>> Sunday, September 6, 2009
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Nissan plans to price its Leaf electric vehicle to compete with $25,000 to $33,000 mass-market cars in the United States.
That does not include any government incentives offered to buyers, said Larry Dominique, vice president of product planning for Nissan North America Inc.
"Competitive pricing is going to allow mass-market appeal, which is going to set Nissan apart," he told the Management Briefing Seminars here.
The electric-vehicle program's goals included "zero emissions, no price premium, lower maintenance costs" than conventional gasoline-powered vehicles and "lower total cost of ownership," he said. Nissan aims for the Leaf to be less expensive to operate than internal combustion engines, even if gasoline prices drop to $1.10 a gallon, he said.
Nissan Motor Co., which unveiled the Leaf in Japan Aug. 2, has committed to sales starting late next year of 5,000 Leafs in the United States for test purposes. The plan will require Nissan to begin retailing the Leaf two years ahead of the schedule set by Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn.
Those first 5,000 U.S. Leafs will take part in a five-market study of electric-vehicle driving habits. Nissan and public utilities and government agencies want to understand how consumers recharge their vehicles.
Customers will buy the cars from dealerships. They must agree to have their recharging habits monitored through an onboard black box for their first two years of ownership.