo and 110 AC outlets this makes a great travel/camping combo.

This would address range anxiety, provide an up-sell option for the car-dealers, and/or U-Haul types. Perhaps a micro-generator with a single gallon tank as a hitch mount solution. You can put several hundred pounds on a class 3 hitch. How big a generator would you need? If the Leaf gets about 3km/kwh, with an 8.5 KW generator (about 250 pounds and $800) you could average about 30 miles per hour. Probably adequate even on a empty battery if the commute is less than half highway miles.

I wonder if hotel chains, restaurants, etc will start adding charging stations as a draw?

Nick G said at March 31, 2010 4:47 PM:

The pure electric vehicles need to come with built in trailer hookup connections.

This is called an Extended Range EV, and will be available a month before the Leaf in the form of the Chevy Volt. 40 mile range covers 80% of the average person's mileage, with no range anxiety.

Peter said at March 31, 2010 5:53 PM:

It is encouraging to see companies starting to actually produce these vehicles. As someone involved in manufacturing, I can attest that problems are worked out and things are improved not by big, highly funded "research" projects, but rather by working things out one issue at a time between the factory floor and engineers at the company. 10 years from now, these cars will have a 200-300 mile range, there will probably be induction chargers for home and office in many places, and they will perform much better. The key is to actually get started building them so the improvement process can commence.

Dowlan Smith said at March 31, 2010 8:40 PM:

Nick G said...This is called an Extended Range EV...the Chevy Volt

True if you had the generator attached all the time. But why haul the generator around when you don't need it. You don't tow a trailer all the time in case you run out of trunk space. I was trying to give a simple solution to address Range Anxiety that might slow adoption. Rent the bumper range extender for a week, realize you don't need it and drive confidently. Need to take a trip? Drop by U-Haul on the way out of town for a travel trailer or bumper booster.

My other thought is based on all the 3rd party stuff made to plug into an iPod. With a standard connector lot's of different solutions can be tried out. The generator could be a fuel cell, plug in extra battery (especially if prices fall), a fold-able solar cell for charging while parking, etc. You could probably get a small generator down in the hundred dollar range that you could give you a partial charge given enough time. Not optimal, but not stranded.

My ideal for a hybrid/EV would incorporate swappable battery/generator modules. For instance swap out half the batteries for a gen-set when needed. If you are going multiples of the battery range, then you do not want to haul around the extra dead weight of the batteries.

Engineer-Poet said at March 31, 2010 9:06 PM:

I looked at the "bumper range extender" idea and guessed that it would be just a bit too heavy for the average consumer to tote around without a lot of leverage; the typical 6 kW-range generator is over 200 lb.  Even the industrial-grade Hondas weigh a lot per kW.  This isn't something you want to be lifting to attach to a trailer hitch, and maybe not hanging aft of the bumper to disrupt the vehicle weight distribution.

I don't know why they're so heavy.  Typical engines are 2 lb/HP (50 lb/25 HP), and 5 gallons of gas is under 35 lb.  Add 12.5 lb/hp for an alternator and 20 lb for overhead and you've got a total weight less than 120 lb for 37 kW(peak).  Maybe they weigh so much because they're limited to relatively low RPMs, but that's where you want to be for efficiency and lifespan.

Swapping batteries with engines is an engineering nightmare.  Batteries are fairly easy, but plugging in something with a fuel system, high cooling requirements and evaporative emissions and exhaust details is not something I'd even think of asking staff to design (much less try to certify).  Much better to make it a separate unit.

Engineer-Poet said at March 31, 2010 9:07 PM:

Typo.  Make that 0.25 lb/hp for an alternator.

Randall Parker said at March 31, 2010 10:16 PM:


Whether the Leaf or another EV works as a high range commuting machine depends on each person's habits and lifestyle. Some people drive far to work, park there, work all day, and then drive home. Others pop out in errands during the day. I've noticed some husbands who have stay-at-home wives whose wives do all the errands. So the husbands drive to work, park, stay at work all day (with lunch packed by wife in order to save money), and then drive home.

I'm sketching the usage pattern for the ideal customer type in terms of ROI and money saved. The ideal customer drives 70+ miles to work (and I know people who do that) and 70+ miles home. Someone who parks in a garage at home, drives a long distance to their own biz (or a biz that'll cater to them) who can put in an electric charger for their own personal parking space is the ideal EV driver in terms of money saved by switching to an EV.

Someone with less perfect driving patterns would do better with a Chevy Volt. But the Volt costs $7k more. The Volt has a few advantages. One is that one doesn't have to worry about range. Another is that the Volt driver who drives 50 miles to work can run that battery down every trip and still not worry about making it to their destination.

Wolf-Dog said at March 31, 2010 10:20 PM:

The Nissan Leaf with 100 mile range, was actually the brainchild of the Better Place company, which convinced Nissan and Renault that 1) by creating a worldwide infrastructure to put charging pods in every parking space in every street, 2) and by also also building robotized battery swapping stations near many gas stations, even the 100 mile range cars become very practical and economical. The Nissan Leaf is designed to have its battery swapped from under the car at the battery swapping stations, within a few minutes, where the empty battery would be instantly replaced with a full one.

Denmark and Israel have already committed to this business model, starting in 2012 when the charging pods and battery swapping stations will be ready all over these countries, and by 2012 most of their gas stations will be closed. It is calculated that it would take the US only one year of imported oil money to put charging pods in every street, and sufficiently many battery swapping stations. Thus the new generation of electric cars will not have their batteries bolted into the vehicle, as the batteries improve, they can be replaced, and also they can be swapped with full batteries on long distance trips. Note that the current price of the Nissan Leaf car is only for a new model. Within a decade there is no question that batteries will be much cheaper and their range will increase to at least 200 miles (for the same price.)

Wolf-Dog said at March 31, 2010 10:25 PM:

Sorry I made a typographical error, I wrote that by 2012 Denmark and Israel will close most of their gas stations. I meant that they would close most of their gas stations by 2020,while by 2012 they would have their infrastructure ready to charge cars in every street and also they would have enough battery swapping stations in most places by 2012.

Nick G said at March 31, 2010 11:34 PM:

the Volt costs $7k more

The Volt has been rumored (by GM exec's) to be priced up to $7k more, doesn't cost any more. The Volt has 9KWH less battery capacity, which reduces cost by about $3,200. That pays for the on-board generator.

Nissan is smart enough to use the Japanese model for pricing, where you price your product at the price-point you will be at with large volume production, and the low entry price point allows you to get your volumes up there.

Is GM being dumb, or is the rumored close-to-$40K price a head-fake for it's competitors? We'll see in just a few months.

Rob said at April 1, 2010 9:32 AM:

So, in many areas of the country this will mean your car is coal-powered, since that's where the electricity came from. Great!

Nick G said at April 1, 2010 2:08 PM:

this will mean your car is coal-powered

Not really. You'll charge at night, where nuclear and wind are much more important. Not to mention that even a coal-powered EV would be better than an oil-powered ICE.

Wolf-Dog said at April 1, 2010 2:11 PM:

Correct, but given that only a small fraction of the total annual CO_2 comes from cars compared to the CO_2 already generated to power the industry and houses, etc, on balance there will be less CO_2 when cars are coal powered because electric cars are more energy efficient. If you take one gallon of gasoline and burn it in a coal powered plant to charge the batteries of an electric car, your gas mileage will be much higher than directly burning the gasoline in an internal combustion engine based car. Also this would reduce the foreign trade deficit by $300 billion to $400 billion (at recent oil prices.)

Wolf-Dog said at April 1, 2010 2:16 PM:


The Leaf will be used with the business model of Better Place, in such a way that the computers in the car will tell the driver when and where the car can and should be charged (in which street there is an empty charging pod not already connected to another car), or where the nearest battery swapping station is. With this model, both Tesla and Leaf will benefit. Note that the new Tesla Model S, will actually have its battery swappable from under the car, fitting the Better Place model.

Among the cows in Iowa said at April 2, 2010 8:46 AM:

The fraction of CO2 depends on the marginal generation. The "fuel" for wind is cheaper than both coal and gas, so wind power will be used first. If EVs like the Leaf have their chargers controlled by the utility, vehicles can take on the role of spinning reserve. It can be moved from powerplants running inefficiently at part load to battery chargers which are about the same efficiency running at full or trickle. This would naturally burn less fuel. When you combine the displacement of fossil-fired generation by wind on the one hand with the greater efficiency of operation, you get a big cut in emissions.

I have not seen the winds fall below 9 knots here in the last 3 days. Now they're 16 knots.

Iowa generates about 4200 GWh per year. If you cut off at 30% capacity factor, it would take less than 1.6 GW of wind farms to supply all of Iowa's electrical energy. If Iowa's 3 million cars and light trucks were electric and could be counted upon for 1.5 kW of spinning reserve each, that's 4.5 GW. If those cars and trucks averaged 10 kWh of consumption per day, it would increase Iowa's generation requirements by about 11000 GWh/year. Another 4.2 GW of wind farms would generate that much, and the spinning reserve from the vehicles would be almost equal to the total wind farm nameplate capacity. It looks like Iowa could go 100% electric and still reduce coal consumption even if all non-wind generation came from coal.

Post a comment
Name (not anon or anonymous):
Email Address:
Remember info?

Go Read More Posts On FuturePundit
Site Traffic Info
The contents of this site are copyright