Nissan has dropped the price by $6,000 for the new 2013 Nissan LEAF to $28,800 for the newly added S grade, making it the lowest priced five-passenger electric vehicle sold in the United States. In states like California, you can buy this all-electric car for as low as $18,800 with qualifying federal and state tax credits, putting the LEAF on par with gas-powered vehicles of its size.
For the almost 2 years, my wife and I have been driving the all-electric 2011 Nissan LEAF. We love the car. We never spend over $35 monthly to charge the car, a fraction of what we paid at the pump for fueling our hybrid. Outside of one flat tire, the car has been problem free. Because the LEAF is a hatchback, we have even lowered the back seat, put two mountain bikes inside and gone on adventures.
The official EPA range rating is 73 miles, but at times we have driven over 100 miles round trip before returning home to charge in our garage. When driving at freeway speeds with more demand from the electric motor and more wind resistance, we try to avoid traveling over 60 miles. We have never reached empty. The big reason is that like most owners of all-electric cars, we have two cars. The person who plans to drive the most miles, but less than 60, takes the LEAF. Most all-electric car owners have two cars in their household. One reason that Nissan is lower the price is that the LEAF is being outsold by plug-in hybrids (PHEV) like the Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Prius Plug-in. I’ve been impressed with my test drives of these. There owners tend to love these PHEVs and they don’t worry about range. Once they reach their electric-only range of 12 to 40 miles, an efficient gasoline engine engages and they deliver hundreds of miles of hybrid range.
Nissan was the number-one seller of electric cars and they want to take that position back.”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.”
Nissan LEAF Now Made in the USA
Now, with U.S. volume manufacturing, Nissan can afford a lower price. Nissan recently began U.S. assembly of the 2013 Nissan LEAF at its manufacturing plant in Smyrna, Tenn., a localization initiative that further drives efficiencies by leveraging already-existing equipment and processes while also reducing exposure to fluctuations in foreign currency. The battery packs that power LEAF are built in an adjacent facility in Smyrna while the vehicle’s electric motor comes from Nissan’s powertrain plant in Decherd, Tennessee.
Eligible consumers can take advantage of a $7,500 federal tax credit, and some states and municipalities offer additional incentives. For example, California residents can get a 2013 Nissan LEAF for as low as $18,800 after the federal tax credit and state rebate of $2,500. Nissan will also continue its lease offer for the 2013 LEAF, allowing consumers to lease the electric vehicle for as low as $199 per month for 36 months, which includes tax credits and destination charges. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices* (MSRP) for the 2013 Nissan LEAF:
- LEAF S $28,800
- LEAF SV $31,820
- LEAF SL $34,840
2013 Nissan LEAF
Now in its third model year, the Nissan LEAF is the world’s best-selling all-electric car with nearly 50,000 cumulative sales worldwide. For 2013, the LEAF features numerous customer-focused upgrades. LEAF is powered by a responsive 80kW AC synchronous motor produced at Nissan’s Powertrain Assembly plant in Decherd, Tenn. The 2013 LEAF’s output is 107 horsepower, with 187 lb-ft. of torque. An advanced 48-module lithium-ion battery is made at the new battery plant in Smyrna, Tennessee. The 2013 Nissan LEAF is offered in three well-equipped models, the LEAF S, LEAF SV and LEAF SL.
Standard features include 6-way manual driver’s seat, 4-way manual front passenger’s seat, trip computer (instant and average energy consumption, driving time, outside temperature and autonomy range), Automatic Temperature Control (ATC), center console storage and 3.6 kW onboard charger. Other standard equipment includes Nissan Intelligent Key® with Push Button Start, Bluetooth® hands-free phone system, power windows with driver’s window one-touch auto up/down, power door locks with auto locking feature, remote charge door release, variable intermittent windshield wipers, AM/FM/CD with MP3 playback capability and a 12-volt power outlet.
LEAF SV models are upgraded to 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels, a 6.6 kW onboard charger, cruise control, auto dimming rear view mirror, energy saving hybrid heating system, an upgraded 6-speaker sound system, 7-inch color LCD display, Pandora® link for iPhone users, Nissan Navigation system with CARWINGS telematics and B-mode setting for increased regenerative braking. At an MSRP of $31,820, the 2013 LEAF SV represents a $3,380 savings over a similar 2012 model.
LEAF SL includes a DC 480V fast charge port, which I have used on longer trips to get an 80 percent charge in 25 minutes. The SL also adds leather-appointed seats, 17-inch five spoke alloy wheels, automatic on/off LED headlights, fog lights, photovoltaic solar panel rear spoiler and HomeLink® Universal Transceiver. At an MSRP of $34,840, the 2013 LEAF SL represents a $2,410 savings over a similar 2012 model. Incremental aerodynamic and energy management improvements are expected to give the 2013 LEAF improved range** over previous model years. Final range estimates for the 2013 Nissan LEAF are awaiting EPA test cycle verification.
Nissan LEAF Competition
Nissan’s aggressive puts pressure on Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota. The LEAF now starts for less than formerly cheaper smaller electric cars with less range like the Mitsubishi I and Chevrolet Spark EV. Struggling Coda is being for to aggressively discount over $14,000. If you are considering leasing or buying an electric car, a growing number of car rental and car sharing locations have them available. Driving one for a day or two would be valuable. Dealers also will let you test-drive their models. Here are a few all-electric and plug-in hybrid alternatives to the LEAF.
Smart fortwo electric drive can be purchased from dealers in Spring 2013 for $25,000, almost $4,000 less than the LEAF. There are 300 of these 2-seat all-electric city cars in San Diego’s Car2Go car sharing and more in other cities such as Portland, Oregon. I was impressed with my test drive of the 2013 smart electric drive, now with a larger motor and new lithium battery pack.
Chevrolet Volt was awarded Car of the Year by Motor Trend and Automotive Magazine and awarded Green Car of the Year by Green Car Journal. General Motors is the current plug-in hybrid leader with the Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid with 38 to 40 miles of electric range and total range of 380 to 400 miles by engaging a small gasoline engine that is coupled with an electric generator. Our Volt Test Drive showed that this is plug-in hybrid is sportier to drive than regular hybrids and a great 4-door, 4-seat sedan for those who want to minimize fill-ups and avoid range anxiety. The Volt starts at $39,145 with nice tax credits or $350 monthly lease.
Ford C-MAX Energi, an exciting new crossover with more room than a small SUV. The 5-seat C-MAX Energi offers 550 miles of overall driving range using the lithium battery, electric motor, and gasoline engine – more than any other plug-in. Ford offers the passenger room and cargo space of the Prius v. Its 20 miles of electric range beats the Prius Plug-in, but falls short of the Chevrolet Volt. The C-MAX Energi starts at $32,950.
As a Nissan LEAF driver, the new price of $28,880 looks like a bargain to me. After tax incentives in my state, the price is only $18,880. My wife and I are saving $1,000 per year in fuel costs and another $500 annually in maintenance. With battery costs steadily dropping, volume manufacturing, and growing automaker competition, your choices in electric cars continue to improve.