Not that he's known for anything else, but Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn once again aggressively underscored his company's commitment to electric vehicles by dropping the MSRP on the 2013 Nissan Leaf by 18 percent. A newly added S trim level of the five-seat EV will now start at $28,800 which means a net price in the high teens in states that offer supplemental incentives to the $7500 federal tax credit. Nissan is also offering a 36-month lease on the Leaf at $199/mo, far below other vehicles in that price range.
At least part of the lower price is due to the fact that, for the first time, the Leaf will be produced domestically, in a new LEAF production facility in Smyrna, TN. Ghosn demurred on a sales goal for 2013 model, but noted that it was fair to assume it would be "at least 20 percent higher" than 2012.
Meanwhile, Global Vice President of Leaf Sales Billy Hayes was quick to remind what really draws buyers to electric vehicles like the LEAF. "We get so caught up in talking about the technology and the green" he said, "but the car is really great to drive."
Yeah, but does it go any further on a charge? That's the real question!
So to be honest, the 2013 Nissan Leaf is only "cheaper" with regards to the net purchase price for US market buyers. The Nissan Leaf still costs US taxpayers $7500 for every one purchased. Nissan shareholders still likely lose several thousand dollars on every Leaf Nissan produces. And the US Nissan Leaf buyers will never recover the higher (subsidized) purchase price over the operating life of the vehicle versus a comparable conventionally-powered vehicle.