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Apr 052010
 
Nissan's all-electric LEAF. Image: Nissan

Nissan's all-electric LEAF. Image: Nissan

From Green Right Now Reports

Consumers intrigued by Nissan’s new all-electric vehicle – the LEAF – have been waiting for the answer to the big question: Just how much will going electric cost?

The surprising answer: About $25,000 for American car buyers after federal tax credits.

Last week, Nissan said it will offer the LEAF for $32,780 in the United States. With a $7,500 federal tax credit, the net price drops to $25,280, making it very competitive with Toyota’s popular Prius hybrid.

“Expense has been a challenge for the electric-vehicle market,” said Toshiyuki Shiga, Nissan’s chief operating officer. “We want to mass market our cars, so our goal was to sell them at an affordable price.”

In addition, the manufacturer has abandoned plans to lease the vehicle’s battery separately, eliminating yet another cost that may have alienated potential buyers.

Until now, all-electric vehicles have been best known for high prices and low volume sales. At the moment, the only pure electric car on the market is the $109,000 Tesla Roadster. In setting the price for LEAF, Nissan sized up what it believed to the competition, in particular the Prius, which carries a base price of just under $23,000.

“Price is important. It’s one of the favorite questions we’ve gotten over the past few months,” said Trisha Jung, director of EV marketing for Nissan North America. “We know consumers care about that.”

Chevy Volt. Image: Green Right Now

Chevy Volt. Image: Green Right Now

Nissan’s announcement no doubt raised a few eyebrows at Chevrolet, which has yet to reveal the price on its own entry into the EV market, the Volt. General Motors has floated price estimates approaching $40,000 for Volt, which also will be eligible for federal incentives.

Volt is expected to have a range of about 40 miles before a gasoline engine kicks in to keep the battery charged. LEAF, which doesn’t have such a backup feature, is projected to get about 100 miles on a full charge.

Both are expected to reach the U.S. market later this year.