Nissan North America has announced that it will raise the price of both its base and upper-grade model Leaf all-electric vehicle for the 2012 model-year. Nissan will increase the price of its base model Leaf $2,420, to $36,050. The price for the 2012 SL model will be raised $3,530, to $38,100. Both prices will include delivery.
In the U.S., the Leaf still qualifies for a federal tax credit of $7,500, and a number of states, including California, Georgia and Illinois, also offer additional incentives to buyers of all-electric and hybrid vehicles.
Even with the price increases, the Leaf will be more affordable than its closest competitor, the Chevrolet Volt. The 2012 Volt is priced at $39,995, including delivery, and some buyers are eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Nissan North America’s senior vice president of sales Brian Carolin said the 2012 Leaf will also come with a pair of new standard features.
The 2012 SL model will be equipped with a quick-charge port. The port will allow the vehicle’s lithium ion batteries to be charged to 80 percent of capacity in about half an hour. Both the SL and base models will also be equipped with a cold-weather package that will feature a vehicle battery warmer as well as heated front seats and steering wheel.
Nissan’s director of electric-vehicle sales and marketing Brendan Jones said the pricier SL model has accounted for nearly 95 percent of all Leaf sales in the U.S. The majority of buyers, he said, have paid extra for the quick-charge option.
Nissan plans to begin taking online reservations for the Leaf in Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York this fall. By year’s end, residents of Delaware, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island will also be able to place their online orders for the Leaf sedan.
The company initially limited its U.S. launch to Arizona, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.
The March 11 earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan caused production and shipping delays, but Jones now claims Nissan’s Japanese plants have been completely restored. Speaking at an industry conference in Raleigh, North Carolina on Monday, he said U.S. pre-ordered 2011 Leafs should all be delivered no later than mid-September.
Nissan has limited production for the U.S. to only 20,000 units for both this and the 2012 model year. At some point after 2012, the company plans to begin producing the Leaf in the U.S. with a projected output of 150,000 units annually.
During the first six months of this year, the Leaf outsold the Chevrolet Volt by 3,875 to 2,745.
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