Since last August, we’ve been following the path of Nissan’s EV, the LEAF, promising to keep you updated on the latest breaking news. It is, after all, slated to be the second full-electric vehicle to hit the market for the masses, not long after the highly publicized Chevy Volt rolls into dealership lots. So what’s the big news?
Nissan has just announced that eco-friendly drivers nationwide can reserve a zero-emission LEAF beginning May 15th for either lease or purchase. (If you signed up for e-news updates on the LEAF microsite, however, you should have already received an e-mail allowing early registration… a perk for your curiosity, indeed!) Note: photos of LEAF just above and below.
Available this December, the LEAF requires a refundable $99 deposit, limited at one per household. And with after-tax pricing coming in around $25,000, it’s not hard to believe that more than one person per household would want to book a set of the electric wheels. In addition to the $7,500 federal tax credit that knocks a chunk off of the nearly $33,000 MSRP, state and local incentives will likely become available, making the oblong hatchback a pleasantly practical choice.
For the naysayers who wouldn’t possibly invest in a first generation EV, Richard Canny of EV company THINK (photo, just above) promotes the environmental lifestyle by lessening consumer “range anxiety” – the fear that you’ll get too far from home without a charging station nearby. He says, “It’s just like charging a cell phone overnight. You plug it in, and in the morning it’s ready to go, fully charged.”
(photo above: LEAF interior) According to Canny, EVs are the best solution because unlike plug-in hybrid vehicles, they don’t carry around the extra weight of two powertrains – engine and battery. Says Canny, “As plug-in hybrids get bigger and heavier, they need more batteries and stronger gas- or diesel-powered generators or engines. It becomes a vicious circle of more cost and more weight.”
Some might say that settles it. According to a poll on AutoBlogGreen, 21 percent of readers said they’d reserved a LEAF, 23 percent were waiting to reserve one of GM’s Volts, while a whopping 56 percent said they’d wait for the market to mature. What do you think? Will you be plopping down some dough to be the first plugging in on your block?