After lagging behind the rest of the automotive industry for the last few years, Nissan has finally jumped on the bandwagon, and turned over a new Leaf.
Capitalizing on it's partnership with Renault, Nissan announced their Zero Emission all electric production vehicle dubbed the Leaf scheduled to hit selected U.S. markets in 2010.
Although no pricing is yet available, Nissan claims the MSRP will be in the range of the average V6. While most manufacturers are charging a premium for their electric vehicles, Nissan is considering a leasing arrangement for the expensive battery technology. While the consumer owns the car, Nissan would lease the battery components, effectively rendering the normal economic advantage of not having to pay at the pump a moot point. The added benefit being, when the battery has reached end of life (typically around 10yrs), Nissan would still be responsible as long as the lease is still in effect. I imagine this would give them maximum flexibilty to take advantage of cost savings over time and keeping the (ever more profitable) lease agreement in place.
Nissan claims cooperation with local governments to help build the education and infrastructure required for charging and maintenance of all electric vehicles.
Nissan looks at this car as the stepping off point to an everyday commuter EV not just another expensive toy. With nearly 100 mile range, and a 30 minute charge time, a ton of gadget friendly technology, combined with their possible leasing scheme, could this be THE EV to rule them all?
We'll let you know in 2010.
For more info check out Nissan's Leaf WebSite where they are utilizing twitter technology to answer user questions. Something I've not seen before.
Update: Gas2Go has some more pics and in depth Info, thanks Nick.