The first production electric car from a major auto manufacturer is on tour across the United States! I caught the Nissan Leaf while it was in Atlanta, GA in January. This isn't your typical econo-box 1-2 seater electric vehicle. It's a 4 seater wagon with a 100 mile range and top speed of 90MPH! It reminds me of a small station wagon or crossover vehicle like the Toyota Matrix.
This Nissan Leaf will be built in Japan at first and will be available in the United States in December of 2010. With a price tag of between $28 and $35K and generous federal and state incentives, it is definitely in the price range of Americans who can afford a second vehicle.
The most exciting part of this announcement is that Nissan plans on manufacturing the car and battery pack in the United States starting in 2012. They have already broken ground on a battery plant in Smyrna, Tennessee and an auto plant in Franklin, Tennessee. I'm looking forward to sending a Mapawatt blogger to visit the plants as soon as they are far enough along. (Mapawatt is based in Atlanta, GA just a few hours away)
The Nissan Leaf is charged using a charging station that you have installed in your garage at home. It uses the new standard J1772 connector so it can be used in the future with other electric vehicles that use this connector. There are federal incentives ending this year that will help pay for the charger and installation fees in your home. Even if you are not ready to buy the Leaf you may want to install the charger this year to take advantage of the incentives if you know you'll eventually purchase a new electric vehicle. Go ahead and get that Leaf charger installed in your garage so you'll be ready to charge your Christmas present next year!