Nissan Leaf Debuts in Japan, Prices Start at 3mill Yen or $35k

With the 2011 Car of the Year Award secured, Nissan is rolling out the Leaf EV starting from Japan. The zero-emission electric hatch will go on sale in Japan on December 20th, followed shortly after by the U.S., while European customers will have to wait until later in 2011.

The base price in Japan has been set at 3,764,250 yen (US $45,000 at today’s exchange rates), with the consumption tax included. That’s a lot of money, but, fortunately for the Japanese, the EV is eligible for a 780,000-Yen government incentive, which brings down the cost to 2,984,250 yen or US $35,677.

It’s also fully exempt from the country's automobile acquisition tax and weight tax until fiscal year 2011. And that’s not all: as an EV that complies with the “Automobile Green Tax Scheme”, the Leaf’s automobile tax is reduced by 50% for a period of 12 months.

Nissan prepared a few convenient after-sales services as well. For a monthly rate of 1,500 yen (US $18), the company offers a “zero-emission support program”, which includes, among other things, maintenance, charging at Nissan dealers, discounts for Nissan rent-a-car services and emergency support.

Dealers can also provide a “one-stop service” simplifying the purchasing process and the preparation of a charging environment at the client’s residence.

Nissan says that, thanks to its 2,200-strong dealer network, there’s at least one quick-charge unit available within a 40-kilometer (25-mile) radius throughout the country. With a minimum range that’s at least four times that, the Leaf can be used as any other car, including for cross-country trips.

By Csaba Daradics