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Nissan Turning Over a New, and (Much) More Affordable, Leaf

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Nissan Leaf - More Affordable Than Ever
Nissan Leaf – More Affordable Than Ever

One of the best ways to get people interested in a new technology is to make it more affordable. The latest in vehicle technology, electric vehicles [EV], could certainly benefit from a reduction in price. Many consumers have a hard time comparing two $35,000 vehicles, one EV and the other gasoline-powered.

Certainly the fuel economy difference is almost impossible to compare, but as it turns out, the human brain doesn’t work that way. The high price and “limited” range of EVs still keeps many people away from the new technology.

Nissan Leaf sales haven’t exactly been stellar, only growing by 22% in 2012, less than half of Nissan projections. Part of the problem, according to Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, is pricing, and the rumors have been passed around about a newer, more affordable, Nissan Leaf.

Ghosn has confirmed that the new Nissan Leaf will, indeed, be more affordable, by about 18% over last year’s Leaf. Lowering the price, Nissan hopes, will generate an additional 20% in sales of their latest Nissan Leaf. The new Leaf will start at $28,800, which, after federal and state tax incentives, could bring the price down to just $18,800.

Moving Nissan Leaf and battery production to the US is helping to reduce costs, especially since the ¥/$ exchange rate was too poor to reduce prices on the imported Leafs. “We are working on the cost of all the components, and we have made design changes,” Ghosn said, “and we lobby for the development of charging systems.” Ghosn also pointed out that the lack of recharging infrastructure was an obstacle to increased Leaf sales, so Nissan is working on getting more charging stations installed across the country.

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