Impact of Nissan Leaf’s Price Reduction on EV Sales

Nissan Leaf

With Nissan’s recent announce­ment that its 2013 Leaf elec­tric vehi­cle base mod­el is start­ing at $28,800 (down from $35,200), the top­ic of more afford­able EVs is being dis­cussed. With the fed­er­al tax incen­tive and state rebates, the car is sell­ing in Cal­i­for­nia under $19,000. As to how this was achieved, there’s spec­u­la­tion that it has to do with mov­ing pro­duc­tion from Japan to Smyr­na, Tenn., reduc­ing trim and fea­tures, reach­ing high­er pro­duc­tion vol­ume and economies of scale, con­tin­ued bat­tery cost reduc­tions, and even some analy­sis that it could just be a loss leader for Nis­san.

It’s pos­si­ble that EVs will be tak­en a lot more seri­ous­ly once this pric­ing infor­ma­tion is wide­ly spread. It’s like­ly to bring cost reduc­tions to oth­er EVs on the mar­ket. Chevro­let says that it will soon be cut­ting “thou­sands of dol­lars” from the prices of its Volt plug-in hybrid car.

The Leaf has seen slight exten­sions of its mileage range per charge since being launched, and con­sumers are learn­ing that at its present lev­el, the Leaf more than meets their dai­ly dri­ving needs. With the price reduc­tion, the Leaf is expect­ed to become more viable for two-car fam­i­lies. The Leaf is reach­ing a three-year pay­back peri­od with the price reduc­tion and per­for­mance improve­ments. Dri­vers are get­ting used to mak­ing the most of their EV dri­ving habits, and when it’s the best time to charge the car.

One Leaf dri­ver is get­ting about $0.07 per kilo­watt to charge the car, which is only abut two-thirds of the nation­al elec­tric price aver­age. He esti­mates it costs him just over $0.02 per mile to dri­ve the Leaf. He’s sav­ing about $300 a month on gaso­line, which more than off­sets the month­ly car pay­ment.



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