Nissan announces $25,280 LEAF EV price after rebate. Wow…

Yeah, that “Wow!” probably isn’t very journalistic (but then again this is a blog). But the price is about $7,000 cheaper than the comparable price of the LEAF in Japan.

Nissan this week announced that their LEAF EV will be priced at $32,780 in the US before a $7,500 tax credit for electric vehicles. The 220V charging dock (required if you’re traveling more than ~50 miles per day due to recharge times from 110V/8A circuits) is an additional $2,200 (also eligible for a 50% tax credit). The total price (vehicle + 220V charger) after all tax credits is $26,380, and possibly as low as $21,380 is California, Georgia and Oregon due to $5,000 state income tax credits.

Nissan Japan has set a retail price of approximately $40,700 including VAT. After government incentives cost around $33,000.

The most interesting prospect is a $349/mo lease, plus $2,000 down. Further terms and conditions of the lease haven’t been specified (mileage, etc), but considering that electricity is pennies compared to gasoline, even for a 30MPG vehicle, people could get used to paying $30/mo more on their electric bill every month in exchange for no more gas stations. Though it makes me wonder what Nissan would do with all those lease turn-ins in 2014 with a comparatively out-of-date battery and larger EVs.

Mitsubishi responded by cutting the price of their iMiEV electric car by $7,000 in Japan in response to the lower price of the LEAF.

The low price will put pressure on other auto makers to push the price of their electric car downwards. Suddenly, an all electric sedan doesn’t look too appetizing if it is priced over $30,000 (after credit). Specifically, the price that GM will set for the Chevy Volt will likely be pushed down slightly from what they might have been expecting to sell it at. Even though the Volt is essentially an unlimited range electric vehicle due to the gas take and electric generator, GM’s difficulty will be conveying how the Volt works and explaining its benefits over EVs to the general public. An old political axiom applies – if you’re explaining, you’re losing.

It does look like a world of hurt for niche EV makers, Tesla might survive due to its luxury status, but more… exotic cars like the Aptera are likely to see harder times ahead due to price ceilings. The real question is battery supplies. How do the cost of batteries change when mass-manufacturing hits, and the demand for automotive batteries starts to greatly outstrip supply. Do we see prices go up, or can sufficient quantities be made with the existing supply chain?

The Nissan LEAF EV is expected to start selling in limited markets at the end of 2010, and nationwide sometime in 2011.