Nissan New Zealand has slashed a mind-boggling $30,000 off the price of its battery-electric LEAF, the boldest sign yet of its commitment to a zero-emissions world.
Nissan’s seven North Island and two South Island LEAF dealerships will from today have the car (above) available from $39,990, a price clearly aimed at injecting some fizz into the sluggish electric vehicle (EV) market in NZ. New authorised LEAF dealerships are planned.
“There are no government subsidies (for EVs) and we can’t move it in the volumes we need, so we took this step,” said Nissan NZ managing director John Manley. “It certainly isn’t a profitable one.
“But it is important for Nissan. LEAF is Nissan’s expression of technology. The company is utterly commited globally to EVs; LEAF is the cornerstone of Nissan’s pledge to cut emissions.”
Unlike governments in many countries, NZ and Australia do not offer subsidies on plug-in electric vehicles. Britain has an up-front grant of around $NZ10,000 off the cost of a LEAF; the US federal administration offers a tax credit of $US7500; US state governments have incentives, too.
Manley said the new price was designed to capture the attention of NZ buyers who might have been put off in the past by the high cost of EVs. It would also enable LEAF to compete directly with similar sized petrol-powered vehicles on a total cost of ownership basis. LEAF is similar in size to the Mazda3 hatchback.
“Nissan has taken a number of pioneering steps with the LEAF,” said Manley. “This is an exceptional car and we are delighted to make it more appealing to New Zealand new-car buyers. LEAF should be on the shopping list of every small car buyer.
“I encourage any urban commuters considering a five-door hatchback to take a drive in a LEAF. First-time drivers are always surprised by its spirited performance and owners will never tire of not having to buy petrol”.
LEAF was the 2011 World Car of the Year. Nissan has so far has sold more than 100,000 units worldwide. LEAF comes with a five-star safety rating, a three-year/ 100,000km vehicle warranty and a five-year battery warranty. Nissan claims a full overnight charge is good for around 160km.