Those complaining the Nissan Leaf all-electric car was too expensive for more mainstream buyers can take heart now in getting hold of this vehicle for as low as $18,800. The reason? Nissan has added to its 2013 Leaf line up a base line model costing $28,800 which, when modified by select federal and state tax credits, can take the price down a nice $10,000.
The newly added S-grade, according to Nissan, is the lowest level trim for the Leaf. Even at this level, the electric car seems still pretty well outfitted for what you are paying. Standard features include a 6-way manual driver’s seat, 4-way manual front passenger’s seat, trip computer (instant and average energy consumption, driving time, outside temperature and autonomy range), Automatic Temperature Control (ATC), center console storage and 3.6 kW onboard charger. There’s more as well, but you get the general idea that the car manufacturer isn’t just giving you a stripped down electric car with nothing but the electric drivetrain to get you to your destination.
The Leaf is powered by a 80kW AC synchronous motor produced at Nissan’s Powertrain Assembly plant in Decherd, Tenn., according to Nissan. Its output is 107 horsepower, with 187 lb-ft. of torque. Energy is supplied by a 48-module lithium-ion battery made at the company’s new battery plant in Smyrna, Tenn.
Though Nissan can claim sales of close 50,000 Leaf cars, making it the world’s best-selling pure electric vehicle, the vehicle has struggled to gain traction here in the United States. Its closest major competitor based upon regular comparison made by media, the Chevy Volt, regularly trumps it in monthly sales. This is likely due to the Volt’s design being closer to that of a plug-in hybrid via its internal gas generator engine which helps extend its range.
Final range estimates for the 2013 Leaf are still awaiting EPA test cycle verifications. Nissan noted though that it expects improvements form last year due to “incremental aerodynamic and energy management improvements.” Whether or not this helps to improve sales for the Leaf this year remains to be seen.
“From the very outset,” said Billy Hayes, Global vice president of Leaf sales for Nissan, in a statement, “Nissan has continuously advanced and refined the affordable zero emissions vehicle ownership experience. Now customers won’t have to pay a premium for owning a green car that’s really fun to drive, and that’s exciting.”