3 Things You Gotta Know About the Nissan Leaf

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Nissan Leaf

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America has been waiting for an all-electric car for some time. A long time, actually. While many are about to come to market, and several hybrids have been available for what seems like forever, the new Nissan Leaf just caught our attention with some pretty attractive things about it.

I’ve rounded up 3 of the most important things you should know about it, given some of the recent announcements on the car. Here they are.


#1 — It’s Not As Expensive As You Think

Nissan just announced the price for the car back at the end of March. What’s it going to be? $32,780. But then there’s the Federal Tax Credit to think about, if you’re in America — which knocks off several thousand dollars, taking the price to $25,280.

And if you live in certain states (like California), where additional state credits are even more aggressive than the federal ones, you’re looking at a very competitive price.

How Is Nissan Doing This?

According to a recent Wired article, Nissan is pushing an aggressive price (and ad campaign — did anyone see the iPhone 4 introduction?) because it wants to make an entry into the EV market, especially before the big names (Ford and GM) get in with their offerings.

This means Nissan is most likely taking a loss on these cars, with expectations that battery prices will come down. Plug-In America’s Paul Scott told Wired that battery prices “will come down,” which is a pretty sure thing given the general rules of economic development.


#2 — A Home Charging System Isn’t as Expensive As You Think, Either

Well, sort of. They’ve figured the cost of a charging station and installation will be about $2,200, but some tax credits could mean you might be able to get one installed for free, or at the very least, have half the price covered by the Federal government. At least, if you’re in the USA.


#3 — They’ve Figured Out a Cool Solution For Its Lack of Noise

One amazing thing about EV cars is the lack of sound they put out. People dream of a world where cars move along silently, making about as much sound as people walking on the street.

There’s just one problem — studies show that cars are much more likely to be involved in pedestrian collisions at low speeds when they make no sound.

Nissan’s solution?

They put a sound system in the car — controlled by a synthesizer, says this Washington Post article. It’s only for slow speeds — any car makes noise when it’s going fast, but Nissan’s system emits a kind of “soft whine”, along with a “clanging sound” as it backs up. These are solutions for problems we didn’t have 10 years ago.

The Leaf goes on sale in December of 2010, and Nissan is currently taking pre-orders.

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